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Folks, I finished the internet early today. I'm going to need your help getting through the next couple hours.

Here's my contribution:
When I was a kid I didn't have many friends, it was always one or two friends and the rest were really more like acquaintances. Anyway, one of my friends and I liked to explore sewers. We had some seriously huge storm drain sewers in the town where I grew up. Like, ones that go on for miles underground and branch every which way. Looking back, as a grown up, and having heard of kids being killed during floods in these things I feel kind of foolish, but we never went down into them when it was seriously wet and weather was always pretty predictable in So Cal anyway. But I digress.

My friend and I had been exploring these sewers for a couple years and we even had a secret hideout in one of them. If you've never been in a storm drain sewer, the way they work is that there is one or more huge outdoor channels and then underground branches off that channel, with more minor branches off those channels and you eventually end up in a little box-shaped room with a grate that is stuck out in a roadside curb. These grates are awesome, by the way, for shooting spitballs and whatnot(or yelling obscenities or whatever) at cars that stop next to them because there's no way to get past the grate and the actual entrance to get into the tunnel may be half a mile or more away. Anyway, we had set up a little fort in one of the larger of these rooms where we stored all sorts of SECRET STUFF, like cigarettes, playboys, firecrackers, etc. It was so awesome.

One time my friend and I wanted to be more Indiana Jonesesque so instead of using flashlights, we made torches. We had figured the torches might burn out at some point so we also brought a big glass gallon jug filled with gasoline with us in case we needed to re-fuel them. It had been raining a little bit recently so the bottom of the tunnel we were in had a few inches of water on the bottom, which meant we had to kind of waddle down the tunnel with our feet on the sides to stay out of the water. Those of you who are good at guessing(ruining) the end of movies can probably see where this is going, but anyway I ended up tripping and dropping the gas jug and my torch. The jug broke open and spilled the gas all over and the torch ingnited it. It wasn't really a big deal, it wasn't like a raging inferno or anything, but there was fire that was quickly spreading down the tunnel over the water both ways and the tube was filling up with smoke pretty fast. So we're running towards the exit, coughing and laughing but almost crying because we're scared like hell. We finally get to the end of the tunnel, step out into the clean air and look back at these huge clouds of smoke billowing out of the gutter. Then we look the other way and there are about 10 people staring down at us from the road and some big Ward Cleaver looking dude yelling, "You boys get out of there!" Well, I think we were more scared of getting in trouble or arrested or something(For what? I have no idea.) than we were of death by smoke inhalation, so we looked at each other and headed back into the tunnel.

Not really sure which way to head, we came to a split in the tunnel where one side went down and one side went up. We took the low path, which meant we were still running over some fire, though not much by this point, but we would avoid most of the smoke going up. We kept cruising down this tunnel until we hit a dead end. This was a huge square room with a small tube on the opposite wall but high up and with a grating over it. It was pretty dark, as we only had my friend's torch and it was about to die, so we start picking around the room and all of a sudden there is a huge WHOOSH and stuff is blowing all over the room. Well, that stuff turned out to be bats. Like, thousands of bats. Bats like in Batman Returns where he summons all those bats, bats. That was the first and only time I ever really heard a boy scream like a girl, I almost laughed, but then I was screaming too, and running back through the tunnel, fire and water be damned, I was tramping through that place at top speed, not really able to see where I was going but there were fucking BATS all around us, slapping into us. I banged the top of my head on the top of the tunnel at some point, which hurt like a bitch, but I did not care at that point. We finally got out of the end of the tube, ran about a half mile to a high school we were by and fell down under the bleachers panting and laughing as hard as we had ever laughed in our lives.

I was such good friends with that kid but about six months later we got in a fight and never talked to each other again. I wonder what he's doing now.

Sweet, between writing that out and working I burned up an hour. One more to go and I'm out of here. And then it's beer time.

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
ellnra22
Apr. 13th, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC)
that was a fantastic story and I throughly enjoyed reading it. i was sitting here laughing out loud and patients were looking at me funny.
xviragox
Apr. 13th, 2007 09:39 pm (UTC)
That was an awesome story.

Tell another!
baldowl
Apr. 13th, 2007 09:49 pm (UTC)
That's a great story.
You'd think the Interwebs would make it easier to track down childhood friends, but you only realize how many people have the exact same name.
democritus
Apr. 13th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
That's the thing, this kid has the same name as thousands of other people. And who knows what he looks like now. Definitely not the same as he did at 11 or 12.
baldowl
Apr. 13th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
Kind of sad--and then there's some people in one's past he really WISHES would go the hell away, but SHE JUST WON'T...(sorry).
democritus
Apr. 13th, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
I have ABOSLUTELY no idea who you could be talking about.

lolz
withbutterflies
Apr. 13th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
OMG that was so damned funny. You are a dork x 1000.

I always think of stories to post, but always forget them when it comes to a time like this.

democritus
Apr. 13th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
Yeah I can never think of any stories to tell if someone asks or if I just feel like telling one, it just has to pop into my head at the right time.
missfran
Apr. 13th, 2007 09:54 pm (UTC)
just finished reading It. You were fools. FOOLS
democritus
Apr. 13th, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC)
I never read it, but I saw the end of the movie and let me tell you, bats were way scarier than that giant spider thing. ;)
seadiver
Apr. 13th, 2007 09:55 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! I love your stories, MAN!
missfran
Apr. 13th, 2007 09:55 pm (UTC)
Unrelated, but: since you've got time you get to pick what I cook for the blog tomorrow. Biscotti or keema shepherd's pie or something randomly chosen by you?
democritus
Apr. 13th, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
I've never heard of keema shepherd's pie, but I love normal shapherd's pie and adding an Indian flair(I looked it up) can't be bad. I say go for it!
missfran
Apr. 13th, 2007 10:05 pm (UTC)
There's a keema recipe on my site too. I thought up the keema shepherd's pie thing in response to the invitation I got to audition for a TV programme called Britain's Best Dish. You picking that one is a re-inforcement that I should do that dish.
sarahpolk
Apr. 13th, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
Wow, you're a modern-day Stephen King!

