OK, Mark, your turn to reference…

The Lost Sea!  In Tennessee!  Got me on that one…  But notice of course all the man-made lighting there, while we still wonder what is lighting up the joint they are in… And all the years of Caving have brought Carina to the conclusion that they are up against a sheer cliff wall…

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Surely this lake isn’t surrounded by walls… says mark… well, it probably is, and stop calling me Shirley…

For once Gabe is keeping his pie-hole shut… that’s a relief!

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Save for the cave Piranha…

So yea… Relax, Gabe… sheesh!  I am sure that those fish swimming about are mere goldfish with glassy/ zombie eyes!  I am sure they don’t mean you any harm…  And Gabe, settle down!  Everyone in the Trailverse is drip-dry…  you will be out of that “lake” and back onto dry… cave floor… in no time… but notice how Mark hedges his statement with a “shouldn’t be” rather than a “there aren’t, isn’t or won’t…”  As Mark saunters/ sallies forth, thumbs tucked in his waistband…

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As for underground lakes, there seems to plenty to choose from in the Google-verse…  But aside from access to the sun, they would all appear to be rather dark…  Not here, we continue to have all manner of lighting to keep our hero and his party from losing their way…

Wet T-shirt Contest!

Oh Gabe, you are such a Bitch!  Or a Bee-Otch… Or a Byotch… Mark is standing there in quiet disbelief, and you already have the whine turned up to 11…  But what could be swimming in there?  Could this be a shrimp dinner?  How long have they actually been underground, bathed in mysterious light?  Days? Hours?  There have been no transitions from one day to the next, no “I’m really tired, we should lay down for a few hours…”  As disorienting as a Las Vegas Casino- no natural light, no clocks, all sense of time and circadian rhythm removed…  Just moving from one station to the next, and rather than being sapped of all their money, this experience is sapping them of their will to live…

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Is that the equipment bag in Gabe’s right hand?  The wouldn’t make any sense considering what they all just went through, superman style.  And considering they really have no choice but to keep moving in the direction they are going, this is rapidly turning into a Journey to the Center of the Earth…  with, according to IMDB.com, had an estimated budget of $3.4 million, which would be $27 million today, unless they already apply an inflation factor…  huh.

Yes, I want to thank you…

…I would even like to thank you, but I can’t…  Ever notice how often you hear that- especially on Airplanes?  The Cabin Crew says at the end of the flight, “We’d like to thank you for flying with us…” (but we won’t… ha!) and “We know you have a choice in air travel” (well, not really given how the majors have carved up the country into hub and spoke systems…)

But yes, here we are boys and girls, safe on the other side of the bottomless pit with hope of an actual egress… Which would be nice… I think we have terrorized our cast enough for the moment…

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But what’s up with Mark’s head in the final panel?  All smooshed and misshapen…  same thing, I suppose, as what’s happened to Carina’s backside, but then we are used to having her shape-shift as she makes her way through the cave…

Safe!!!

Well. We knew yesterday that Mark and Gabe would make it to the other side… but what we didn’t know yesterday is that Gabe would grow another finger on his hand!  Check it out!  With his opposable thumb wrapped around the Trail upper arm, it sure looks like he has an extra digit!  Sort of like Count Tyrone Rugen from the Princess Princess Bride… “Excuse me, but you wouldn’t happen to have six fingers on each hand, would you??  My name is Inigo Montoya… you killed my father… prepare to die…”

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But I digress…  like I usually do.  We have been in this cave since February 1 and in the desert since December 2… Which means that we have been “following” this story for about 4 months now…  yikes.  Recall Mean Time to Lost Forest (MTLF- Time to open and wrap up a story arc) would be around 75 days… so if it seems like these James Allen story lines move a bit more slowly, it’s not your imagination…  But then we also have been introduced to a much more heroic, indomitable and indestructible Mark Trail- I think faithful reader George Atkins has it right:

Egad! I think you’ve uncovered the secret to Mark Trail: He really IS Superman. His alter ego is Mark Trail, which explains why Mark never gets seriously hurt, why his hair is always in place, why he can exhibit extraordinary powers when called upon (like today). Cherry is really Lois Lane, Superman’s chaste love interest. Rusty is Jimmy Olson, always getting into trouble and having to be saved. Doc is Mr. White, of course.

Batman vs. Superman??

Ha!  No way!  It’s Batman vs. Mark Trail!  As Mark takes on all properties of the Man of Steel, including an apparent ability to defy gravity and re-write history, our Superman launches himself across the divide, which would be hard enough to clear on his own, let alone lifting and driving a full grown, calorie infused adult to the other side… and will do so with relative ease…

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Try, Mark?  Try?  In the words of Yoda, there is no try… only do… But what’s a few broken ribs between would be friends??

It’s almost like they are one…

That’s right, Gabe.  Three’s a crowd, dude.  With Mark and Carina communicating telepathically, you are totally expendable now.

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And why are we suddenly playing the internal monologues?  As Gabe calls out to Mark… Carina generates her “sultry” look, Mark has his “wide-eyed wonderment” look and Gabe rattles in place… Seems that the aftershock is concentrated on the flimsy rock bridge.   Remember, kids, how Mark assured Gabe that everything would be all right…  Ha!  Not so much.  Will we really let this poor chiropterologist fall to a dark and unrecoverable death?  Or is there a magic ledge that he will find himself perched upon?  Doing my best to manufacture some concern here… but it’s not easy.