The Stiff: Chapter 4: Page 134

The Stiff: Chapter 4: Page 134

There’s nothing cooler than a large storm drain system. They’re fairly common in California, where it’s dry except during the winter rains (and sometimes floods). One of my friends in Oakland once had a map of the entire Oakland storm drain system, which we used to chart a long journey through a covered creek, through backyards and tunnels, up into the Oakland hills. Finally the passage narrowed so much we could hardly turn around, so we emerged from the next manhole we reached, which turned out to be in a cemetery.



  1. Ken Kobori says:

    My niece Ellen is now going to college in New York, but back in 2009 she lived in the foothills of Berkeley. There she had the following experience…..

    It seems she was hanging out one day with select members of both the Hill Tribe (from her neighborhood) and the Claremont Crowd (who lived lower, near the Claremont Hotel). Anyway, having nothing better to do, they decided to explore a storm drain tunnel near said Hotel–the drain cover was loose and you could walk straight in. (“Did you have flashlights so you could see where you were going?”, I asked. “No, but we all had cellphones”, she replied). They had walked more than a mile in pitch darkness when they suddenly came upon an unseen group of strangers who yelled at them, “RAAGGHH!! YOU BETTER RUN!!” Ellen’s bunch all screamed and ran back towards the entrance without stopping. As they were haring away, my niece heard one of the unseen strangers remark to his mate, “Dude, I don’t think those were our friends”.