I always dread the shock you usually receive upon touching a laptop after it passes through an airport X-ray machine.
I only ever drink ginger ale on airplanes.
// BILLINGS, MONTANA
I arrive at 11:00 pm, stepping off a jet bridge into an empty airport. No employees in sight.
—Billings is the largest city in Montana. If this is its airport, the other cities' airports must be…fuckin' Tom Nevers Fields.
—A khaki-coloured car?
Jon: You know, I didn't think you were serious about wearing a calculator watch.
With ample time before last call, we hang out at a brewing company, where I am surprised to see multiple black people.
According to the United States Census Bureau, 0.6% of Montana's population is black. That equates to 6,141 black people in Montana. More Asian people live in Montana than black people.
Jon: Hey, what's your wi-fi network?
Adam Robot: Nakatomi Plaza.
Adam Robot: Charter just increased my Internet speed. Now I have 60 Mbps.
You can't throw a flying disc in Billings without hitting a combination lounge and casino.
Adam Robot: A dead body was found in this motel.
Adam Robot: Someone was stabbed to death outside this building.
Adam Robot: Every winter, a homeless person freezes to death in downtown. Like clockwork.
Have I mentioned that I've never been to Europe? Or Hawaii?
Jon: The tallest building in Billings (and thus, all of Montana) is a hotel?
Adam Robot: It was, until the First Interstate Center opened.
Jon: According to Wikipedia, the First Interstate Center is only 16 feet taller. The Crowne Plaza should put a 17-foot spire on its roof.
Adam Robot: The Crowne Plaza is still the tallest load-bearing brick masonry building in the world.
Adam Robot: It's the tallest building in the world composed almost entirely of bricks.
Jon: Ah. Safe! It can withstand the huffing and puffing of a big bad wolf.
I expected stuff in Montana to be inexpensive, and then I discovered that Montana has no sales tax. And then I learned that a city in Arkansas, of all places, has the highest sales tax in America.
—The tallest building in Montana is only 272 feet tall.
—Well, why build up when you can build out? America isn't Dubai.
The largest store in Billings is a 220,000-square foot sporting goods store, featuring:
• a 16,000-gallon salt water aquarium
• a 65-foot, 16-car operating Ferris wheel
• a shooting gallery
• a deli and fudge shop that serves Starbucks coffee
• animatronic presidents (Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson)
No lounge or casino, though.
—Also, it seems like everyone in Montana lives in a house. A taller building would need heavy commercial demand, as it couldn't count on residential interest.
—Hmm… Yeah, I didn't see any apartment buildings the whole time I was in Montana.
Adam Robot: I don't pay for water. I have a well.
Jon: Uhh, what?
Adam Robot: Why do you think my lawns are so green?
Jon: Is it, like, a neighbourhood well?
Adam Robot: Nope. It's my own personal well. Came with the house.
Toilets flush conspicuously slowly in Billings.
Josh: You chased Fireball with a chicken strip?!
Brock: Do you play badminton?
Brock: I asked because you're Asi–
Jon: Yes, yes…
Jon: What's with all the flies flying around in eating and drinking establishments in Billings? Even in its upscale restaurants…
Brock: One Halloween, Adam was Dexter and Josh was Batista.
—Batista? The wrestler?
Josh: It was a total coincidence.
—Oh. Batista on Dexter. Duh!
Josh: I'm throwing an Indiana Jones-themed party in September.
Adam Robot: Most people will probably come as Indiana Jones.
Adam Robot: I just thought of a killer idea for a costume.
Adam Robot: No.
Brock: Face-melting Toht.
Adam Robot: Nope. You'll never guess what it is.
Three minutes later…
Jon: Old Man Indy from The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
Adam Robot: No.
Josh: Alright. Uncle. What is it?
Adam Robot: A functioning Ark of the Covenant. Lights up.
—Dressing up as a chest? For a party? LL Cool Cs?
Brock: He blindly forwarded my joke nutsack size to the tailor. I looked like MC Hammer at his wedding.
Brock and Adam Robot: [in unison] Zombie THC!
Josh: He shit on my lawn!
—Whoa. The jukebox is playing Bloodhound Gang's "A Lap Dance Is So Much Better When the Stripper Is Crying."
Josh: KYLE SHITERO!
Brock: I got my last blow job on the Pulp Fiction couch.
Adam Robot: Did you meet Weedy Jesus?
Jon: [reading a license plate] "Treasure State." I thought Montana is the Big Sky State?
Adam Robot: It's Big Sky Country.
Jon: Treasure State, Big Sky Country.
Adam Robot: And Billings is the Magic City.
Jon: City: Magic. State: Treasure. Country: Big Sky. Sex: Yes, please!
Adam Robot: I think we drove too far. I think we're in Wyoming.
Jon: I'd check, but my mobile has no reception.
Getting my Iñárritu on
Midway up Beartooth Pass, we stopped at a pullout and were joined by two husky macho blokes. They exited their truck, admired the view, and tossed a few adult human head-sized rocks off the ledge for cheap thrills.
Adam Robot: What would you say is the quintessential nu-metal music video?
Jon: Oh gosh…
Jon: I want to say something by Dope.
Jon: Dope – "Everything Sucks."
The man in front of me in the airport security queue reeks of cigarettes. He places a Ziploc bag containing two inhalers in his bin.
The Billings Gazette's front page story is a Mötley Crüe concert.