Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spelunking With Papa Bear

"You’ve got to hi de hi, you’ve got to ho de ho, you’ve got to he de he de he, to get along with me!" The old man in the mountain, he wants one thing and the little lady she wants another, but the old man always gets his way because he’s bigger and his beard is longer. He just slaps his big feet around on the cave floor and asks: ”Whatcha gonna do now?" And in a lilting voice she wiggles her hips and says: "I’m gonna do the best I can."
So he chases her round and around through the twinning tunnels that twist through the mountains guts. They run over little bridges that hang over dark abysses, and down paths that grow narrower and narrower and sometimes disappear under pools where pale frogs croak and swim after glow-in-the-dark minnows. They run through hallways were fungi grow on the walls and turn their caps in their direction as they fly past. Just rubbing up against this fungal federation is enough to send the body into shock, it has so much to say in the language of light and so few people come down into the dark to rub it and lick it and listen to its incredible story.
The old man and the little woman squeeze their arms close to their bodies and rush by so that they won’t be drawn into a conversation that could take an eternity and change the course of evolution forever. Whoosh, they whiz through tunnels like hamsters scurrying through plastic tubes. She is always just a step or two ahead, barely defending her lead, and his big hand reaches out, groping the space between them, waiting for the moment to come when she will fall back into his hands.
On they go, deeper and deeper, down staircases that spiral into the earth’s core like a corkscrew. They swing over pits of molten lava and disappear down ramps of bright red adobe. Lucifer is pitching a shovel full of coal into the fire, his tail a-twitching. As they pass, he waves courteously, and grinning, he puts his back into it, heave ho, in goes coal and the flames dance up higher than ever, wiggling their indistinct hips and bosoms.
The heat is intense, and the old man is slowed down just a little bit more than the young woman, so she manages to put a few extra feet between them, but the sweat is running into her eyes and making her hair and dress cling to her body. Squish, with every step the perspiration that has pooled down in their socks is squeezed out under the pressure of a foot to leave little wet prints.
The heat slowly diminishes as they journey through a corridor that slopes steeply uphill. Neither can run at this point, both parties walk huffing and puffing, grabbing onto little roots that protrude from the dirt walls to prevent themselves from loosing their footing and tumbling backwards into the broiling flames behind them. Wheezing and hanging their heads between their legs, they catch their breath when the ground levels out and a colony of little brown rabbits hops by on its way to the surface, brushing up against their ankles as they go, strong bucks, plump does and downy soft little youngster all wrinkling their noses and twitching their ears.
The little woman doesn’t know it, but these rabbits work for the old man, so when she coos, "Oh how cute!”, and reaches down to pet them, they hold perfectly still and act as if they enjoy it, staring up with dewy little eyes that glisten in the darkness. Then, whoosh, the old man leaps forward and catches her by the hair. Still holding on tight, he uses his other hand to pull bunches of baby carrots from his bearskin smock and rewards the bunnies for a job well done. They giggle gleefully and hip hop away.
"Ooooh!" the little lady exclaims in an endearingly angry little voice, sweet on the surface, smoldering at the core. The old man drags her the rest of the way home, singing, "You’ve got to hi de hi, you’ve got to ho de ho, you’ve got to he de he de he, to get along with me!"

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