A conceptual miner explores the idea of “What is Underground” with an account of his time with a West Oakland Cult called Erotic Polarities. They chased novel experiences by juxtaposing intense pleasure with intense fear, by having sex while surrounded by active fireworks or while a very heavy object is suspended by crane above their heads. The miner really enjoys telling jokes and making people laugh, but he has an intense fear of being locked inside a trunk. So he locked himself and a naked woman inside a trunk and shared jokes.
This was great, but it wasn’t enough. They had to go further. So they locked themselves in the trunk and were pushed overboard into the Oakland-Alameda estuary. At first this was very exciting, but they soon realized the trunk wasn’t watertight. It began to fill with water and sink. Adrenaline surged through their bodies as they frantically tried to escape. Their struggles broke the latch on the waterlogged old trunk, and they struggled to the surface of the estuary, naked and frightened.
While treading water the miner noticed something slimy on his leg. An octopus. What’s that doing in the bay? At first he was confused, but then he remembered a recent animal rights protest in Chinatown where a bunch of octopuses were freed and released into the bay. He still had a flyer in his pocket.
Inspired by his experience with the trunk and the octopus, the miner created eight elixirs based on powerful combinations of herbs and spices. To properly experience the elixirs, the diner has to be disoriented.
Get in the trunk. A partner will lock you in. They will roll and spin the trunk wildly around the basement floor until they find an elixir. As the trunk opens, open your mouth to accept a dropperful of elixir. Get out of the trunk, lock your partner inside, and return the favor.
You stand by the potato bowl, ready for indoctrination. A hash sign is marked on your inner wrist as a senior hashassin instructs you in ancient techniques. Once you are initiated, you are armed with a spoonful of hashbrowns. Stealthily approach unsuspecting diners from behind and whisper in their ear, “Are you allergic to potatoes?” If they are not, feed them the hash browns and tell them to collapse dramatically. Leave as quickly and as silently as you came.
Sit at the rickety table with your left hand on a tin of diesel fuel. Your partner sits opposite, their left hand on a bowl of Ammonium Nitrate harvested from Walgreen’s instant cold packs. DO NOT COMBINE THE DIESEL WITH THE AMMONIUM NITRATE. This would result in the creation of ANFO, a modern explosive. In this quantity it would be about as powerful as a hand grenade.
Without removing your hands from the explosive components, you and your partner assemble and eat a typical coal miner’s lunch: bread with jam and butter. Slice the bread, add the jam and butter, and grind black pepper in a mortar and pestle to sprinkle on top. This symbolizes gunpowder, which historically was sprinkled over food as a digestive aid. Eat the bread and get the heck out of there.
When Dana was growing up, he had an imaginary friend that loved to eat hot tamale pie. Draw a picture of your imaginary friend eating their favorite food. Eat hot tamale pie while your imaginary friend eats their imaginary dinner.
Fit your entire body through a metal clothes hangar. Your reward is a piece of cake with karst-like topography.
Reveal Your Nuttiness
Smash a walnut. As the nut meat is exposed to the air, describe your own secret nuttiness to those around you. Eat the nut.
Dark Deep Secrets
Hide under the cloak. Write a dark, personal secret on a slip of paper. Exchange it for a secret in one of the two boxes. Safeguard your new secret. You are rewarded with a piece of kiwi on coconut carob cake.
Taste the Rainbow
Shine the sun lamp through the water glass, projecting a spectral rainbow across the fruit salad. Eat the fruit.
A cardboard divider separates the upper half of your face from the lower half. A strawberry dangles above the cardboard. Describe the strawberry in vivid detail, watching it, smelling it, while sharp cheddar is fed to you underneath the divider.
The milk of almonds, cashews, walnuts, and who knows what else have been frozen into ice cube trays. Slurp the ice and guess the nut.
Hairy Sphere Drink
Two coconuts have been infused with different complementary liquids. Enlist assistance from a funnel wielder to drink first one, then the other.
Eat one strawberry from the left box and one strawberry from the right box. Try to discern the difference. If you cannot guess, the server reveals: the ones on the left are one day younger.