Dan Rattiner's Stories

Statue Talk: Lobster Dan & Liberty Dan, Four Miles Apart, Email Back and Forth

There are three Dan Rattiners now living in the Hamptons, but only one is the original.

Liberty Dan: Hi there, Lobster Dan! Thought I’d write you.

Lobster Dan: I’ve heard about you. I’m told you’re on Hampton Road next to Southampton Audi, across from Pumpkintown.

Liberty Dan: Yup. And it’s quite something. All these parents and children parking by the side of the road, they get out of their cars and come over to me. There’s thousands of them. They take selfies with me. Then they cross the road and do the rides at Pumpkintown. The jungle gym. The maze. The train. The pumpkin picking. Then they come back crossing the street carrying pumpkins and they take more selfies of me with their kids. It’s quite an experience.

Lobster Dan: So they think you’re part of Pumpkintown?

Liberty Dan: I guess. Nobody complains though. It’s really a wonderful time here at Pumpkintown. Busy, busy, busy.

Lobster Dan: It’ll all be over at the end of October or so, though. Then Pumpkintown goes away.

Liberty Dan: Yeah. But you know, I’ll be here after Pumpkintown is gone. And it’s nice being the Statue of Liberty Dan. I hold up the torch, which when you look closely you see is the Montauk Lighthouse. People like that.   Once, a religious group with everybody wearing orange robes came and left an “offering.” A group of incense candles in a tin box. I said thank you.

Lobster Dan: You didn’t say thank you. You can’t move.

Liberty Dan: Yeah. Well, I thought it.

Dan Rattiner with his lobster statue
The original Dan Rattiner with his Lobster Dan statue, Photo: Barbara Lassen

Lobster Dan: And I can’t move, either. But up here at the end of the Sunrise Highway where the Lobster Inn used to be, it’s fun being a cowpoke riding a lobster. The cars just whizz by. Occasionally some people pull over and stop. They take a selfie. They’ve never seen a Dan 11 feet up, riding a lobster like a bucking bronco at a rodeo.

Liberty Dan: You’re 11 feet up? I’m 12.

Lobster Dan: No.

Liberty Dan: Yup. I’m that high where I hold my torch—the light at the top of the Montauk Lighthouse.

Lobster Dan: Don’t you get tired? Do you put down your torch?

Liberty Dan: Nope. Well, yes. Late at night, maybe two or three in the morning, when nobody is looking. Just for a while.

Lobster Dan: So what happened to that “offering?”

Liberty Dan: After a while, the candles went out. Then somebody came, actually several people, and took the offering away. I think it was the people who made me.

Lobster Dan: You saw the people who made us?

Liberty Dan: Yup.

Lobster Dan: Who are they?

Liberty Dan: I don’t know. Looked like ordinary people. People from Dan. People who like Dan? Maybe they’re gods.

Lobster Dan: God made us.

Liberty Dan: Yesterday a man in a Porsche convertible stopped, and you know where the Statue of Liberty, the real Statue of Liberty, has that thing that says GIVE ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR, YOUR HUDDLED MASSES?

Lobster Dan: Yeah.

Dan Rattiner with statue
Original Dan Rattiner with his Liberty Dan statue, Photo: Barbara Lassen

Liberty Dan: Well, he covered up my book with a sign that reads GIVE ME YOUR PARTYGOERS, YOUR RICH, YOUR OCEANFRONT FOLKS.

Lobster Dan: No. Is it still up?

Liberty Dan: I don’t know. I can’t look down.

Lobster Dan: We do live in interesting times. Liberty being defaced. Changed. I do hope democracy survives.

Liberty Dan: Ever worry somebody will come along and throw your lobster into a big pot of boiling water?

Lobster Dan: Not at all. They’d have to separate me from the lobster. And nobody can do that. Because I’m the defender of Rudy and I would forbid it. I’m a cowpoke with a six-shooter.

Liberty Dan: Rudy the lobster?

Lobster Dan: Yeah. We’re pals. We have a relationship built on trust. Where I take him, he goes.

Liberty Dan: I’d sure like to see that.

Lobster Dan: I wish I could visit you. That would be nice. I didn’t see you on the back of a truck or anything when you were taken out there to be put up.

Liberty Dan: I wasn’t taken on any truck past where you are. And I’d like to visit you, too. But I guess it’s not to be.

Lobster Dan (sighing): We could send each other pictures.

Liberty Dan: If someone would take them. You know, there’s a third Dan.

Lobster Dan: There is?

Liberty Dan: He’s the real Dan, the one wriggling around, going to parties, horse shows, film festivals. That one.

Lobster Dan: Oh.

Liberty Dan: Actually, he’s the first Dan. You’re the second and I’m the third. So that’s it.

Lobster Dan: So far. Maybe there’ll be a fourth Dan and a fifth.

Liberty Dan: You never know.

Lobster Dan: Here comes a carload. Back to work.

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