Mr. Empire eventually made his way out of the supplies “room” of the General Store to the saloon next door. As he entered, he noticed that the ceiling was covered with thousands of dollar bills. A 50-inch DirecTV television in the back of the saloon playing average country music. There was a pool table illuminated with LED lights.
“So I’m not sure what to do,” said Mr. Empire gathering his thoughts. “I was taken aback by the odd lighting and the dollar bills pinned over the rafters. It looked like a bar, but there was no booze. Just a few wine bottles behind the bar. That’s when I noticed that lady. She kinda scared the hell out of me.”
The General Store caretaker was seated behind the bar, and seemed to almost blend into the dark, cedar interior.
“I get the same questions all the time,” said the bartender/owner of the Iowa hill General Store.” ‘So you got no power here, huh?’ and ‘I bet you hate cloudy days like this on your solar panels’ and ‘What’s it like having telephone service now?’ I hear it probably ten times a day. So sometimes I get annoyed when someone like this Empire character says something like, ‘Wow, this Coke is nice and cold.’ Well of course it is. It came out of our refrigerator.”
According to bike rider Amelia Jonstead, Mr. Empire reappeared from the store with a confident march.
“Yeah, he kinda came out of the store like he really accomplished something,” continued Ms. Jonstead. “He got into the passenger’s seat and they just drove off.”
According to Ms. Empire, they turned around and headed back towards Cedar Ridge.
“I’m just glad I got Tommy out and about,” Ms. Empire said in a somewhat relieved tone. “And we saw this place that was certainly different. Now Tommy’s telling all of our Vacaville friends that he felt like he was in a scene from Deliverance. I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but if it makes him feel like he went on adventure, that’s fine with me. If I could just get him to stop saying ‘squeal like a pig.'”