Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First day in Browning

So here we are, at a small worn-down repair shop in the middle of Browning, Montana, desperately trying to call our AAA to cover our accident. As soon as we arrived, everyone at Jim’s body shop (the repair shop) treated us with hospitality: they handed us ice cream bars, and made fun of our accident numerous times. Trying to call different shops for an oil pan was a disaster; the closest shop was one hundred miles away and the fastest time that they could ship it to Browning was in 2 days. Great. We are stuck in the middle of Garberville, Montana, on an Indian reservation, with no car and two days to kill. Did I mention the population of this place was 1006? We then asked Jeff about a good, cheap place to sleep and he pointed at the front of an enormous 18 wheeler. “What?” “Oh yeah, you can sleep behind that truck, that should be good.” We went to investigate. There was about a 8 by 8 foot area of grass behind a couple run-down, broken trucks that was enclosed by a barbed wire fence and a tall shed. Nice. We uttered a “thanks jeff” without much enthusiasm, and realized that it was either this or the shitty motel down the street. Walking around town was quite the experience: there were stray dogs running everywhere, drunk men sitting on the corner of liquor stores slurring nonsensical phrases at us, virtually all the cars were damaged or beaten up in some way, and almost every eatery was closed because the water line broke so the whole city was without water for the day. That meant no bathrooms. We came back after dinner to ask Jeff about the town and what to do and he said the most exciting thing about the town was the 18 and over casino and a couple Indian history museums. That’s when I knew it was my time. By my first spin of the slot machine my dreams of winning a large quantity of money quickly disintegrated. I was clueless about the rules of playing and I felt like a complete outsider. I asked a couple attendants how to play and they were less helpful than Indian motel 6 receptionists. Watching others play, I finally learned how people won some money. I copied their technique and it was actually working! I was up 28 dollars! I decided to keep playing and I soon lost all 28 dollars. “Ahhh its fine, ill just win more money with this next 20 that I put in.” That soon turned into another 20, and I had just lost 60 dollars. My fun was over, and I left the casino with the bitter taste of defeat in my mouth. The journey back to Jim’s body shop was not a walk in the park either; most locals would stare at us and shoot us menacing looks. They knew we were outsiders. Back at the junkyard, around midnight, we were greeted by the stare of an old, crazy-looking lady sitting in her truck. Jeff had warned us about her, “There’s gonna be a lady sleeping in her truck. She sleeps at our shop every night, and I’m not sure why, she’s not homeless she just chooses to sleep here.” We got in the golf to plan out where we were going to sleep and were alarmed by the truck parked to the left of us. The mirrors were all fogged up, and there were visible signs of movement in the car. We examined the car some more, and decided it was most likely two people fucking. That’s when we decided to camp behind the truck and try our luck. Tip-toeing behind the cars to act inconspicuous, we quickly set up the tent and tried our best to blend in with all the weirdness around us. While setting up, a cute kitty jumped on to our tent and accompanied us. At first she was seemed like great company, an ally to our forces to conquer Browning, but by the end of the night, she wouldn’t leave and kept scratching and clawing at our heads through the tent. Not only that, but we were awaken in the middle of the night to an obnoxious catfight involving our “friend” a couple feet outside our tent. Not too shabby for our first night in browning.

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