Mr. Bagel marveled at the base’s construction. As he was
lead through its labyrinthine corridors he tried to make a mental map and
failed. The lair was overwhelming. The walls were stark white marble splashed
with fluorescent paint that glowed under the black lights of the hallway. The
floors were wall-to-wall swirling shag carpet.
Mr. Bagel knew the owner as soon as he’d seen those tie dye suits. It was the Guru.
Expansive glass panels appeared now and then, revealing panoramic views of the ocean floor. Through one of the windows Mr. Bagel spotted a massive rift in the ocean floor, gently burping sulfuric fumes. Giant, spindly crabs scuttled around it like mendicants. Hell of a location, he thought.
Guard C held up a hand and the procession stopped. Mr. Bagel was hustled to the front and shoved into a wide-open room. The ceiling must have been at least fifty feet high. Marble statues, dressed as if for a 1960s-themed costume party, littered the floor. This room, as opposed to the hallways, was completely white, no psychedelic colors – apart from the statues’ attire. At the center of the room were two chairs.
One was occupied by a slight man with a thin, oily mustache and soul patch. His hair was cut short and balding. Over his tiny eyes rested purple-tinted John Lennon sunglasses. He wore an amused expression.
“Mr. Bagel,” said the Guru. His lisp transformed Mr. to "mithter" as he spoke. “You're not looking very fresh.”
Itsa sauntered up to the Guru, placing a kiss on his shining pate. She stood beside him, looking sexily into Mr. Bagel’s eyes.
“Guru,” said Mr. Bagel. Guard C raised his gun and slammed it into whatever is the bagel equivalent of a solar plexus.
“Do not blame Guard C for his roughness,” said the Guru. “Those were my orders. Come, sit.”
With a wave of his arm, the marble ceiling split down the center. The two giant slabs peeled back, revealing above them a tank of roiling creatures, darting against the falling orb of the moon. Their amorphous bodies glowed almost entirely a rich, bioluminescent blue, broken only by scores of tiny blinking red orbs, their eyes Mr. Bagel suspected.
The guards stripped Mr. Bagel to his boxer briefs, relieving him of his weapons -- even the remote to his car.
“Now that you are bereft of your annoying devices,” lisped the Guru. “I will begin. First, Mr. Bagel. Have a seat.”
Guard C shoved Mr. Bagel into the seat across from the Guru. Mr. Bagel winced.
“Second, those are squids. But they are not ordinary squids, as you most likely suspect. Each of them, and there are hundreds, is implanted with a sonic bomb. Perhaps you noticed the rift outside?”
With another wave of his arm, the right wall divided, revealing a monstrous window looking out upon the rift. A tired smile appeared on the guru’s face.
“That is a fault line, Mr. Bagel: a division point in the tectonic plates that make up the crust of our planet. The doorway, if you will, to the center of the earth.”
Mr. Bagel covertly tested the strength of the cuffs. Their fluffy appearance belied an incredible strength. The guru wasn’t taking any chances. Luckily, neither was Mr. Bagel.
“You see, Mr. Bagel. I have trained my squids carefully through starvation and electroshock to do my bidding. The blue you see? I have suffused them with fluid, ultrahard polycarbons, which will allow them to reach depths beyond anything achieved by man.”
The Guru was really lacing into it. Mr. Bagel was bored. He’d heard this before, the glorious reveal of the plan. The appeal, by these stunted men, to be recognized as the geniuses they believed they were. The Guru continued.
“If a single squid is allowed out of that cage," he pointed upward. "It will dive deep into the continental divide," he pointed out the window. "and pshhhhhh." He made an explosion motion with his hands to match the lisped explosion sound. "The shockwave is tuned to the resonant frequency of planet earth. Meaning, Mr. Bagel, our very planet will begin to vibrate so violently that every volcano, supervolcano, fissure vent, lava dome &c. &c. will explode simultaneously, covering the earth in magma.”
At this, Itsa’s eyes opened wide.
“You bastard!” she screamed. With another flick of the Guru's hand, guards seized and cuffed her. “You monster!”
“Apologies, Itsa,” said the Guru, still gazing into Mr. Bagels eyes. “But your family will not be spared.“
The guards produced a new chair and shoved Itsa into it. She struggled to get up and was quickly knocked back by Guard C’s hot-pink gun butt.
Everything bagel. Alpha and Omega.
“What do you want?” Mr. Bagel cut in. Guard C raised his gun to strike, but the Guru waved him off.
“What do I want?” said the Guru.
“Yes,” said Mr. Bagel. “Why tell me all this?”
“I want a fresh start,” said the Guru. “A clean slate.” The Guru stood and walked over to Mr. Bagel. He stroked his crusty dome as if he were a pet.
“Then why are you here? I hear you asking. It’s simple, really. I want you to be a part of it. You’re a vital piece in my new world. I will remake earth in the image of our glory days, Mr. Bagel, both yours and mine.”
“The ‘60s,” said Mr. Bagel. The Guru nodded.
“We, in this base,” said the Guru. “Are the only ones who are safe. Prepare for the celebration.” With a tittering laugh, the guru departed. The guards immediately set to work, pulling out party favors and beanbag chairs. One group began assembling a verisimilitude-lacking light-up dance floor.
Itsa had begun to cry. Mr. Bagel looked around nonchalantly, taking in the preparations and fiddling with his cuffs. When the guards had dispersed to a more manageable distance, Mr. Bagel spoke to Itsa.
“Itsa,” Mr Bagel whispered. She looked up, mascara blackening her smooth cheeks.
“How’s your singing voice?”
“What?” said Itsa.
“Your singing voice,” said Mr. Bagel. “how is it?”
“I was trained in the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow,” she said sounding insulted. "I am the pride of Romania."
“Good,” said Mr. Bagel, nodding upward at the glass, behind which roiled the squids. “Perhaps you can give a demonstration.”
Comprehension dawned on Itsa, and she smiled. Without hesitation she threw her head back and let out a high, pure note. The pitch wrenched the air, exploding from her throat as if from un-lubricated heavy machinery.
The giant windows began to hum. Henchmen stopped what they were doing and clawed at their ears. Her screaming pitch caromed off the walls and intensified with every second. It was deafening.
“Stop her,” the Guru yelled, barely audible over the keening pitch. Guard C sprinted from behind and covered Itsa’s mouth. The glass hummed for a second and then stopped. Everything was silent.
The Guru let out a snort. “A very nice effort, but—“
From above came a high crackle. Then another from beside them. In every window spider webs were blooming.
“Close the blast shields!” The Guru shouted, before the glass exploded inward.
Itsa and Mr. Bagel ran.
From above, a hail of squids flopped down upon the assembled masses. Water poured in from all sides. Mr. Bagel and Itsa dodged ravenous tentacles and beaks as they slogged for the door.
“Where?” said Itsa, panting as she ran.
“To the car!” said Mr. Bagel. He wriggled his hands. Damn those fluffy cuffs.
“But you don’t have the keys.”
“Baby, what century do you think this is?”
Mr. Bagel let Itsa lead. Water slowly rose around their feet making the shag even more treacherous.
Indeed, out the windows they could see the thick metal wall of the blast shields inexorably closing. Soon, the entire place would be encased in an impenetrable black lit shell. They wound through the hallways as the water continued to rise.
“Here,” Itsa said at last, turning through a doorway. Inside, was Mr. Bagel’s car. Unfortunately, standing before it, hot-pink AK-47 raised, was Guard C.
To Be Continued…