TALE EIGHT
What's The Deal With The Bermuda Triangle

    Okay everyone knows about the Bermuda Triangle, that's a given.  You've seen it on reruns of In Search Of with Leonard Nemoy.  They even tried to explain it in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Though Graves has since proven that Devil's Tower wasn't a cosmic landing strip but rather an ancient radio antenna used by the American Indians to contact people in Egypt).  Because of this nobody truly seems to know what is truly happening out there.
    Well one monday Graves was sitting at his desk figuring out the mathematical relationship between China's population growth and the Greenhouse Effect when he posed an amazing question.  "What's the deal with the Bermuda Triangle?"
    I was playing a game of pool with Doctor Nagasaki Chen in the Professors office.  I have concluded that this is not a fun thing to do because he is a mathematical genius and has the annoying ability to figure out how to make all of the balls go in at once. This kind of takes the challenge out of the whole thing.  That was why I perked up at hearing Graves' exclamation.  "Well," I said "It's quite simple.  There's a guy who lives underwater with this huge magnet and he collects boats and planes."
    I was just kidding but Graves doing some quick figuring in his head told me that this man would need a fission reactor the size of Pahrump, Nevada to power this magnet and presently only one was in existence today.  He added that it is being used to cause major earthquakes in California (As well as create excellent surf conditions).
    Doctor Chen, having sunk all of the balls using hexadecimal geometry joined us in the conversation.  "It is obvious to me that this person is using Reflex Enhanced Gravitational Anomaly Wave Generation to ensnare boats slash planes slash surfers and take them to wherever he is based at."
    Graves accepted Chen's idea as a possibility but also told him that there were four things that had to be proven before it could be published in the Civilized Journal of Unusual Scientific Phenomenon.  Although Graves went into great depth in explaining these four points I have summarized them for those of you who don't have masters degrees in obscure scientific fields:

    I found all of these reasons as quite understandable.  Of course I would have liked to have had the artifact in reason number two back in Tale number two.  Of course one can't change the past so I should stop my whining.
    With that Graves opened up a huge map with a huge fluorescent yellow triangle marking the area known as . . . well . . . the Bermuda Triangle.  He spoke to us using his astounding powers of knowledge and reasoning.  "Somewhere out there is the answer to our questions."  See what I mean.
    Graves opened the cabinet I mentioned in the tale "Day of the Dead Dudes" and activated the hyper-mega, trans-universal radio to notify the people he wanted to join him on this adventure.  He spoke into the speaker (Which is why they call it a speaker I think) and told them that they were going to find out what's the deal with the Bermuda Triangle.
    Now I'm going to do that thing that involves showing what those people experienced when Graves called them.  As I've explained previously this involves interviewing them, making several educated deductions/guesses, and a small amount of scientific fictionalizing.  These testimonials may or may not be true but seeing as that I am the writer I can do whatever I bloody want.
 LARRY "BULLSHIT" HAYNES

    I was in Portland, Maine in a restaurant called Al's eating a bowl of Al's World Famous Universally Renown Atomic Flamethrower Chili From Hell.  Sitting next to me was a vastly overweight woman wearing an even larger coat.  I made the guess that she was overweight because she was to ugly to be pregnant.
    Have you ever met a person who is apparently both broke and crazy but wears enough jewelry that she could sell at a pawn shop and be able to buy a medium Domino's pizza with extra cheese and anchovies?  Well this chick was one of those people.
    Well here this chick was, pouring about eight pounds of sugar into a cup of coffee that she has successfully been able to spill on the counter.  While doing this she was toying with the 33 cents in change scattered about the counter trying to chain-smoke the filters that filled the ashtray in front of her.  As she accomplished these amazing feats she suddenly says "I wish I was rich."  Then this chick looks at me and asks, "Are you rich, you look rich?"
    Okay I'll have to admit it, I'm not bad looking but at that moment I wasn't at my best.  I hadn't shaved in a week and I had just got a really bad haircut from this buffed babe at the Hair Exchange (which is why I didn't complain).  So it was obvious to me that fat, broke, crazy chicks from Maine have no idea what a rich person looks like.
    Now being an ex-Army sergeant I follow a saying that I picked up from this Saigon mama-san back in Vietnam circa 1970 right after I paid her to show me some exotic back rub that was known by the number 360.  This whore (if you want to use her business title) said "Don't talk to bum or he never shut up."
    Unfortunately this chick didn't need an answer, which has enabled me to fundamentally sum up the fact that vagrants are very poor conversationalists.  She says, "Do you know anything I can get here for thirty three cents, like some of those 25 cent chips?"  As you can see they ask questions that they can answer.  Because of this innate ability they eliminate the need for a second person.
    It was then that my pocket pager started beeping.  I can safely say that the bum lady was saved by this because if it hadn't gone off I would have shoved her head into the smoldering butts. This act, however necessary, would have caused grave damage to her face and forever destroying all hopes of an acting career.  The pager said "We're going to find out what's the deal with the Bermuda Triangle."
    Putting the pager away I was asked another question by the bum lady, "How's the chili?"  Knowing that I would on a plane to Bermuda in approximately forty one minutes I gave her a reply. "This is Al's World Famous Universally Renown Atomic Flamethrower Chili From Hell . . . people in France know about it."  She looked confused and said, "Oh!  I didn't."  I asked her if she read Spin magazine and she said no.  I then said, "That's why."  With that I paid my bill and headed for the door.  Unfortunately as I was leaving she said that the Bermuda Triangle is caused by somebody using reflex enhanced gravitational anomaly wave generation to ensnare boats, planes and surfers and takes them to wherever that person is based.
    "Bullshit!"

