“Walruses really don’t like tomatoes,” Bob said.
“I tried to tell you,” Woodruff replied.
“That was one grumpy walrus.”
“Who knew they could throw so far?”
Woodruff and Bob walked along the icy coast. Bob pulled up the fury hood of his parka, to cover his bald head from the chilling winds. Several brightly colored houses dotted the distant hilltop.
“I thought Greenland would be greener,” Bob said.
“Me too,” Woodruff agreed. “Makes you wonder, if Iceland is even icy?”
“Yeah, or is the wholly land even wholly?”
“Why did you wear shorts?”
“You know I don’t own pants.”
“But you have a parka?”
“I traded a Sherpa twelve yaks for it.”
“Where did you get twelve yaks?”
“It’s a long story,” Bob said. “But I started with just a paper clip and a half eaten baguette.”
“Epic,” Woodruff nodded. A strong wind blew in their faces and whipped Bob’s hood off. “This fresh air is invigorating.”
“It’s invigorating my nose hairs,” Bob said. “Let’s fine some place out of the cold.”
“How about in there?” Woodruff said. He pointed to a metal hatch, sticking up out of the sea at the end of a rickety old pier.
“Works for me.”
They jogged down the shoreline and skipped across the wooden planks of the old pier. Woodruff stepped down off the pier onto the steel hatch and Bob hopped down beside him.
“Should we knock?” Woodruff asked.
“It’s good manners,” Bob said.
Woodruff banged on the lid to the hatch with a plastic penguin foot.
“Ahoy down there,” Woodruff called.
The only sound to be heard was the howling winds and the waves lapping up against the steel hull.
“Maybe no one’s home,” Bob said.
Woodruff shrugged and turned the round wheel on top the lid. There was a whooshing noise, as air released from the hatch and Woodruff and Bob pulled the lid open.
“Whoah,” Woodruff’s voice echoed as he peered down the shaft. There was a metal ladder that led down into the darkness.
“Cool!” Bob shouted so his voice would echo.
“Caca!” Woodruff yelled as they both chuckled from the echoes.
“Whooty Who!” Bob called.
“Wer is da?” a voice shouted up from the hole.
“Ich bin Woodruff un das ist Bob,” Woodruff replied.
“What did he say?” Bob asked.
“He asked who we are.”
“And what did you say?”
“I told him who were are.”
“Was willst du?” the voice asked.
“Nach aus der Kälte kommen,” Woodruff replied.
“Kommen runter,” the voice replied.
“He says we can come down,” Woodruff told Bob.
“Good deal,” Bob said as he hopped over the side and slid down the metal ladder.
Woodruff climbed down into the hatch and secured the lid to block the freezing winds. They found themselves standing in a cramped passage with an old bald man with a crooked nose and a thick wool jacket.
“Guten morgen,” Woodruff greeted the old man.
“Guten morgen,” the old man replied. “Ich bin Friedrich.”
“Ich freue mich, sie kennen zu lernen,” Woodruff said.
“Does he speak English, ‘cause this is all German to me,” Bob said.
“Yes, I speak English,” Friedrich said.
“Awesome,” Bob said. “This is a cool underwater fort.”
“Das ist ein u-boot,” Friedrich said.
“A submarine?” Woodruff replied. “So cool. Could we have a ride?”
“Ja,” Friedrich said.
Woodruff and Bob followed Friedrich deeper into the hull.
“Have you ever had to fight a giant squid? What’s tougher, a great white shark or a killer whale? Do you know where Godzilla sleeps? Is Jacque Cousteau nice? Have you ever met James Cameron?” Bob barraged Friedrich with questions.
“Ist dein freund verrückt?” Friedrich asked Woodruff.
“Wahrscheinlich,” Woodruff replied.
“What did he say?” Bob asked.
“He said Jacque Cousteau is a total prima donna,” Woodruff lied.
“I knew it,” Bob said.
On the bridge, Friedrich pressed several buttons and the hum of the engines reverberated through the ship. He pulled some levers and cranked some knobs while Woodruff and Bob gawked at all of the little blinking lights. They grabbed on to the sides as the submarine lurched forward and cruised through the water.
Friedrich busied himself reading instruments and adjusting levers while Woodruff lowered the periscope. Bob helped himself to some bread from a heaping plate full of meat on top of a small stool.
“What do you think this does?” Woodruff asked. He looked down from the periscope and pointed to a round red button.
“I don’t know,” Bob said. “Push it and find out.”
“Should we?” Woodruff asked.
Bob reached up and pushed the button. There was a whooshing noise as the air pressure was released from somewhere deeper in the hull.
“Nein!” Friedrich shouted.
Woodruff and Bob pointed fingers at each other.
“Was hast du getan?” Friedrich asked.
“Du solltest keinen Knopf haben, den du nicht gedrückt hast.,” Woodruff said.
“What did you say?” Bob asked.
“I said he shouldn’t have a button he doesn’t want pushed,” Woodruff answered.
“What did the button do?” Bob asked.
“It launched a torpedo,” Friedrich grumbled.
There was the sound of a distance crash and crumbling outside the ship. Bob’s eyes widened.
“That’s amazing,” Bob said to Woodruff. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“We should launch these bratwursts out the torpedo bay,” Woodruff said.
“Yes!” Woodruff and Bob shouted together.
“Verrücktes,” Friedrich said.
Bob grabbed the plate of meat and led Woodruff to the torpedo bay with Friedrich limping along behind them. Woodruff and Bob were disappointed to find that the shaft was much larger than the individual tubes of meat.
“This won’t work,” Bob complained.
“Friedrich,” Woodruff said. “Hast du ein großes Rettungsfloß?”
“Ja,” Friedrich said and he hobbled off through a tiny metal doorway.
Woodruff and Bob searched through the submarine and gathered up all the food they could find. They met Friedrich back in the torpedo bay and rolled all the food into the deflated life raft. Before they could load it all the way into the port and close the door, there was a grinding sound above and beneath them. The three of them were thrown to the floor as the ship came to an abrupt halt. Welds and seams began to burst as something squeezed the ship from the outside.
“Was ist das?” Friedrich asked.
“Giant squid,” Woodruff and Bob whisper together as they looked at the ceiling above them.
“You think it talked with the walrus?” Woodruff asked.
“If it did, we’re in trouble,” Bob replied.
“Ich werde mit diesen Verrückten sterben,” Friedrich said.
“Yeah,” Bob replied, still eyeballing the crunching hull. “What he said.”
“Quick, let’s fire this meat and appease the beast,” Woodruff said.
“Great idea!” Bob said. They pushed the meat raft into the port and Woodruff pulled the cord to inflate as Bob closed the bay door and tightened the crank.
“Come on Friedrich,” Woodruff said. “Push the button. Schnell!”
Friedrich ran over to the red round button and slammed his fist down on it. There was a whoosh and a pop, followed by a shriek beyond the metal tube. The hull creaked and grinded as the pressure released and the submarine scuttled through the water once more.
“We did it!” Bob shouted.
Woodruff hugged Friedrich, who did not look happy about it and Bob danced around in a circle.
“That was close,” Woodruff said.
“That was the fourth time brautwurst has saved my life,” Bob said.
They ducked through the metal doorway and gathered back on the bridge.
“So where are we headed from here, Friedrich?” Woodruff asked.
“Das Mutterland,” Friedrich replied.
“Do you think Mutterland is even Mutter?” Bob asked.