Web Exclusive: Chinese subterranean marines surface in Bolingbrook (Fiction)

A Chinese subterrene crewed by Chinese marines surfaced in Bolingbrook’s Americana Estates subdivision.

Dena, who asked that we not use her last name, claims she first saw a giant drill emerging from a vacant lot. She stated: “I was shocked. Then I thought it must be a tunneling drill, which meant we were getting an L stop! Then I saw the Chinese flag emblem on the side, and got worried.”

Peter Z. Lee, a new Bolingbrook resident, also saw the drilling vehicle emerge: “At first I thought the village was serious about tunneling, but then I saw the Chinese flag and the markings. That thing was with part of the PLA’s First Subterranean brigade.  I feared we were being invaded!”

According to Dena and other eyewitnesses, the craft rolled out of the hole and towards them. A hatch opened, and a marine armed with a QBZ-95 popped out. Most of the eyewitnesses fled when the marine started to point his gun.

Lee decided to stand in front of the drill. Instead of being shot, the marine looked around, then lowered his rifle. According to Lee, the marine said it didn’t look like they were in Taiwan. Lee replied that they were in Bolingbrook. The marine smiled and replied he was from Xuchang City, which is one of Bolingbrook’s sister cities.

“For a moment, I felt a weird brotherly bond with him. Then I remembered that technically, he had just invaded the US.”

The marine then pulled out a cell phone and told someone that they sent him the wrong coordinates.

“We’re supposed to be working together. I know it’s a war game, but how are we supposed to pull off the greatest amphibious invasion in history if you can’t tell the difference between the US and that occupied island?” 

After the call, the marine told Lee he would let him live if he promised not to tell the news media what happened.  Lee agreed, adding that he didn’t consider the Babbler news media. The subterrene then drove back into the hole and sealed the opening. Lee added that a Bolingbrook cleanup team arrived and restored the lot.

The Chinese consulate in Chicago released a statement saying the antipode of Bolingbrook is under the Indian Ocean and offered to provide “alternative news stories” to the Babbler.

A receptionist for Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta said she was in an important meeting and could not be disturbed.

In the background, a woman who sounded like covert social media operative Charlene Spencer, said: “I’m only doing this so you’ll stop volunteer-shaming me.”

A woman who sounded like Alexander-Basta replied, “Whatever. This is an emergency, thanks to Amazon’s e-book return policy. I. Need. Your. Help.”

“I knew you could say it. So I just started a Zoom session with the goddess of self-publishing and self-marketing: Joanna Penn.”

Penn replied, “Thanks, but we need to get down to business. So, thanks to TikTok, you’re losing money on your book, Bolingbrook Does Have a History, correct?”

“Unfortunately,” Alexander-Basta replied.

“Fortunately, in self-publishing, it’s never too late to revive book sales. Now, how many sites is it on, besides Amazon?”

“There are other book sites?”

“Oh yes, but we’ll get to that later. Since it’s on Amazon, what Amazon categories is it listed under?”


“That means Amazon selected them for you. We’ll work on that. Next, what keywords did you select?”

“‘Bolingbrook?’ I don’t know. It was published before I joined the board.”

“Fair enough. What’s your permafree book?”


“The free book you offer to entice readers to buy the rest of the books in the series.”


“Yes. The title says this is volume one. How many volumes do you have?”


“That’s not good. When are you going to publish the next volume?”

“Probably 2065, since that will be Bolingbrook’s 100th anniversary.”

“Oh, that’s way too long to release the second book.”

“But that’s when Bolingbrook will have enough of a history to fill a second volume.”

“I suppose, but most self-publishers need to release more than one book before they turn a profit. So if you insist on waiting 43 years to publish the next book, you should consider publishing prequels or a parallel series. For that matter, how many people subscribe to your author newsletter?”

“None. Look, is there anything you can do now to help?”

“I might be able to optimize the ebook formatting to… Oh, dear. It’s all scanned images of newsletters and newspaper clippings.”

“Is that going to be a problem?”

“Yes. We have a lot of work to do.”

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  

My book series, The Bolingbrook Babbler Stories, is now available on Amazon and elsewhere. For book updates and a free ebook, sign up for my newsletter.


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