Tales from Tunnel Mole

And now HouStoned is pleased to present the first dispatch from Tunnel Mole, an anonymous denizen of Houston’s subterranean playpen. You'd better watch out, downtowners. Tunnel Mole is watching you.

HouStoned is moving to the underworld. Don't get your hopes up, middle-of-the-roaders. We're not talking about picking up where The Sopranos is leaving off, for good, this month. And for you high-brow folks, we're not talking about visiting Hades either.

Instead, we're taking steps to avoid Hades, aka Houston's downtown streets in the summertime. Despite the California weather of late, soon it'll be time for thousands of Houstonians to evacuate -- to the tunnels, that is. Time to give your sunblock to those who need it! Tunnel Mole don't need no stinkin' solar protection.

The damned tunnel is probably responsible for Houston NOT having casual Fridays every day during the summer heat that lasts 6-8 months. You can just hear the HR managers rebutting every employee's request to dress down with "You don't have to go out in the heat. Just stick to the tunnel."

But despite the overall more formal dress down there, HouStoned's Tunnel Mole has noticed through careful research that "what goes down in the tunnel, stays down in the tunnel.” It's almost like that Club Med vacation where you cash in your tenth chit in one night for yet another Naughty Sex on the Beach and break into karaoke of "Sexy Back" (only in the tunnel you have to emerge within the hour and go back to your cubicle somewhere above ground). It's devil-may-care down there.

Recently, on a trip for our delicious Greek salad at our favorite pasta place in the tunnel (name withheld to protect the innocent counterperson), we witnessed two freaky events. Actually, one was a conversation that we participated in, and are still scratching our furry heads about:

TM: (usual small talk about being overworked and ready for the weekend)

Counterperson (sotto lively): Well, I'm getting a massage after work!!

TM: Oh, yeah, you had me at "massage." So is it at the place over here in the tunnel?

Counterperson: Oh, no, but it's greaaaaaaaaat. It's only $5 for a whole hour!!!

TM: WHAT?? Where?? Where??

Counterperson: Oh, it's by my house--I don't remember the name, but I'll bring you a flyer. You get on a table, and they don't even touch you!! For a whole hour!!

TM (stunned): So…is it like spiritual acupuncture, then? (where they stick in horsehair needles and do chakra work over you, without any other physical contact)

Counterperson (without stopping to get a definition for spiritual acupuncture): Oh, no, but it's really great!!!

Don't worry, dear readers. We're going back by for the flyer. We'll let you know.

Then 30 seconds later, while waiting for the elevator back up to the cubicle, we spot a man holding a framed photo portrait of a woman to his chest -- and it's huge, probably 4 x 4 (the portrait, that is). A real-life woman is kind of hunching behind him and repeating a phrase that features the term "between your cheeks."

Hunching woman: "…between your cheeks…between your cheeks….your cheeks….between your cheeks."

We're so perverted we think she's testing the vibrator he no doubt popped in his butt before entering the tunnel. The lady's portrait -- conveniently facing "in" -- is either acting as a shield or an enhancement. And they all -- man, woman, picture of a woman -- all got off of dozens of people walking past them in the tunnel.

But if you've ever dashed into the tunnel for a to-go order from Ninfa's, or picked up your watch for repairs there (and why are there so many watch repair places there, anyway? Why does it matter what time it is when you can't even tell if it's day or night? Why don't they start pumping in oxygen down there and set up casinos?) you notice one key rule to the tunnel: You have to walk as fast as you can. It's like Pamplona down there, and you're either a bull or cocky, scrawny Eurotrash in danger of being trampled. Except a lot of the tunnel bulls are wearing suits.

So what are your sordid tunnel tales? Or your tunnel-related heartwarming stories of love and redemption -- maybe a dwarf kicks a drug habit after starting a walking program in the network underground. WhatEVAH. Just tell the Tunnel Mole. We're also not above shameless plugs for places that you think rock. Where’s the best food? The most oddball store? Weirdest stretch of this subterranean world? Let us know, pronto, in the comments section.

NOTE: Tunnel Mole methodology requires that you tell us whether your tale took place IN the tunnel, GOING DOWN to it or EMERGING (hopefully unscathed). If you want your name included, let us know. Otherwise, you can just go undercover, like we do, as Tunnel Mole. -- Tunnel Mole

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