This time I actually did go around shaking hands, grinning like some idiot politician. I think I may have high-fived someone. This is unlike me, but I was so elated at having come out of the darkness that I had forgotten myself. Which is nice.
My high had settled down nicely into a post-peak afterglow, and it occurred to me that a good smoke would really hit the spot. If only a had a cigar…and then I remembered that I did, in fact, have a box of cigars in my backpack that a thoughtful former self had placed there for just such an occasion.
After a moment’s rummaging I had the brown tin and a lighter in my hand, and I decided to offer a smoke to the handful of my fellow travelers still hanging around. A tall, bearded guy named Larry took me up on the offer, and we seated ourselves on one of the benches scattered around the meadow, which was set up like a pleasant little neighborhood park.
As we marched, we systematically made our way through the rest of Bill Murray’s historic words.
“Into a 10,000-foot crevasse, right at the base of a glacier. Do you know what the Lama says?”
A pause. “No.” Another pause.
“Gunga galunga. Gungala gungala gunga.”
My heart seemed to be beating very quickly. It was thundering in my ears like a bass drum played by the Jolly Green Giant, and I realized that I was very, very high.
There was something creepy about this tunnel, above and beyond the general darkness and dankness. Much later, I would find out that giant speakers throughout the tunnel generated sub-audible bass tones designed to unsettle the paying customers. At the time all I knew was I was feeling very eager to get to the other end, so I stepped up my pace.
I think everybody else was feeling it too, because no one was saying a word. The dripping sound was getting louder, more insistent, more annoying, and then I felt something pass very close by my head, something with wings.