PROFESSOR VINCE HOZLER

    It was a Saturday morning and the last cartoon had just gone off the air.  Normally at this point I kick back and engage in recreational type activities.  Do you think it would turn out that way . . . no!  This is one of the harmful side effects of being a friend of Aarron Graves.  Take this for example.  One Saturday I was playing Jai Ali in my back yard with my neighbor Raoul Chinga and I had him really chasing it to where I knew I was going to dog him.  Then what happens?  Exactly!  Graves landed his personal helicopter in my pool, which may I add isn't modified for helo landings.  He then stepped out smiling and said "Hey Hozehead, want to take a trip to Greece and see if they really found the Colossus of Rhodes or if it's another one of those 350 ton replicas that they sell downtown?"
    Well because of this distraction Raoul nailed me in the head with the ball, which may I add is the whole point of the game.  I slung my mitt at Graves which never hit him.  To me this was really annoying because I ended up having to fish it out of my pool (I think it's some cosmic curse).  And what for?  The whole thing about the Colossus was a hoax and the only thing I got out of it was a huge hangover from drinking those manly 20 ounce Heinekin's. Well that and several serious cuts and bruises after falling down three flights of stairs at the Hotel Kaprioti.
    Well this Saturday I was in my back yard giving my hedges custom designed Hozler Hedge Haircuts (they're patented) and all of a sudden that beeper that Graves uses to contact me went off.  This distraction caused me to give my hedge a mohawk and throw my shears into my neighbor Mrs. Lipsucker's bay window while she was sitting in her kitchen feeding her hundred plus cats.  It's a sad life that she lives but probably safer.
    I remember Once I played a cruel trick on her to force her to get out and find a life.  You see I starved a pit bull for about two weeks.  At the same time I got a cat addicted to tuna oil.  Then I removed all food from the cats diet taunting it with tuna oil.  Finally I dunked a pit bull in tuna oil and dropped it in her back yard.  Well in reality it was more of a scientific experiment than a cruel trick.  I was trying to see if starvation coupled with inbred food addiction overcomes sheer animal terror.  This may I add was proven true due to the fact that the cat kept trying to lick the dog while it was steadily being dismembered.
    The beeper said, "We're going to find out what's the deal with the Bermuda Triangle."  Translated from Graves' subliminal wording meant, "We're going to the Bermuda Triangle so you can get killed." I thought this over for a minute and came to the conclusion that if I was going to die I'd rather it be in Bermuda surrounded by unbelievably gorgeous babes than in the Amazon surrounded by cannibalistic natives.  Oh I may add, with small avian reptile bones stuck through their noses and stirring a huge cauldron with my name painted on the side in blindingly huge letters.  So I left for the Professors office before the surviving cats took their revenge on me.

