freedom tunnel: pants, porn, and poultry

The entrance is a bit foreboding. Just inside the tunnel, sprawled on the gravel, stretches out a dearly departed dog, its skin sags like a smooth sheet over its bones. The dog seems partially mummified by the combination of darkness and cool tunnel air. Aside from this gruesome find, the tunnel debris mostly includes pants and shoes (the base ingredient of any homeless-occupied area), spray cans, milk containers, stuffed animals, and of course, porno mags.

As one travels deeper into the tunnel, the walls become a gallery, hosting a number of elaborate murals. Most are located on walls beneath the street grates, making use of the downpour of light. The subjects vary from typical name tags, to the elaborate Third of May mural and even a painting in honor of ball player Ted Williams. I couldn't help but wonder if his family or descendants were aware of this underground shrine, visible only to the homeless and curious tunnel explorers.

My companions and I were careful to avoid several trains that passed, ducking behind emergency exit doorways to avoid the spewing gravel and dirt from the speeding cars. We ran into no one else until we tried to exit the way we entered. The only other exit nearby happened to be in Kenny's 'house.'

The Chicken: Photo Not Available

As we hustled away, we happened to run across a most peculiar sight- a bright orange chicken, strutting around the tunnel like it owned the place. Not just any chicken, either, but one-ah dem der fancy county fair lookin' birds. Why we hadn't seen it the first time by and where it came from was a mystery. In our haste to exit the tunnel and our bafflement over the poultry sighting, we neglected to take a photo of our feathered friend, something I truly regret.

We booked it back up the tunnel to return to the alternate exit. We didn't know how friendly the gatekeeper was, so our navigator politely called out "Do you have an exit?" and most graciously, Kenny let us climb up a ladder into his makeshift underground home to make our escape. He sat smoking a cigarette in his dark cave, watching the four of us pass by and belly crawl out the narrow hole. His hospitality was quite appreciated as we inhaled the fresh air once outside the tunnel.

Into the darkness   Woof
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