"Somebody tell me why we're still descending?" Commander Matterface boomed, ducking around the periscope, into the control room.
No one volunteered an opinion, each waiting for another to speak up. Seething, Matterface pulled the executive officer aside.
"Adams," he whispered, "have you found the, mm, y'know, what we discussed up top?"
"Well, yes, and no, sir," muttered the XO.
"Come on, Adams," Matterface urged, "What aren't you telling me?"
"It's your lucky underpants, sir," Adams whispered.
"What about them, Adams?"
"Commissaryman Anderson thought hanging them over the navigation light before we dived would provide amusement, sir."
"That no-good cook. I'll boil..."
"Sir, they're not exactly lost; that's the problem." "Explain."
"They're jamming the hydroplane; we're stuck in dive mode," Adams said, acknowledging
the depth gauges.
"Fetch him. Now!"
Within seconds, Anderson stood kowtowed before the Commander. "Anderson," Matterface began, "You're about to earn your sea legs." Anderson blinked his confusion.
"I'll keep it brief," the Commander continued, "Get out of your whites, into a diving suit, and
GO FETCH MY BOXERS!"
Anderson went whiter than his uniform. "B-b-ut, sir." "Don't 'b-but' me, Commissaryman. Get. Changed!"
With all arguments repudiated, Anderson found himself outside the submarine, the helmet-cam relaying his progress. Only the lifeline prevented him from floating off into the Atlantic.
He made it to the rudder, began tugging the boxers, but inadvertently floated perilously close to the propulsor.
Simultaneously, as the crew desperately sought buoyancy, they expelled jetstreams of water
from the main-ballast tanks, blasting Anderson.
The lifeline snapped, despatching Anderson (and the Commander's boxers) into Davy Jones's
"We'll see no more of him, sir, I'm afraid." Adams proffered. "Only good for shark food now."
"Harumph!" moaned Matterface. "It'll be the first decent meal he's ever made."
Well, the man had just lost his lucky underpants.
Published in Issue #25