 MERCEDES CHANCE

    I was in Paris at a fashion show modelling for Marrisa Cherborg a renown clothing designer.  On the runway I was modeling a red and black dress with a huge hoop in it.  Have you ever noticed that most of the so called "fashion experts" in the universe are extremely ugly?  Well I have.  In fact over the years that I have been modelling I have come to a scary conclusion that the people who decide what fashions we are going to wear have no taste in clothes.  It is due to these conclusions that I merely model them not design them; I am no fashion expert.
    Another conclusion that I have made (and I can because I work in the field) is that most of the clothes we wear at the shows are never worn in public except in movies and on Dynasty.  Of course these are also just ways of escaping reality.  It is ironic that fashion "experts" are always suffering from anorexia, AIDS, and suicide.  These problems cause them to seek professional help which greatly helps me keep my practice going.
    After the show I was in the dressing room changing and Marrisa came in to congratulate us.  Now I had only been working for her for a week but I had already heard the rumors that she was a practicing lesbian.  On my list of Top Ten Psychologically Screwed Up People, lesbians rank second only to gun control people.  I have studied these psychoses and concluded that lesbians are formed from one of three causes.  [1] They experience something that turns them away from men [2] They've spent so much time with women that they can't come to grips with men, or [3] They like it.
    Being well versed in the field of psychology I could tell that she was looking for some fresh . . . well you know it rhymes with punt.  The unfortunate thing for her was that she was looking at me.  Now I'll be blunt, I like guys . . . period, and I can't deal with women who don't.  Once I had a college athletics coach who was a dyke and made a pass at me; needless to say she is now disabled and collecting Social Security.
    Now I've never considered myself pathologically cruel or subliminally masculine.  Sure I'm into Karate, guns, and weight lifting and enjoy movies like Reform School Girls, but for some reason I attract lesbians.  I'm like some kind of twisted human dyke magnet.  In analyzing this sick phenomenon I've concluded that gay women are attracted by that sort of thing; some kind of post-subliminal male projection thing.  Graves has theorized the types of non-magnetic magnets in the world that make our lives miserable. Along with dyke magnets there are:

DUST/DIRT MAGNETS
Where non-static objects attract  particles of dust.  These type of natural magnets most often  occur in children.  Science has no explanation.
DUDE/CHICK MAGNETS
Where women/men seem to attract flocks of  members of their opposite sex.
MAGNETIC PERSONALITIES
Where other people are uncontrollably attracted to you and would follow you to  their death.
PSYCHO MAGNETS
Where people attract crazy people who most often try to kill you or turn you into furniture.
LOADSTONES
People who attract really bad luck.
FAG MAGNETS
Guys who attract gay dudes.  The male version of a dyke magnet.

   He believes that it involves a strange mutation of catalytic hormones caused by fluoridation of the water.  I think that it's just a huge coincidence.  Marrisa asked me if I would like to talk my career over with her at dinner.  I politely turned her down saying that if she ever came on to me again I would Uzi her down in the street like a stray dog.  This is one of the reasons I am often not employed for long.  Suddenly the receiver disguised as a bracelet that Graves gave me started beeping.  The voice of Graves then says, "We're going to find out what's the deal with the Bermuda Triangle."  This is the other reason.

    Now that I have shown you the experiences of the other participants in this adventure it's time to get back to the story.
    Graves, Chen, and I were pouring through dozens of books on the Bermuda Triangle (Graves has the second hugest private library in the solar system) when Hozler stormed into the office.  I happened to notice that large quantities of static electricity that had discharged from his overly moused hair (not a good sign).
    "Graves!  Can't a dude even have a peaceful weekend?  No!  I guess that's just a bit too much to ask for! It's not like I'm asking for a years paid vacation on a small Pacific island with a million dollars spending money, six babes who had posed in Penthouse and a years supply of Dos Eques beer, with may I add, tequila shots on the side! Graves! Are you listening to me Aarron? No!  It's like talking to a Z-Brick wall . . . man I wish that I had taken that job at Texas A & M instead of working for a PSYCHO DUDE WHO IS BENT ON KILLING ME!"
    At that point Hozler's eyebrows shot up to his hairline and his eye began to twitch (this always happens when Hozler talks to Graves).  The Professor looked up from the book he was reading and told Vince to have a seat that he'd get his vacation next year.
    "Okay Aarron. What's going down," asked Hozler?
    "Trying to locate the Bermuda Triangle Vince . . . like talking to a Z-Brick wall?  Not a bad analogy in the heat of argumentive passion," replied Graves.
    "It just came to me," Hozler finished.
    In all of the time that I've known Vince Hozler I've noticed some of his good and bad traits.  I've listed some of the larger ones below:

