On April 10, 1963 the USS Thresher (SSN-593) was lost at sea with all hands, including civilian workers assigned to observe her sea trials.

they must have known

those last few moments those last few heartbeats those last few breaths

they must have known it was the end

did they count them? did they count each one? wondering how many before --

the boat tilted sharply, bow up

mocking them

a desperate lunge for the surface

but science failed them

nature failed them

(failed them?  not hardly they were the ones who spat in the face of reality expecting physics to magically bend to accommodate their petty wants and desires)

later,  much much later, men sitting safe and warm and dry and miles away from the cold Atlantic

would harrumph and theorize and decide there had been moisture in the emergency valves

and that freezing cold water and super compressed air allied

to form a perfect ice blockage that kept the crew from blowing the tanks

and resolutely dragged the doomed sub backwards backwards backwards

the crew must have known they couldn't have not known

this is one big goddamn clusterfuck we are all going to die goddamnit

(don't cuss, don't cry, pray)

did their minds race ashore?

to family, to wives, to children?

did they ask what the fuck am I doing here?

oh, yeah, it's good money, making subs for the navy

but did I have to take this job?

the car needs an oil job

shoulda told the wife

we were going to go shopping next week

we --

metal groans, creaks

it's coming

now thoughts are less organized, less focused

the captain and crew tried everything they could to restart the reactor

power the engines blow the tanks drive the boat back to the surface

there's nothing left now

but impotence

one of them laughs hysterically

thinks:  "When it's inevitable, lie back and enjoy it."

no one asks why he laughs

why would they?

how could he explain it if they did?

the metal groans more loudly rising in pitch until it becomes a shriek

and the sub telescopes in on itself

as if God Himself had cupped bow and stern in His mighty hands

and clapped

the bulkheads collapse on themselves

two high speed freight trains colliding head on

their actual end is mercifully swift

a wall of ice cold water hits them

as gently as a sleet slick sidewalk

after stepping off a skyscraper

in-rushing ocean pulverizes soft, frail flesh

like a spider caught between a concrete floor

and a ball peen hammer

not even time for a blink

and they're dead

just food for the sea

 (c) Buzz Dixon

Thinkage

"The Drive-In Will Never Die..."