Voyage of the Scunge Scavenger
by Joshua Blanc
The water bubbled and gurgled around the Scunge Scavenger, swirling the sub around at breakneck speed and whirlpooling down the plughole.
"The thingy that keeps rings and false-teeth from going down the drain should catch us! Aaaargh!"
Down, down the sub went -- following the tide of scummy water into the unknown.
"Of course, I could be wrong!"
"Cap'n, the Sonar! We appear to be approaching a ... U-bend."
"Yes, and look at the build-up!"
Bodies were slammed to the floor as the sub became lodged in the pipe narrowed by gunge, old food-scraps, hair, rings, and false-teeth.
"Give us full speed!"
The props strained to their limit, for almost a full ten seconds before the sub slid forward and broke free. At full speed. It charged upwards then down over the bend -- straight down. All went black....
When everybody came to, all was calm again. The sub seemed to be moving forwards at a slow, easy pace through pitch-black stillwater.
Captain Franks slowly stood, and lowered himself to his command chair.
"Ergh ... report, Holdecker."
"Uh, sonar shows we're in a horizontal pipe, possibly underground. And frankly, it scares the living crap outta me."
"Keep it together, man. Don't you realize what this means?"
"We're gonna die?"
"Well, yes, possibly, but it means much more than that. It means we have left the realms of the known world. We, the crew of the Scunge Scavenger, have gone where no one's ever ventured before. We are the new explorers! The new heroes of the age! The--"
For a moment there was confusion again. Up was down and down was up. Then sideways was up, and a little bit after that diagonal of sideways was up, until finally up was up again and there was light -- glorious light!
"Where are we now?"
The sub was floating now, on a raging body of water.
"An underground river!"
Holdecker opened the hatch. "Pheeee-oogh! It sure does stink, wherever it is."
"Cap'n! The sonar is picking up thousands of other ships! See what you make of them."
"Periscope up," said the Captain. "Yes, I see them! Large brown objects, floating on the surface all around us. Ships of the new world! Now aren't you glad we came as far as we did, Holdecker?"
"Well, yeah, I guess so, Cap'n."
"Drop anchor, men, we've got celebrating to do!"
"Cap'n! Something huge is heading straight for us!" said Durkel.
"Oh? Perhaps it's our welcoming committee."
"What shall we do?" asked Holdecker.
"Let's get ready to greet them. Do we have any clam dip left?"
The sub bobbed steadily on the ripples from the approaching object. As the Captain reached for one of his best cigars and a packet of instant guacamole, the huge black shape of an alligator's snout blotted out the light.