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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias


Pipes

by Harris Tobias


    Down in the sewers of any fair sized city where the chemicals and the waste and the stink of a million people mingle, given enough time and the right conditions strange things can and do happen. There are plenty of urban myths involving sewers and you can believe me when I tell you that after 23 years in the hole, I’ve heard them all.  You’ve probably heard the one about the alligator that ate the sewer worker, roaches the size of cats and albino bats that screech in the dark and endless tunnels. None of these tales is true but I wouldn’t discount them completely knowing what I know and seeing what I seen.


    Like I said, I’ve been a municiple sewer employee for 23 years and I’m the foreman of a maintenance crew for the last six. It’s honest and necessary work if not particularly skilled or glamorous.  But the city pays well and the benefits are top notch.  In a couple a more years I‘ll have that pension and be able to take it easy. Although, I must say, things are a lot easier now that the new treatment plant has finally gone on line.  The work was a lot harder what with the old plant breaking down all the time and our old tunnels and drains on their last legs. Now, at least, the treatment plant works great and we only have the old pipes to worry about. The new plant is a joy to see. It’s a model of modern efficiency turning the city’s waste into clean water and sterile sludge we sell to farmers to fertilize their fields.


    Anyway, about six months ago, the city was tearing up Clinton Street for some reason known only to the powers that be.  The old maps the city uses are always wrong and the inevitable happened--the old sewer line got torn up and me and my crew were called in to make repairs.  The funny thing was that when we got to the scene and compared the break to the old map we saw that the line the road boy broke was  in the middle of the street, nowheres near where the map said it should be. The map put the line down the left side of Clinton and a couple of scoops with the backhoe proved that that was where it was.  So what the heck was this line the road boys cut?

 
    The cut pipe was about the same diameter as one of ours but that’s where the similarity ended.  On closer inspection I could see that the pipe wasn’t concrete like one of ours. This one was made of some kind of tough and flexible plastic. It felt like cartiledge if I had to give it a name. Another odd thing I noticed right away was the smell.  I know my sewer smells and this was something different  more of an earthy rotting smell, something like compost mixed with bad meat. Definitely not a sewer smell.


    Now I’m not the kind of boss who would ask the guys to do something I wouldn’t do myself. So I’m the one who ties on the safety rope and puts on the helmet and gets in the pipe for a look see.  I tell the boys to give a tug every few minutes and if they don’t get an answering tug back to pull me the heck out of there. There’s enough can go wrong in a sewer as it is without taking extra chances. I probably crawled about 25 yards before I noticed two curious things:  One, the pipe had no sections, no seams. It was one long piece.  The second thing I noticed was the light.  The walls were giving off a faint greenish light of their own and I could see quite well without my lamp.


    There was a small trickle of clean water flowing down the center of the pipe. I was following the stream downhill. After a few more yards another pipe joined mine and the overall diameter got wider. Then another pipe joined and the diameter grew wider again.  Before too long it was wide enough for me to walk stooped over.  Besides the size, the smell of the pipe was changing too. The rotting meat smell was much stronger.  Pretty soon the tunnel widened further and I could see a room sized chamber before me. The chamber was half filled with liquid and in that liquid I could make out the rotting corpses of several dogs and cats and what may have been other domestic animals.  As I watched, a side tunnel delivered a fresh body of a good sized black dog.  It fell into the liquid with a splash.  I realized right then that what I was seeing was an enormous stomach digesting the remains of these poor dead creatures.  The revulsion and horror I felt was immediate and real.  I turned my back on the horrid thing and ran back the way I’d come as fast as I could manage. The tunnel narrowed as I hurried back to the opening, to daylight and my companions.  As I ran it occurred to me that where there’s a stomach, there must be a mouth. And there must be something feeding that mouth. What sort of horror had I stumbled on?


    As I burst into the blessed daylight of our familiar world, I realized just how fantastic my story would sound.  Who would ever believe there’s a collosal organism growing and feeding under the city? I can’t believe it myself.  In a couple of years I collect my pension.  I don’t need people thinking I’m a mental case.  I don’t want a thing like this on my record. Of course I know what I saw.  Something is growing under this town and someday someone will find out just what it is.  In the meantime, I’ll just hope we don’t cut any more of its pipes.  I wouldn’t want it to get angry.



2013-10-04 05:52:55
micheledutcher - Alligators, Rabid Alien-Clowns and now THIS?? - are we paying our MSD (metro-sewer department) workers enough? What's the REAL story when they go down into those hellpits!!


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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias


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