I think I am probably the first fellow to fall right through the planet and out the other side. What an achievement! I think this might be a Guinness Book of Records record. I wonder if I will get a certificate and if my name will appear in in the Guinness Book of Records book. At home, I have got a copy of the book of Guinness Book of Records book for 1996. I shall check when I get back to see if my name has appeared in it - in the "falling through stuff" section, probably. Ha, take that Kevin!
I am referring to my friend Kevin, who is a dirty big fat head because he has three Guinness Book of Records records, or so he says.
One is for being able to jump up to the moon. He says that jumping up to the moon was easy, but jumping back down again was hard, because you have to bend your knees properly when you land. Another one is for growing the biggest carrot. Kevin reckons that it is five miles long, and is currently floating off the coast of Norfolk where it is used as a pirate radio station. I don't know why pirates need their own radio station. I imagine it plays a lot of sea shanties. The third record concerns an unspecified incident with a wheelbarrow, that Kevin said he can't go into for reasons of national security.
Anyway, we had a look at his certificates, and they were all done in crayon, so either Kevin made them all up himself or the Guinness Book of Records has really gone downhill in recent years.
There is nothing like hurtling through the dark, dank depths of the Earth to make you contemplate your life choices. I was certainly in a reflective mood as I plummeted through the centre of the planet. How had it come to this, I asked myself? Maybe if I had taken technical drawing at school, instead of advanced cake welding, I would never have found myself in this pickle. Maybe I should never have set out to recover my missing sandwich. Oh sure, it had meant I had got to travel and had seen some extraordinary things. If I had stayed in the house, I would never have seen that pirate dog wearing the jetpack, Greenland's second-biggest pair of underpants and the man who could do an impression of a spoon. I had certainly seen a lot of the world - even from the inside. They say that travel broadens the mind - they do, you know, I've heard them say it - but I think my head was probably big enough already. I was starting to think that it was time I went home. I couldn't keep going forever, not with my dodgy knees and debilitating inability to recognise the smell of asphalt. It was time to retire from sandwich hunting.
Suddenly there was a blinding glare as I shot out of the other side of the planet. There was a man wearing a hat festooned with corkscrews, a tin of Fosters in one hand, his didgeridoo in the other and with a billabong strapped to his jumbuck. "G'day cobbler," he said as I hurtled past him and up into the sky. I do love a national stereotype. I went up, up, uppity-up-up, then gravity caught up with me and I began to fall back down. "No worries, mate," said the man as I plunged past him and back into the hole.
I am still falling down this hole. It is, as I knew when I first jumped in, a very deep hole, and so I am resigned to being here for some time. I struck a match so that I could examine the various rock strata as I passed them. I had already gone past all the building foundations and tree roots, then past a layer composed entirely of old Atari cartridges. I had passed Viking longboats, Roman ruins, megalithic dwellings and what appeared to be a crashed flying saucer. There were a lot of fossilised bones at one point. I couldn't quite make them all out because I had picked up quite a bit of speed by now, but I thought I saw something that looked like it had four heads, something else that appeared to be a giant rabbit with wings and also a thing with an incredibly long neck and tiny legs, which looked quite comical but would probably chomp your head off if you laughed at it.
Then, after all that, it was just rocks, rocks and more rocks for a long time, then some sort of honeycomb stuff. I reached out a finger to taste it and it was quite yummy. I felt I must be nearing the core of the planet by this time, because I passed through a layer of fudge, then suddenly I encountered a region that was quite gooey and tasted of strawberry fondant. Aha! Just as I had always thought - the Earth had a soft centre.
After this my match blew out. I couldn't see a thing, but it all smelled very strongly of coconut.
I don't know whether you have ever, on a whim, jumped into a big, dark, walloping great hole that passes right through to the other side of the planet, but it's an unnerving experience, I can tell you. Oh fine, it seems like a good idea at first, but then as you continue to plummet down, down, down into the depths of the Earth, you start to seriously question the life choices that have brought you to this pretty pass.
If I am entirely honest, I think it really started to go wrong for me one Tuesday in May 1989 when I went into a department store and bought a pair of brown corduroy trousers. I never wore those trousers, I hasten to point out. They remained in my wardrobe for twenty years, never having seen the light of day, until one day in 2009 when I was the victim of a heartless trouser thief. Oh yes. I was out having fun at the adventure playground, when unbeknownst to me this trouser fiend broke into my house had had it away with every trouser I owned. Well, I reported the theft, obviously, but the police didn't seem to hold out much hope of recovering my stolen clothing. And my trousers were not insured against theft - only fire and flood - so I had no option but to go around town in my pyjama bottoms for months afterwards.
You're probably wondering how a trouser theft could possibly have led to this point in my life. Well, I'm not entirely sure, but I can't help but feel that there is some connection - perhaps some species of curse? Alternatively, I might just be thinking these thoughts because I am plummeting through the darkness and the wind whistling past my ears is making my brains go funny.
Mr Pipsqueak is still boring me about digging his hole. In fact, you could say that he is boring me about boring! Because boring has two meanings, doesn't it? It can mean... look, I don't have to explain this to you. Let's just agree that it was great joke and leave it at that. One thing that I learn is that the hole is now finished. There's just a bit of tidying up to do, clearing away the last of the rubble, putting a nice fence around it, planting a few flowers and that sort of thing.
"I think this could be a huge tourist destination," said Mr Pipsqueak. "One that could easily rival Las Vegas, Disney World or even the British Lawnmower Museum in Southport. Come outside, and I'll show you what we have planned."
We stepped outside and he pointed out various areas of the site. "Obviously, when you have a hole like that, it would be criminal to ignore the bungee-jumping possibilities. There are some fierce updraughts as well, so parascending is certainly on the cards. Over there is the perfect site for a gift shop. Here, I'm thinking of a few rides, including a rollercoaster around the rim. A visitor centre here - incorporating another gift shop - telling the story of this engineering marvel and the genius who created it. On this side, I feel we should have another gift shop. Car park over there. Not sure what to do with this area here."
"Gift shop?" I suggested.
"Brilliant," he replied.
Suddenly I heard a shout of alarm. It was the security guard who had let me in. "That's him!" he shouted. "He said he'd come to read the gas meter, but we're all electric."
Well, reader, I panicked, didn't I? With nowhere else to go, I hurtled forward and jumped straight down the hole.
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of the Bleeding Obvious
All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2022, and may not be reproduced without the express permission of the author. All characters, companies and organisations are fictitious, and any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.
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