Is Tim Hortons a big deal in the States? Here in the northlands, it's something like the McDonalds of Canada. And Steeltown boasts the original outlet, the fabled Store #1 that Indiana Jones sets out to find in the unproduced fourth movie of the series.
It took me a while to locate the place, despite some reliable intelligence. I had to fend off carnivorous robotic pigeons, shape-shifting dumpsters, and poison-soaked torpedo shrimp, amongst other perils.
These cages housed zombie ferrets, before I dispatched them to Hades.
Cutting back a swath of strangling vines and cursing the swarms of malaria-rife gnats, I suddenly came upon the object of my quest.
The first Tim Hortons shop looks much like any of them, except for a single retro sign, and a plaque on the wall. Several rotting skeletons heaped beside the garbage can warned me not to tarry too long in the parking lot.
The interior is a little smaller than most stores, with about six tables and two glass cases with memorabilia. The approach to the cash register is awkward, requiring the intrepid coffee drinker to avoid stepping on the white linoleum tiles and keep only to the red ones, lest he be pelted with day-old Hawaiian sprinkled Timbits.
The lady working behind the counter was a little camera shy, and she told me I would have to come back tomorrow to meet the oldest surviving cashier, who has been working there since '67.
The place was simply teeming with pastries, but which ones
contained deadly nitroglycerin, and which ones would
bring the Visions?
But I wasn't after coffee--black death we call it in archeology circles. No, I was after the rare and valuable Boston Cream donut, hoping to bring a specimen back to civilization in order to dissect it in front of my graduate class on 20th Century Confectionaries.
Walking carefully home, my prize donut in one trembling hand, I didn't have my backpack. On a deserted strech of sidewalk, two locals inquired about "buying" my camera, which was dangling around my neck. The situation threatened to turn violent, and I was considering throwing my donut at them and making a run for it.
Beware, the robo-elk!
Then I remembered the festive Norwegian Elk Summoning Dance, always good for disarming a potentially hostile situation. Soon we were laughing and joking like old friends, and I took the opportunity to sell the rogues some old vinyl siding that had been sitting around my yard for months. Exchanging e-mail addresses, I managed to make a graceful exit before the street was flooded with stampeding Norwegian elk.
Double elk milk, please
Well, there you have it: another Steeltown first.