Monday, November 26, 2007

Where I've Been...

I was spelunking the caves just below Fakiegrind's new cold storage unit (keeps the comic books from decomposing), searching for the source of the wireless signal we have been enjoying gratis here at New Fakiegrind Central, when I came upon a natural chimney in the stone. The channel lead downwards, almost vertically, towards depths unknown, like an esophagus carved from living rock. Not one to pass up a chance to never be seen from again, I knocked some pinions into the wall and started lowering myself down the shaft, hand over hand, my rope being the only safeguard I had against what might be a near bottomless drop into the very heart of the earth. I descended thus for several minutes, scraping my boots against the stone walls, while the chimney became progressively narrower. When the chimney became too tight to navigate in this manner, I wiggled onward as best I could, allowing gravity coupled with the built-in slipperiness of my Secret Agent Spelunking suit to aid my descent. Even still, I nearly became irrevocably lodged in a sphincter-like formation that guarded what turned out to be the cavity's lowermost extremity.

Happily, my recent yogic practice has rendered me unusually pliable, and, by employing a Tantric exhalation technique transmitted to my by Dr. Flavour, I was able to squeeze through the opening and into the expansive void below. Dangling there, like a spider in open space, I could find no wall or formation on which to make a foothold, but was immediately overwhelmed by the deafening roar of moving water. Training my helmet-light below me, I verified that I was, indeed, suspended over a rapidly flowing, underground river. Reasoning that returning back the way I came would prove difficult if not impossible, I bade farewell to my trusty braided nylon lifeline and jumped into the torrent below -- not, however, before inflating my Ballooning Aquatic Survival Apron. This meet device (available by special order from the Fakiegrind Secret Agent Provisions Boutique) has the double advantage of keeping one afloat and providing a measure of protection against injurious collision with rocks and other submerged obstacles.

The apron is certified for white-water conditions and cascades of up to three metres in height, but guarantees no protection against waterfalls of 22 metres, which, it turns out, is the height of the precipice over which the river that was carrying me ultimately flows. There I was, being pleasantly swept allong by the raging waters, my spelunking suit keeping me warm and dry while my survival apron rendered me boyant despite the water's brisk current. I could have contentedly passed an entire afternoon in such a way, the river twisting and turning through the depths of the earth like a giant, subterranean waterslide, had the Great Artificer who framed these passages not decided to throw in a giant waterfall, like an exclamation point marking the end of this particular train of His geological thought.

Down I plummeted. For what seemed to be an eternity (but couldn't have been more than a few seconds) an entire lifetime flashed before my eyes. The fact that it didn't seem to be my own lifetime, but was rather a biographical account of George de Mestral, inventor of Velcro, was odd, but I had little time to marvel the fact before a large pool of water interrupted my brain's warped musings. I pointed my toes downward and hoped for the best.

Most fortunately, the pool of water at the foot of the falls was deep, and it's bottom was covered in a thick layer of spongy moss-like growth that both absorbed the shock of my fall (when waterbottom I eventually hit), and glowed with a strange phosphorescence, lending the pool an enchanting soft blue-green radiance. So radiant was the pool, in fact, that when I reached its surface, I no longer needed my spelunking helmet's lamp to make out the dimensions of the cavern in which I found myself -- and a good thing too, for the force and angle with which I had hit the pool's surface had knocked the helmet clear off my head and sent it careening through the cavern to parts unknown.

And looking around, it became clear that I had stumbled upon something altogether extraordinary. I had indeed found the source of the mysterious wireless Internet signal, and was taken aback by the oddity and outlandishness of the entire scenario. But this tale will have to wait for another posting, as official Fakiegrind duties call me away from the keyboard for the time being...