GOOD
 A REALLY SMART GUY WHO KNOWS MORE THAN I DO
 A FASHION STATEMENT/RISK WITH HAIRCUTS
 A GOOD GUITARIST (IN A HEAVY METAL SORT OF WAY)
BAD
 A CLASS FOUR WHINER

    Unfortunately it's this bad trait that seems to annoy me in the greatest sort of way (number seven on my list of top ten peeves).  It seems that Hozler likes to whine about anything. Anything!  Of course he had a point about the psycho dude [Graves] being bent on killing us (which is one of Graves' bad traits).  But Hozler also bitches about trivial things like the cost of Bazooka Joe gum or the tint of sunglasses.
    Graves was satisfied that he now had our attention told us that Chance and "Bullshit" were going to meet us in Bermuda unless their planes were trapped.  He said that we'd fly in the private jet that just happened to be warming up right now.  Once in Bermuda we'd start looking for the source of the problem.  That's when he turned it over to Chen.
    Nagasaki continued, "I have discovered that in 1979 a freighter that based a pirate radio station was lost in the Triangle after trying to evade FCC agents.  Basing my theory on this I've discovered that this ship is still broadcasting Led Zeppelin on continuous 8-Track looping.  This station used to transmit on frequency 92.73 but due to the diffraction of radio waves caused by being under water it can only be picked up in the 200 kilohertz range.  Of course in my astounding genius I have designed a receiver to pick up these transmissions.  It will do so even under 9000 fathoms of water in a lead-sealed vault with cross-directional jamming present."
    "Cool Chen! I hope you got some good speakers with it.  Zeppelin rules the planet!"
    That was Hozler who said that.  I may not have mentioned it before but Chen has a very high opinion of himself.  Well to be blunt he has an ego as big as the Soviet Union.  It has been said that Chen is a genius but not the funniest guy at a party.  I consider it quite ironic that Graves and him get along real well.
    The plane was warming up but what I failed to realize was that the plane was warming up on the roof of the building.  As I have said previously this is a strange building.  It is thirteen stories tall and it is exceptionally long.  It was when we went to the roof that I realized why.  I'm sure you have all seen an aircraft carrier (unless you are one of the 11 people in the galaxy who hasn't seen Top Gun) so when I say that the roof looked just like one you'll have an idea what I'm talking about.  It looked just like an aircraft carrier.
    Waiting for us was Graves' private Lear jet.  Okay I'll say it now, I was scared of the idea of taking off from the top of a building in the middle of the business district.  Of course I was more scared at the thought of Hozler flying the plane.  Picture this if you will: Giving Hozler a plane is like giving Charles Manson a knife and permission to kill anyone he wanted.  Either that or making Dan Quayle leader of the free world . . . not a pretty sight is it?  Another odd thought that passed through my mind as I stepped into the plane was that there I was heading into the Bermuda Triangle to find out why planes/boats/surfers were vanishing riding one of said strange phenomenon's favorite victims . . . innocent unsuspecting private planes that few people would miss.  Odd that I would mention this fact.
    Odd because at the very same moment I was having peptic ulcers over my fate the Delta Airlines flight that Chance was flying on, and the United Airlines flight that "Bullshit" were flying on simultaneously vanished from the radars.  Here's what happened on these planes:

DELTA FLIGHT 1477 FROM PARIS
    "More Eagle Snacks, Miss?"
    "No."
    "Check out that light!"
    "ARGH!"

UNITED FLIGHT 989 FROM PORTLAND, MAINE
    "More Eagle Snacks, sir?"
    "No. More beer."
    "Check out that light!"
    "ARGH!"

