Monday, May 16, 2016

Juggernaught: Chapter1 - Walt

They say reds and oranges are considered "warm" colors, and blues and whites are considered "cool".  Just look at any faucet if you don't believe me.  Turns out though, blue and white flames are much, much hotter than red ones.

Walt Blevens had plenty of time to contemplate this thought as the blue/white flames billowed around him, propelling him thirty feet in the air on a geyser of liquid fire. 

Even the solid cast iron manhole cover upon which he crouched started to glow with a dull red deep within.  It was a precarious teetering act, which, if he lost his balance now, would send him headlong into the inferno below.

"Ville de Paris", and "Gaz", it read in raised metal letters.

"No foolin'", he muttered.

The soles of his shoes began to smoke and melt.

Walt tried to think back to the exact point where things started to go wrong.
  • Turns out that the craft material, 'plaster of paris', actually did originate in Paris, or, more accurately, under Paris.
  • Turns out the French capital is built over a mind-bending 3D maze of caverns and tunnels -- mostly gypsum mines used for plaster as well as natural caves, war bunkers, utility tunnels, and a dozen other nooks and crannies.
  • Turns out it's also a great place for counterfeiters to hide.  (Like, for instance, the ones he and his friends had been tailing.)
  • Turns out also that these particular criminals had rigged their operation to blow to get rid of all evidence in the instance they were caught. 

Which they were. 

And it did.

An inconveniently-placed natural gas artery, however, added an all new level of fun for those involved.

Yeah, that was it.  Walt decided.  Just another of life's little surprises.

He didn't know how many more of those he could take.

At that moment, somewhere deep within the labyrinth of gas pipes crisscrossing the city underground, an electronic flow meter finally got the hint that far too much fuel was escaping.  A central computer back at the gas company headquarters was notified, and concurred.  After duly creating and filing a service ticket with the repair department, it also decided to take care of the whole "city in flames" issue and close down the emergency valves to that section of town.

The roaring flames and their thrust disappeared instantly, sending Walt plummeting two stories without warning.

There he lit, making a human-shaped indent in the heat-softened tar of the Rue du Louvre.

Uneven cooling forced fissures to open up in the blacktop like a sun-parched desert floor.  Underlayers sill glowed a molten red as if a demon from Hell was trying to claw its way through to the world of men.

This didn't deter Walt's friends who charged forward to his aid. 

At least that's who he identified the approaching shoes as.

Shoes.  He thought.  That's it.  I shoulda stayed in shoes.

Then he blacked out.

The preceding has been a chapter from Juggernaught: A Moast Unusual Bible Study
(Copyright 2016, Edmund Lloyd Fletcher.)

For more on this story, please visit its main page.

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