The Man Who Lived Underground.

Topics: Neil Young, Police officer, Lighting Pages: 4 (1633 words) Published: November 16, 2008
As the story begins, a unnamed man is hiding from the police. He is tired of running and has decided that he must either find a hiding place or surrender. At that moment he sees a manhole cover in the street. He lifts the cover; the water below is deep and fast. His fear of the police is stronger than his fear of the water and the darkness, so he enters and is nearly swept away and killed by the water before he finds his footing. As he explores the tunnels, he knows that he is in danger, but an “irrational impulse” prevents him from leaving. Instead he moves forward, looking for a dry hiding place or a safe way out. Following a faint sound he cannot identify, he comes to a section of the tunnel that is taller and has fresher air. He gropes along, using a pole to test the depth of the water in front of him and occasionally lights a match for a brief bit of light. He finds a dirt cave off to one side, and then comes to a brick wall, through which he can plainly hear a group of people singing Christian hymns. Pulling himself up on some old pipes near the ceiling, he can see through a crevice that black people in white robes are holding a church service. It seems to him that what they are doing is wrong, that asking for forgiveness is obscene. The man moves on, feeling his way through the water. By the faint light from another manhole cover, he sees a dead baby floating in the water; it has gotten snagged on some debris. With his eyes closed he uses his foot to push the body free, but in his mind he sees it swept away by the current. The nightmarish quality of this episode, and his sense that the men and women in the church are as insignificant as this baby, makes him think again about his own guilt. Returning to the cave, he sleeps. When he wakes, cold and hungry, he knows he should leave the sewers, but knowing that the police have a signed confession from him convinces him to stay. To pass the time, he idly pokes a brick wall with a jagged pipe, eventually...
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