    Fortunately these events didn't happen to us.  Graves would later say that it involved the power output of the entrapping device limiting the number of vehicles it could trap at a time.  I think it was because Hozler was flying so erratically that the machine couldn't lock onto us.  Either way we landed safely in Bermuda . . . well that is to say we landed without us all dying in a fiery explosion that would later be blamed on terrorists.  There is an old saying that any landing they can find your body in is a good one when dealing with Hozler.
    When we got into the terminal we were greeted by a throng of press people.  Now as I have said time and time again Graves hates reporters so this was a very touchy scene to say the least.  Here we were, Graves recovering from the flight which resembled the Python ride at Busch Gardens in Florida, being inundated by poorly dressed newsmen (and women) sticking mikes, cameras, and tape recorders into his face.  Added to this was the fact that they were asking him if he had experienced anything while flying in the Triangle.  Fortunately for the press corps Chen intervened before Graves could get the Reporter Disintegration Ray Gun out of his bags.
    "Ladies and gentlemen of the press we are here as part of a scientific expedition to discover the cause of the Bermuda Triangle."
    A reporter quizzed Chen, "What do you think of the Delta flight from Paris carrying international model Mercedes Chance and the United flight from Portland, Maine, cultural hub of the universe vanishing in the Bermuda Triangle?"
    Needless to say we were stunned . . . well actually Graves was just concerned the rest of us were stunned.  Remember earlier when I told of what happened on those flights, well that was based on testimony from Chance and "Bullshit" after the adventure.  Oops!  I spoiled the story by destroying the "Oh god did they survive" suspense.  Of course you knew that they would survive anyway because you probably read the next chapter so stop whining.
    Until now I thought that the relationship Graves shared with Chance was purely business while Chance's relationship with Graves was romantic.  I discovered then that I noticed a faint fire in Graves' eye.  When I say fire I mean that look a guy gets when someone he cares for is in danger not actual flame.  I'll have to investigate this theory later.
    Graves spoke to the press which surprised even Hozler who wasn't even listening to the conversation.  "I can guarantee that by the end of this day I will have found the cause of this phenomenon and stopped it."
    "Aren't you Aarron Graves the eccentric millionaire who has been blamed for the incidents at the Vatican involving the undead and respectively banned by the Pope himself from entering Italy for the rest of your life?"
    "First Mister reporter person I could give a crap less what the Pope says to me. Second I don't care for Italy that much anyway so being banned is no loss.  Third . . . that's Professor Aarron Graves."
    "Will you recover the missing vehicles said to be trapped by the Triangle," asked a reporter?
    "I don't do requests."  With that he picked up his bags and went outside to the cab stand.
    We joined Graves and got into the cab.  Graves told the driver to take us to Lloyd and Bridges Submarine Rental Shop.  It's funny how these kind of business' are always so convenient.  Then again that's how things work in Graves' world.
    "Hey Aarron aren't we going to stop and get something to eat. I missed the Eagle Snacks because I was flying the plane."
    "No," replied Graves.
    "Come on man I'm nuclear starving. I mean my stomach cavity is as hollow as Sally Struthers' brain."
    I'll say it now so there's no confusion, Hozler was whining but then again we all were kind of hungry since we had been flying non-stop for ten hours with nothing but Eagle Snacks and flat soda (almost like a real airline except without that annoying safety brief).  Unfortunately Graves reacted pretty bad to Hozlers whining.  In fact I've only seen Graves like this two other times. One time it was because he was mad at me and the other with Mercedes (which comes later in this book).  This time it was because it involved Mercedes.
    He grabbed Hozler by his collars and said, "Would you like to stay with GDI Vince?"
    Hozehead was caught off guard, in fact I think his eyeballs kind of sucked back into his skull cavity (a tricky feat) and he said yes.  Then Graves let go of him and told him to shut up until they found Chance . . . then he could eat.  Boy was I glad that it was Hozler and not me who got yelled at.
    Eventually we arrived at Lloyd and Bridges Submarine Rental Shop (and seafood emporium).  Now I have pointed out in the previous stories that Graves seems to have contacts everywhere.  This is funny because from what I have seen Graves takes a while to get used to.  He's arrogant, aloof, egotistical, and he knows everything which makes it hard for the rest of the galaxy to talk to him.  So the conclusion that I have come to is that there are a lot of unusual people in the world.  Graves is just one of them but nobody seems to notice because everybody thinks he or she is fine. Using this data you come to the conclusion that the other people are strange.  Tricky huh?