...where was Pennywise?
delphica
Apr. 13th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
Awesome story! I'm a little bit jealous, we didn't have that kind of sewer tunnel (maybe we had a different kind of storm drainage in our area? it's a mystery), but I always seemed to come across the concept in movies or books and it was SO UNFAIR we didn't have any sewer tunnels to explore.
democritus
Apr. 14th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)
Oh man, it was so much fun. Writing that makes me want to find some around here to go in but I haven't seen any around.
psycat90
Apr. 13th, 2007 10:57 pm (UTC)
My stupid story:

I was probably 12 or 13 and I was home alone. I'm sure my mother was at work, but I have no idea where my sisters were. Anyway, we had this 'junk drawer' in the kitchen that had all kinds of shit in it - pens, matches, candles, screws, etc. Junk. I'd periodically clean the thing out, essentially tossing the junk junk and keeping the good junk. On this particular night I came across what looked like a candle, a big, strange candle.

So, I decided to light it on the stove. And as soon as I did it started sparkling like a firecracker and I realized pretty quickly it wasn't a regular candle, it was a Roman candle, and the fuse was burning fast. In my hand, in the middle of our kitchen. I wasn't sure what to do with it. Our kitchen was the center of our home, the stairs from the foyer leading up to it had a door that my father had installed, the kind that is cut in two about 2/3rds up. The top half was open, and the only thing I could think to do was to toss the Roman candle down into the foyer, which is what I did. It shook the house went it went off, or at least it felt like it did. It definitely shook the windows and I think I'm pretty damn lucky it didn't blow any in the foyer to bits. Even though I'd covered my ears waiting for the blast, my ears were ringing for a good half hour afterwards. There wasn't really any noticeable damage, a small burn mark but the tile in the foyer was dark and it blended away, but the foyer was filled with smoke. I opened every window and every door and used a towel to try to fan the smoke smell out of the house. No one ever knew, but I didn't sleep a wink that night, I was so upset. I still think about it and think how lucky I am I didn't blow the damn house up or blow my arm off.
democritus
Apr. 14th, 2007 12:40 am (UTC)
I don't think that was a roman candle, sounds like an M-80 or something. But still, lol.
seadiver
Apr. 14th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
I think I remember this one. OMG, it freaks me out to think of that moment of realization!
sugar_mcduff
Apr. 14th, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
That was a fabulous story and reminds me of some great childhood adventures.
socal1968
Apr. 14th, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)
That was excellent!

My friends and I used to run around in the sewers, too. Must have been a So Cal thing. One of the sewers in Torrance ended up at a swampy area where the Little League fields were. So after our softball and baseball games we would play in and hang out around it. It was kind of a measure of how gutsy you were as to how far you would go in. To the first, second, third or further manhole. After the first, it got really dark and pretty small. I wasn't a girly girl (they wouldn't go in at all) but I was not as brave as most of the boys. I only got to the second. It got smaller and smaller as you went, and I wasn't willing to go any further than you'd have to crawl on hands and knees. They said it ended up really small at the end, and was near the hospital about a half mile away.

It's weird how I can still remember the smell, and what it felt like to walk in it with your feet apart to avoid the water, and what the cleats stomping on the metal sounded like.

socal1968
Apr. 14th, 2007 03:37 am (UTC)
Oh, cool. I just found on Google the satellite image and you can see the baseball fields and the gutter coming out of the sewer and running into the swamp. It must have been taken in winter. The outfields look like crap. Anyway, this was such a cool place to run around as a kid. The whole area was down low- you felt like you were in a canyon.

http://www.google.com/maps?q=5417+Halison+St,+Torrance,+California+90503,+USA&ie=UTF8&om=1&z=18&ll=33.853145,-118.371436&spn=0.002994,0.005021&t=k

Not that you care or anything; I just had to show someone.
democritus
Apr. 14th, 2007 07:22 am (UTC)
Haha I totally do care. The sewer lines must have run under the suburban developments to the south too. What great exploring. And you hit on somethign I completely failed to mention. The little "cave" our fort was in was only accessible through a narrow tunnel we had to crawl through to get to. But that was the only way to reach the street level "boxes". I loved exploring but always had a creepy feeling I'd get stuck crawling through one of those small tubes. I doubt I could do it today.
socal1968
Apr. 14th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah, a bit scary considering adults couldn't fit in to get you, even if they could find you.

And would you really want to today? Now that I realize what all is in the sewers (toxic waste small businesses dump in the middle of the night; motor oil and other crap dripping from cars; household junk residents dump in the gutter, used needles tossed aside by junkies in the alleyways, all manner of animal excrement...) it's pretty scary/disgusting.

But if you really LIKE disgusting things, go take a tour of the Laguna Waste Treatment Plant.
themermaid
Apr. 14th, 2007 06:54 pm (UTC)
We don't have storm sewers like that around here. When I was growing up, our big adventures involved poking around creeks and rivers and woods. Sounds boring but there are a lot of interesting things in those places.

(Oh god, typing that made me feel so old.)

Let me tell you another thing. Kids today don't know what fun is. We had to walk uphill barefoot in the snow even in the summertime to get to the creek and we were damn glad to do it
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )