Bring In The Backup

"I don't want to go down there, Sam. I don't have my good flashlight," said the older man, as he adjusted the collar on his dingy IVF Sewer Maintenance uniform.

"But that's what we do, isn't it Wade? We investigate and fix sewer problems?" asked the young man, as he checked his large ultra bright tactical flashlight.

"Yeah... I just do it the easy way instead of acting like Indiana Jones," grumbled Wade.

"This is the easy way. We go down, find out what's blocking the system, fix it, then we're out," replied Sam, as he gazed out at the deserted suburban neighborhood.

"See, that's where you're wrong. The easy way is to try to do it from up above, and if we can't we call in backup. Then they go down," Wade explained proudly, as if it was a major accomplishment.

"I know... I've been watching you for two months, remember? Ever since my old partner... anyway, I overheard the big bosses talking the other day. They said that if you use backup one more time this month, they're going to let you go," whispered Sam, despite the fact that they were the only two people in sight.

"Let me go?!?! I've only got fourteen more months before I retire with a full pension!" Wade stormed.

"That's why they want an excuse to fire you. Mr. Carte said it would mean more money to upgrade equipment if they didn't have to worry about paying an old man to sit around on the beach all day," Sam replied.

"Then I guess since we can't fix it from up here, I better get my light," Wade said angrily.

He strode over to the beat up van, and threw the cheap lightweight flashlight in. It hit the far side with a satisfying crack, then bounced off and smacked him square in the nose.

Swearing, the older man dug around in the metal toolbox, and found his large heavy light, which could illuminate a tunnel as if he were standing under the noonday sun.

"Ready to get your hands dirty, kid?" Wade asked as he pried open a manhole cover.

"Always," replied Sam with a grin.

About 75 feet down the wet, slimy tunnel, Wade stopped.

"I've never seen anything like that... Sam, are you seeing this?" Wade asked in amazement.

"If you mean the glowing green rocks blocking our way, they're impossible to miss!" Sam exclaimed.

"This is like one of those trick or treat fun-houses, the type teenagers set up to earn a few extra dollars. I bet that's what it is," Wade said nervously.

"Why would anyone decorate a sewer?" Sam asked curiously.

"They plan on bringing kids down here, and the tour guide will be dressed up like a wizard. He'll shout 'abracadabra' and the rocks will come rolling out, then some other people will jump out dressed like monsters," Wade said, sweating from fear.

"I never would have thought of that," Sam replied casually, as he leaned against a particularly clean section of the tunnel.

"That has to be it... Sam, things like that just don't exist," insisted Wade.

"Well, let's just see what's in back of those rocks, shall we?" Sam asked, grinning from ear to ear.

"I'm not touching them, they might be toxic," argued Wade.

"Maybe you don't have to. What was it you said? Oh yeah, that they move on their own if you just say the magic word," he said, with a low chuckle.

"What's going on here?!?!" Wade demanded, as he began to back up slowly.

"You tell me, you're the expert, aren't you?" Sam asked, still grinning.

"I've never even heard of anything like this," Wade replied, still edging away.

"Let's find out if you were right about the magic word," said Sam, as he walked over to the glowing rocks. "Abracadabra!" he said, with a flourish of his hand.

Nothing happened.

"Maybe there's another way?" Sam mused, as he pulled out one of the rocks. He rubbed it, and it dissolved into a thick green smoke.

The smoke moved incredibly fast, and was soon surrounding Wade's head. He coughed a little, then grinned.

"Let's wait until next month to fix this, then we can bring in the backup..." suggested Wade, as he walked over for a closer look at the wall of rocks, which now appeared to be a normal grey.

Cover image made in Canva using their gallery

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