Chapter 8: The Denim Underground

It was dark. So dark, that Axel could not even check the time on his expensive, large-faced, limited edition James Bond replica (Sean Connery Edition), genuine leather strap wrist-watch. No matter how close he brought it to his face, he couldn’t even make out the large hour arm. Even with his diet being as rich in carrots as it was, no amount of carrots could cut this darkness.

Levon, being the kind of man who won’t leave a Yankee Candle store until he has sniffed and evaluated every candle in the entire store, is immediately punched straight in the face by the pungent stench of all the smelly ass sewer crap & garbage.

Levon can identify and pin-point at least five different distinct smells in the homogenized trash juice flowing past their shins.

  1. Dirty Diapers… the ones for incontinent adults, not tiny babies.

  2. The last sips out of warm beer cans, that were poured out because of undesirable temperature and high likely-hood of back-wash.

  3. The restrooms at Kmarts, all of them.

  4. Cheerio(TM) Breath.

  5. Sweaty men watching big-tittied anime girls in a basement.

Both being very fastidious about their hygiene, and always smellin’ fresh as hell, Levon is downright appalled.

This is our Vietnam.” he says, in a gruff, jaded tone.

Frantically trying to achieve spacial orientation, their eyes begin to adjust gradually. They finally notice a very faint and distant source of light. At least, there appeared to be so, as something was creating a distinct silhouette of a man motioning for them to follow him.

Without hesitation, and with a downright weird amount of enthusiasm to follow a strange man around in a filthy sewer, they push forward with all their might. The thickness of the sludge worked in conjunction with their water logged boots and drenched socks, impeding them to the point where progress was comically slow.

After an incredibly exhausting dredge towards an ever-brighter light, they see the silhouetted man approach the end of the tunnel, pause, then descend down a ladder to a lower-level.

When an exhausted and shit covered Axel and Levon finally get to where the man descended, they see the ladder is clearly marked on both sides by large piles of tasty holiday candies, still in sealed packages. Levon makes Axel hold up, while he picks out all the Reese’s Eggs and Yellow Peeps he can find. Axel doesn’t understand the candy thing. They head down the ladder- one with pockets full of candy, the other without.

At the bottom they finally come face-to-face with the shadowy man.

Hey dude! I’m Levon, what’s good? Did you see all that free candy up there? Still in the packages and everything!” He says as he pops a Reese’s Egg into his mouth.

Yeah, I see the candy! It’s mine, that’s why they call me Candy Dick. But I didn’t bring you fools down here just to snack on my tasty holiday treasures.” The man snatches the candy away from Levon, with extreme prejudice.

Chill out Dick! Why did you bring us down here?” Axel questions.

Hang on, let me show you.” Candy Dick begins to pull both his pants and Batman boxers down around his ankles and kiddie-corners himself, belly side against the wall. “Just a second” he says, with a calm customer service like demeanor. He starts to fidget about in a hurry, then crab walks with his back turned to Axel and Levon over to a cylinder shaped hole in a wall.

Stop getting hard, you weirdo! We don’t want to see your dirty sewer penis!” Levon shouts.

Hold on, I’m working here. You guys are making me nervous.” Candy Dick says, still fidgeting about with his wiener. 

He then thrusts his hips forward, causing a loud metallic click to emanate from a latched door next to him. He steps back, uncomfortably. After repacking himself up, he turns to address Axel and Levon with an awkward posture.

Follow me.” Candy Dick says.

He pushes open the now unlatched door, that was covered in Pantera stickers.

As he turns around to hold the door open for them, they notice his a stupid tacky wallet chain after it clanks against the door.

Levon and Axel exchange a quick and judgmental look of disapproval. They proceed.

Once Candy Dick’s boner starts to subside, they finally have a chance to take in their surroundings.