    The guy who owned this place was named Lloyd Bridges.  I know what you are thinking.  "Gee this sounds a lot like the actor that starred in a TV show called Sea Hunt."  Well that was exactly what I was thinking as well.  Needless to say the owner saw my curiosity and told me that his parents (the Bridges') named him Lloyd after the actor that starred on the TV show Sea Hunt.  He also stated that when he opened the submarine shop he got sued for using the name.  Because of this he changed it to Lloyd and Bridges and hasn't had a problem since.
    We rented a small five man submarine at the modest price of $70,000 a day . . . okay it was not modest for people like you and me, but for Graves it wasn't much to pay for scientific discovery. Anyway we got in, Chen carrying the small but powerful receiver, and submerged.
    I'm not claustrophobic but riding in a submarine with Graves, Hozler and Chen is like being locked in a rubber room with Wes Craven, Clive Barker, and Steven King.  This time Hozler was really bothering me.  In one breath he managed to scare me, give me a fear of water, sharks, eight-tentacled sea monsters, and generally everything on the face of the earth.  Let me give you a brief capsule:
    "You know that if the power in this sub shut down we would sink to the bottom of the ocean.  As we descend the pressure of the water would increase eventually crushing this vehicle into a small metal ball.  If this doesn't kill us we would be injured enough to cause some blood loss.  This blood loss would attract the resident shark population, which may I add have been measured in sizes up to 50 feet.  If we survive the shark attack we would most likely be attacked by a large squid like the one seen in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and since the sharks had chomped off a few limbs we would be unable to escape the wrath of the squid.  If the faint chance happens that the squid is unable to eat us due to constipation we would be swallowed by one of the native carnivorous whales and sit in its stomach being slowly digested."
    Graves said that there was no such thing as carnivorous whales at all no less in the Caribbean.  Also that the initial depressurization of the sub would cause our bodies to implode sparing us the pain and suffering of a prolonged shark attack. Needless to say it didn't calm me down.
    It was after two hours of tooling around the ocean that the receiver came to life.  Blasting at about 198.3 decibels was Iron Maiden's Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner (kind of symbolic wouldn't you think).
    "We've found it!  Chen you're a genius," I exclaimed!
    Chen replied, "Yes I am but this isn't what we're looking for. It's just feedback from Hozler's Walkman.  Vince how can you listen to that stuff?"
    "Huh?"
    "He doesn't he can't hear it," I said.
    Then as clear as day it boomed out of the speakers.  It was right in the middle of the high pitch scream part in the Immigrants Song, one of Led's best.  I was optimistic though, having my hopes of escaping the sub crushed once.  But Chen saying, "This is it," replenished my spirits.
    Using some scientific technique that would take three hours to explain we pinpointed the center of the transmission and aimed the submarine towards it.
    Unfortunately it was at that moment that the mysterious ensnaring ray was activated and snagged the sub.  Remember earlier when I explained my experience flying with Hozler, well this was worse because the power went off and I suddenly recalled all of the graphically painful details of what could happen if this happened. This might give you some grasp of what went on as well.  Needless to say I was not in good shape.  Well to be blunt I nearly yelled . . . I would have yelled if it wasn't for the fact that I (and I surmise the others) blacked out.
    When I awoke I found myself locked in a jail cell with the others.  Graves was already up and staring intently at the locking mechanism on the door giving that "I thought so" look.  Hozler was propped on the wall playing air guitar (which sounds better than when he actually has one).  Chen was in a corner doing some sort of mathematical computation on the wall.  To me the whole situation appeared extremely idiotic.  I mean we were trying to find the source of the Bermuda Triangle and we ended up getting captured.  I dreaded being doomed to be labeled by the National Enquirer as held by cosmic entities as hostages until representatives of the Mohawk indian tribe come to teach them the secret of cutting hair with rocks.  Being that there are no more true Mohawks I was a little worried about our release.
    "Graves!  This is just great! We try to discover the cause of the Bermuda Triangle, and we get captured.  We haven't learned a thing," I exclaimed!
    Graves replied, "On the contrary Mister Benson, we have learned quite a few things:
 

    Once again I was wrong in my assumption of my situation.  Of course now that things had been made clear to me I was even more confused.  Then again that's the way it always happens when dealing with Graves.
    Just then a guy came to the door of the cell we were in.  This guy was dressed in a gray uniform with a skull and cross bones on his sleeve.  Great!  Captain Harlock in the flesh!  He barked at us (not literally), "Get up ye lubbers the master wants to see ye."  No I didn't spell it wrong this guy actually said "ye," and I laughed slightly at that fact.  He didn't further confirming my belief that pirates aren't any fun at parties.
    Graves asked a question of the man and I fully expected to be stabbed, maimed or at least beaten soundly.  I say this because Graves has the tendency to anger people with his questions and cause them to do those sort of things.  "Who is your master?"
    The guy didn't say a word and opened the door.  I was relieved by these mild actions to say the least.  Oh I might like to add that we were led out by gunpoint.
    Now as we walked down the hall I noticed that this place was no scientific marvel by any standards.  The walls had tiny water leaks in them, the piping was rusted and caked with salt and a lot of things looked broken.  Looking back on it now it is a wonder that the ensnaring device even worked but at the time it didn't matter.  Chen, always interested in new scientific ideas, couldn't help laughing as we walked down the hall.  He told me that all of the machinery in the place was old, as in 50 years or more.
    Finally we were led into a huge chamber that was obviously the control center of the device (my assumption was based on the fact that a sign over the door said "Control Center").  Standing in the middle of this place was an really old man, like in his 90's. Picture Rip Van Winkle after he woke up and there you have this old guy.
    He greeted us quite cordially, "Welcome to my home, would you like some tea?"
    "Yes," said Graves.
    "And something to eat like a slab of dead pig or half a cow," added Hozler.
    While we waited for the food Graves started talking to the old man.  Now it is a general observation on my part that there is some kind of unspoken language between scientific types that allows them to tell each other apart from us uneducated peasants.  Graves asked the man who he was.
    "I am Captain Fredericco Picarro of the Spanish galleon Golden Dagger lost in the Bermuda Triangle in 1548 and you?"
    "I am Professor Aarron Graves."
    "P.h.D.," shouted Hozler!
    Now you all know that old people have a tendency to ramble, right.  Well Graves is able to understand this rambling so between the two of them it was a very confusing conversation.  Of course I may just be a bad judge of character so here's how it went:

[GRAVES] What kind of device is this?  Who showed you how to operate this device? Where is he?

[OLD GUY] What is a Ph.D?  How did the Spanish Armada do against England?

[GRAVES] It means I'm a professor.  They lost.  Do you have all of the ships?

[OLD GUY] But you already said that.  It's a Reflex Enhanced Gravitational Anomaly Wave Generator.  No.  The guy who ran it before me.  How did the 1969 Dodgers do?

[GRAVES] I thought so.  They lost.

[OLD GUY] Who lost, the Dodgers or the Armada?  He died.

[GRAVES] Both of them. Who died?

[OLD GUY] What?

[GRAVES] What?

    See what I mean.  Fortunately for us Chen stepped in and stopped the foolishness (something that will never happen on the Geraldo show).  Chen made it clear to Graves that he must get right to the point.  In my eyes this was probably the hugest mistake that Chen has ever made.  Wait, let me correct that.  Second hugest next to the time that he was told not to pull a lever and he did, dropping us all into a pit of not happy alligators.  Of course that is another story.
    Never!  Never!  Ever tell Graves to come to the point because he will usually resulting in serious and often painful repercussions.  Graves said, and I'll quote, "We're here to recapture all of the boats/planes/surfers and the people associated with them.  Once this is accomplished we will take control of this machinery for our own uses."
    "Sure!"
    I'm not embarrassed to admit it, my jaw hit the floor.  Here we are in the place that has been the cause of suffering and vacation paranoia for over a thousand years and the guy in charge of the device simply tells us that he is going to let us stop him. It kind of makes the whole object of this adventure seem meaningless doesn't it.
    Bluntly the old man told us that he didn't volunteer for the job of "Keeper of the Machine" he was volunteered by his predecessor.  To him watching the machine and filling quota was extremely boring and that he'd rather be at a sleazy bar getting trashed.  I agreed with his desire but this led me to an odd question that I had to have answered.  Who forced him to fill quota?
    Apparently this guy was either a mind reader or just a victim of a huge coincidence because he answered my question before I could ask it.  "Him."
    Have you ever gotten the feeling that you may have done something really stupid but at the time are unable to see what it is you have done.  Well I had just got that feeling and it wasn't a pleasurable thing.  Imagine Hozler if you will, eyebrows twitching, static discharging from his hair saying, "Big dude. Really big dude.  Extremely big dude with may I add a huge hammer in his hands," and pointing behind me.
    The old guy looked really pale and I started to get that disturbing tugging in my lower abdomen.  That was when I turned around to see what was behind me.  Standing about 42 feet and 7 inches tall was this man wearing a loincloth and as Hozler described him, carrying a huge hammer in his hands.
    He said, "Picarro!  You've outlived your usefulness!"  With that the giant smashed the old man with the hammer, squashing him into cheese-flavored dog food and leaving a small crater in the floor.  Now to me this would say that this guy was not too reasonable of a guy but Graves seemed to think differently.  Chen had mysteriously disappeared but I was too worried about myself to care at the time.
    The giant swung down with his hammer aiming directly for Graves' head.  Graves on the other hand saw this and didn't move an inch.  Strike one millionaire history teacher.
    Like always I was wrong.  The hammer stopped about three centimeters from Graves' skull.  Graves seemed unmoved by the whole incident (though I'll swear that I saw one small bead of sweat on his forehead).  The giant asked him why he didn't move and Graves told him that it was obvious to him that he wasn't going to kill him because he was going to need a new guy to run the ensnaring device.  It wasn't so obvious to me.
    The huge guy laughed and told Graves that he was very observant.  He added that he would be the perfect candidate to replace the late Picarro.  Graves told him that he was sorry but he would be unable to fill the vacant position based on the fact that he still had to grade his students term papers this weekend.
    The giant was shocked by this response but not as shocked as when Graves dropped his next bombshell.  "Besides I've finally figured out who you are and the thought of working for you makes my skin crawl.  You are Corsus, the Titan who was cast out of Olympus because you mocked the sailors, aviators and surfers of the world. Zeus trapped you in an underwater cavern in the Caribbean until you could respect sailors/aviators/surfers.  A being with so much disdain for adventurers does not belong among civilized men."
    The look on the giants face was a combination of curiosity and anger but he held his tongue.  I figured that he was keeping tally of the insults heaped upon him so that he could later hurt him badly.
    On the other hand Graves continued without pause.  "You did nothing until a time traveller from 1923 travelled back in time to the 1400's and accidentally landed here.  You modified his equipment into its present state and have been seeking revenge on Zeus for what he did to you.  Petty revenge is such a self-deprecating act but fitting for a degenerate like yourself."
    "You're exactly right Mister Graves," said the Titan.
    "I'm always right.  Nagasaki . . . Fire!  Guys . . . duck," said Graves as he dived for cover.
    Chen then blasted the Titan with the ensnaring machine that he had just pointed at the giant.  The beam of swirling energy struck the creature making the giant immobile.
    "You can't fool me that's not a duck," exclaimed Hozler!
    I can tell that you're a little confused about what you just read.  Take my word for it so was I at the time.  This confusion was not just over the zapping of the Titan but on how Graves was able to deduce all of the stuff about the Titan.  Of course much of it will be explained in the next few paragraphs.
    Chen rejoined us and told us that because the beam caused the aging process to temporarily stop he had modified the device to where it would freeze a person in time.  Chen added that the blast would freeze the Titan for 500 years.  Graves said that was long enough to get everyone out of here and destroy the machine.
    Now I will say this, never believe everything that the National Enquirer says because when we started beaming up the ensnared vehicles and people we discovered that there weren't as many down there as believed.  In fact we only found 300 people (most of which were from Mercedes and Haynes ensnared flights).  This would seem to prove that most of the ships/planes/surfers were lost at sea and that the number of these incidents is no greater than in any other ocean of the world.  These disappearances were just simply blown out of proportion by hysterical insurance companies who don't want to pay up.
    We blew up the device and escaped with Chance and "Bullshit" accompanying us on the Lear jet back to San Diego.  Since my life was out of immediate danger I thought that it was time to get some answers from Graves.  I asked him how he deduced all of the information about the Titan and why he destroyed the machine.
    "It's simple Mister Benson.  First of all it was obvious that this giant was a titan because in all of history there have only been 17 recorded giants.  The Jolly Green Giant, The Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk, the New York, San Francisco and Tokyo Giants, That Giant chick that trashed Las Vegas in 1957, Andre the Giant, and the Amazing Colossal Man from the B-Movie of the same name.  The rest were all Titans from mythology.  Taking a calculated risk on the fact that Zeus had kicked out a Titan for the reasons I specified I figured it was him.  As for the time machine thing, well . . . that was an educated guess.
    See . . . simple.  Of course like an idiot I wouldn't let it lie and asked him about the future disposition of the Titan.  "Won't this guy be angry when he is free 500 years from now.
    Graves told me that it didn't matter because we would all be dead anyway.
    As you see Graves' philosophy is simple . . . morbid but simple.  The problem with being associated with Graves is that his mind is always trying to solve some obscure problem that has plagued the world.  Because of that there is always a good chance that you will die before your time, especially being in a plane piloted by Hozler.  So it can be said that I nearly choked on my Eagle snacks when Graves said that we were going to find out if . . . .



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