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"The Second Descent of Professor Lidenbrock"
Part 2 of 2
He couldn't believe it! Even his own nephew and his lovely wife, both of whom he hadn't seen since their wedding were there! The Professor was furious! His nephew ambled over to the Professor, and re-sheathing his samurai sword onto his back, explained the situation to the Professor. He told the tale about how after their wedding, he needed a little extra cash, and what better opportunity than here, at the center of the Earth! It was an untapped market, with possibilities of tourism, hotel management as well as the restaurant sector; heck, he was even starting to get into the contracting business! The Professor was stunned to learn that his very own nephew, who was reluctant to even come on the previous adventure had made a life for himself down here. He had opened a restaurant, complete with an aquarium filled with the wildlife of the subterranean sea. The only problem his nephew had encountered was that the native, giant ape-like creatures were, in fact, cannibalistic and would occasionally eat the brains of his customers. But, the beasts proved to be handy around the kitchen and the nephews insurance rates down here couldn't be beat, so the occasional dead tourist did nothing to dissuade him from killing the beasts and serving them in his new restaurants. He merely employed the beasts in the restaurant and when one acted out, he would simply pull out the beasts eyes and serve them to the more adventurous diners. He would then mount the heads on the wall of the dining room both as art, and to serve as a warning to the other employed beasts. The tourists didn't seem to mind, because this was, after all, the center of the Earth. The rules of terra-firma did not necessarily apply down here, and the Professors nephew, advertising only in the Deep Internet had a clientele that was hungry for adventure and curiosities that might be frowned upon on the sunnier side of the world. The tourists The Professor was stunned. He reported back to base camp, calling the mission a failure and fired the team on the spot, giving each man, woman, and child bus fare home (His nephew had an agreement with the Fung-Wah Bus Company with Center to New York direct busses every hour on the hour).
The Professor took a little nap, and when he woke up, he felt a little better. In fact, he wasn't mad at his nephew anymore. Sure, he had wanted to come down here to the center, figure out how and why this subterranean race of beasts lived here instead of the surface of the Earth with the rest of the human race and either help them integrate into polite society or subjugate them and put them in zoos. Either way, the Professor thought he was going to be a hero. Instead, he found that he was too late, and his nephew had beat him to the punch, and if he was going to become famous, he would have to explore new lands, for his nephew had already exploited the center of the Earth so much that it was now but a commodity of the rich and famous; a playground for those who have seen and done everything the surface of the Earth has to offer. During his nap, he had had a dream in which he gave up the exploration and the fame seeking and became a regular guy, doing regular things. When he awoke, he was so comforted by the thought of the dream that he went straight to his nephew and asked him to employ him. He didn't want a partnership or a cut of the overall profits from his nephews new subterranean empire, he simply wanted a job doing something that would give him time to pursue his other hobbies; mainly bird watching and plant identification. His nephew put him to work right away in the dining room of the restaurant. The Professor changed his name to Doug and began his new life as a waiter. He would now forever be known as the Waiter at the Center of the Earth.