The chamber was enormous in size. There are drainage pipes billowing out gallons of water, hundreds of feet overhead, down into a series of troughs and aqua-ducts that ran through the underground village. The water filled trenches have make-shift shanties, lean-twos and hobo-huts lined up all around them. The hobo-huts being the nicest of the three, both structurally and in unique design. The troughs of water are in full use by the sweatiest of the society, as they scamper over to fill up their canteens and reused McDonald’s medium-sized cups. A cornucopia of miss-matched oriental rugs are fucking everywhere, and everyone is wearing socks with sandals. There is a strong scent of cheap marijuana that hangs heavy in the air. There is also an out of control dude/lady ratio. Their best estimate being 15 dudes for every one female. The whole place has the feel of a big ol mom’s basement. They also notice what looks like a couple of potential LAN parties going down off in the corner.

Sure is a whole lot of dudes down here.” Axel says, with his hands on his hips.

Fuck man, you ain’t kidding…” Levon assumes the same pose as Axel, subtlety shaking his head.

Where’d that Candy Dick go?” Levon asks, as he scans the room with hawk like precision. On a lower level, he notices Candy Dick waving them over and throwing “DIO” horns into the air, as they begin to make their way down to him.

Once they catch up to the grossly named man, he starts to explain he’s going to lead them to a sewer chamber on the outskirts of the compound, a place where the higher ups of the resistance want to discuss something with the infamous travelers. Several hundred feet down a long, dark hallway they reach their destination. It’s a cozy little chamber, mainly lit by old timey kerosene lamps and the screens of peoples’s smart phone.

The obvious leader of the group spoke first.

So these are the two who have been shaking things up out there…. aren’t you guys a little over dressed for being in a sewer?” It was clear to see why he thought their trendy, late-fall apparel was too much by looking at the clothes he donned himself.

He was wearing almost entirely 2nd hand (perhaps even 3rd) and thrift-store bought garments. His tattered hand-me-down flannel was covering the very obscure band t-shirt he had underneath. The band’s name was so obscure that even Axel and Levon, who posses extensive music and pop culture knowledge, could not figure out who the fuck it was. The shorts he wore were clearly work pants at one time, probably having been turned into shorts out of sheer necessity, due to extreme wear and tear and deterioration. His boots were a whole other deal. Let’s just go with “dirty”. Also, greasy. Definitely that too. One could make the argument that he was under-dressed for the sewer.

Yeah, we’ve been known to get a little fancy.” Axel re-adjusts his heavily starched collar.

Levon is still obsessively fixated on the man’s shirt. “Hey man.” he begins to point directly at it and cock his head “What is that band on your shirt? I can’t quite make it out… and I’ve heard a few tunes in my day.”

Kicker. They’re this sweet crusty, anno-thrash, sludge punk band. They’re fuckin’ awesome, you gotta check them out. Last time I saw them live, the lead singer got hit with a full beer can and just picked it up and started drinking it! It was awesome, that dude rules.”

Alright, rock ‘n roll man. I like it.” Levon threw up a quick “hang-ten” sign, acting like he was totally in the know.

Cool, cool guys… well, my name’s Axel, my friends call me Axe.” he coyly shrugs “I like the vibe of this joint,” he motions to Levon “This here is my confidant and P.I.C., short for partner-in-crime, he goes by Levon.”

Annoyed by Axel’s embarrassing rambling, Levon cuts in “Nobody calls you Axe. And there is certainly no god-damn way anyone would know what the fuck P.I.C. would stand for. You just took our first impression and shat all over it with your stupid, diarrhea words.”

Levon takes a minute to compose himself. Before addressing the cool dirty man directly.

Sorry about my friend, he gets a little nervous. But any-who, I take it you’re in charge of this operation, judging by you’re sweet candle-lit backroom quarters?”

Oh, me? They call me Ruff Rick, but don’t you worry about my actual birth name.”

Is it Craig? Cause you got a pretty sizable ‘Craig’s Parking Only’ sign above that futon over there.” Axel points out.

Just don’t worry about the name! I brought you here for something more important then that.” Craig motions to a couple of fold out chairs as the other people move a collapsible card table to the center of the room, shoving a massive amount of empty beer cans out of the way.

