the bowels of the beast

i arrive before the store is open; before the imagined throngs of sportsmen and sportswomen come-a-calling to make their camo and survival gear purchases or perhaps, invest in a new eviscerating implement. a doddering gray-haired woman lets me in. i ask “where is the septic training?” and she points to the back of the store “back up there, up the stairs and take a right at the mountain.” “you mean the mountain with all the dead animals on it?”

“exactly”, she replies. 

with that, i have entered a cabelas for the first time in my life. to me it represents all that is bad and over-processed…just another conglomerate superstore that has silenced the pulse of small town businesses from many small towns across the country.

i don’t go to wal-mart either, but that’s because i am deathly afraid that someone will take my picture and post it on “peopleofwalmart.com”.  

owatonna and cabelas and septic training seems an odd triumvirate, but upon my drive to the hotel, realized it could have been owatonna and the lions den and septic training. the lions den is an adult “themed” store conveniently located off of i-35. the random thought of me going to its front door at 8 in the morning stating “i’m here for septic training” is unpleasant at best; even more so when i think i could have ended up in a seedy booth with a roll of quarters and none-the-wiser about the science of septic treatment. 

we are tucked away in one of cabelas hidden rooms, behind camo facades and walls thick with pictures of ancient hunters and fishermen and whiskey-soaked grins that beam at their gathered quarries. somewhere, i imagine, someone in the store is skinning all types furred and feathered critters so they can add to their dead animal collection. 

even inside the store though, it smells like farming. if yesterday was the smell of arbys, today it was the sheen of manure that has been spread overnight by the manure fairies. 

in a rare upbeat moment, i feel as though i could be in heaven…if heaven was a shit-soaked, darkened alley in the seedy section of willyville. 

cabelas and the lions den and land-applied manure seems the perfect accompaniment to this septic training. it’s no different than smelling patchouli and thinking I should be shopping at the cook county co-op.

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About borealbilly

i am cursed by nocturnal self-awareness. View all posts by borealbilly

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