You mind if I smoke?” Levon asks, as he pulls a cigarette out of seemingly thin air.

Be my guests!” Craigs says, as he positions an ash tray close by. “I was about to huff down a choker myself.”

They both light their respective cigarettes and Ruff Rick lays it all out on the table. He starts to explain the need for the massive underground compound. Ever since the Cultivist Regime took over, there has been an enormous effort to push out and disenfranchise anyone who might be able to think for themselves. They started this campaign by seizing assets and making ridiculous legislation that was designed to destroy anyone remotely independent. The Cultivist government forced this new class of persecuted citizens into hiding, or out of the Capital City all together. Ruff Rick was among those persecuted people who decided to take refuge into the neglected sewers, waiting until the day a full scale revolt reared it’s promising head. Due to the nature of the living conditions in a poorly maintained sewer underneath a major city, the majority of the type of people attracted were doughy, single, 30 somethings that were already well-adjusted to a basement-like environment. Not a very likely stock to produce a hero. Especially not with all the pizza rolls they were eating. Ruff Rick and a couple of the others who were equally passionate about the resistance and vehemently opposed to the Cultivist establishment, have been meticulously laying out a plan of action to take down the oppressive dick-heads. They’ve only had to lie and await a pair of travelers who were bold, courageous, fashionable, handsome, charismatic, muscular, witty, outspoken, radical, well-endowed, funny, athletic, charming, strapping, powerful, well groomed, fair, benevolent, god-like, talented, creative, virtuous, fast, strong, silver tongued, symmetrical-faced, stiff bodied, very smart, hunky bad-asses. They thought they found their dream guys when they recruited Kurt and Bruce sometime earlier that week. However they quickly realized they sent those two on a suicide mission, straight into the belly of the beast. New information surfaced that the Capital City Ice Fortress was defensively set 5 minutes into the future, they never stood a chance at getting inside. The rumored time-machine inventor was living in recluse across the Birmington Woods, and the only way anyone could reach the master of puppets pulling the strings would be to find this man and convince him to help.

And that’s why you have to take this mission. Do it for the little guy, the down trodden, the disenfranchised, the ones who can’t stand up for themselves! Forced underground, afraid to leave this compound and see the light of day! I’ve been down here for years, it’s not fun. The wifi is spotty, the weed sucks and I haven’t been able to add to my record collection in way too long. We can’t offer you much for compensation, but we will forever be grateful if you stand up for us and be our batman. So what do you say, fellas? Will you be our Dark Knight?” Ruff Rick is now standing with his arms spread open.

Well, uh…” Levon fidgets around and looks at his wrist as if there is a watch there, but there is not.

My schedule is pretty free and clear for the foreseeable future and I wasn’t really planning on going back home yet… what about you, Axel?”

I’m so sorry dude, I wasn’t listening. But you know I’m up for whatevsies. Besides, you’re my ride home!”

Oh yeah, where the fuck are our raptors anyways?” Levon looks suddenly concerned.

Well alright fellas, how about we celebrate tonight! Got a whole 30 rack of warm beer cans loose in that back-pack over there if you wanna get drunk.” Ruff Rick interjects excitedly.

Sure, I’ve been known to drink a few too many!” Levon quickly replies, with a warm-ass beer already in his hand.

Well, I’m down to have a few… but maybe we take it a little easy? We did some pretty severe binge drinking last night, and I don’t think it’s the right time for a bender. You know, in light of the new mission and all…”

Piffft, lame! But if you guys want to do something else besides drink all night, we can take a trip down to our forge. We got some pretty damn fine wood and metal scraps in there, along with a few tools you guys might be able to use to repair some of your shit and prep for the long journey ahead. We ain’t got much in there, but you’re welcome to take whatever the hell you need.” Ruff Rick looks hesitant to get up out of his seat, but would if they took him up on his offer.

The two adventures agree to Ruff Rick’s proposal, a quick pop-off to the armory is well needed.