Keeper of the Spatula

Chapter 8: Why'd It Have to Be Snakeheads

After leaving Mertopia, SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs journeyed their way to the mountains to cross Middle Caves. It was early afternoon, but the sky had darkened for some reason as they traveled up the path that led into the mountain caves.

SpongeBob kept asking what the horrible beast called “Kobra” could be like; whether he’d only eat one of them or choose to eat all of them at once. Patrick didn’t like to talk about it, especially when Squidward brought up the idea of it just eating SpongeBob and Patrick due to all the “barnacles in their brains”. Seeing this, SpongeBob decided to quickly change the subject for Patrick’s sake.

“Do you know what one of the mermaids told me?” SpongeBob asked in a cheerful tone. “That when we’re crossing the caves, all we have to do is think about what makes us happy, and then we won’t be afraid.”

“Well, thanks for that helpful advice.” Squidward sarcastically responded with a frown.

“No problem, Squidward.” SpongeBob optimistically replied as he skipped at a slow pace. “I’m sure it’ll help.”

As the group pressed on, they followed a dry stony path that led up the mountain. They stop at the entrance of the cave and glance inside to see it was dark and almost impossible to see.

“Mr. Squidward, you have a flashlight somewhere on you?” Mr. Krabs asked as he held out his claw.

Squidward opened his travel pack and dug around inside until he pulled out a small flashlight. He handed it to his boss, and Mr. Krabs turned it on before walking inside. “Well, we ain’t just gonna stand around out here.” He said, confidently walking in.

The three follow him into the dark cave as he lit the way with a flashlight. SpongeBob inched closer to Mr. Krabs and asked nervously, “Mr. Krabs…did you really not see anything named Kobra the last time you were here?”

“Of course not, lad.” Mr. Krabs answered with a smile. “Those mermaids don’t know what they’re talking about. Truthfully, I did see something in here years ago. But it was a little creature the size of a piece of coral. You ain’t afraid of something that small, are ya, boy-o?”

SpongeBob thought about this and answered, “Well…I guess not.”

“Good boy, now stop this scaredy-snail nonsense and let’s keep going.”

“Aye aye, sir!” SpongeBob said with a salute, and then went behind to walk next to Patrick. “Did you hear that, Patrick? Kobra’s just a tiny little thing who can’t possibly eat us.”

“But I’m still scared.” Patrick mentioned as he shivered in fright. “What about the other horrible creatures in here?”

“Hmm, you do have a point.” SpongeBob admitted as he thought to himself, but quickly got an idea, “Okay, just think of all the things that make you happy, and then you won’t be afraid.”

Patrick nodded and replied, “Okay.” He held his hand to his chin and attempted to do the impossible: Think.

After a while, he clenched his teeth and held his eyes shut as he tried to think of one thing that could keep him from wetting himself while he walked through the cave. With all the thinking he was doing, he would probably blow a gasket soon.

Finally, he shouted, “SpongeBob, all this thinking is too hard! Can you think of all the things that make me happy?”

“I’ll be glad to.” SpongeBob gladly accepted as started to ponder about his best friend, “How about krabby patties? I always see you happy when eating those.”

“Oh yeah, that’s true.” Patrick nodded, seeing SpongeBob was right. “Anything else?”

“Hmm…how about jellyfishing? That makes anyone happy.”

“All right!”

“Oh! And Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. You’re always happy when we watch them.”

While SpongeBob and Patrick were cheering themselves up, Squidward watched them from behind as he followed and began to think to himself, ‘Life without SpongeBob and Patrick. That would make me happy.’ He then smiled as he became lost in the thought.

“Ahoy!” Mr. Krabs hollered throughout the cave, catching their attention. “We’ve reached the center.”

They see Mr. Krabs was right when they saw a large wide space held up by columns that looked almost like a tomb. With their eyes already adjusted to the darkness, it was pretty clear to see without a flashlight.

“This place looks very ancient.” SpongeBob pointed out as he went inside.

“It sure does.” Mr. Krabs agreed as he looked around. “I once thought that if this place were any closer to the Krusty Krab, I can make a quick buck sharing my discovery with the world.” Then he took out his cash register and cuddled it close. “After all, Cashie needs to eat too. And money is just the diet she needs.”

Squidward wandered around the cave and ran his tentacle across a pillar. He looked at his tentacle to see the dirt and dust that had collected on it. “I don’t see why anyone would wanna come here on their free time.”

SpongeBob was kneeled down in front of a rock that seemed to have an inscription etched into it. Patrick noticed him and walked over. “Whatcha looking at, SpongeBob?”

“There’s something written here.” SpongeBob answered as Squidward and Mr. Krabs walked over. “It says, ‘Dear Traveler: Like you, I once journeyed through this cave on a quest of my own. For your own safety, I suggest you turn back and never return for the beast that dwells in this cave will certainly devour you like it did to me. Signed: TJ R. Rolkien.’”

“What does that mean?” Patrick asked, looking confused.

SpongeBob answered uneasily, “It means that there’s a possibility that this cave really is dangerous.” Then he got a look of horror, “What if it’s Kobra?”

“Just one little problem.” Squidward pointed out. “If that guy really died when he came into this cave, how was he able to write all that?”

“Yeah, that’s right, Squidward.” Mr. Krabs agreed with a nod. “There is no danger in this here cave, and there’s certainly no-”

But then they suddenly heard a growl echo through the walls of the caves. SpongeBob and Patrick yelp in fright and huddle close to Squidward, who was too surprised by the noise to even care that the two people he hated were holding him tightly.

“Let’s just think of everything that makes us happy.” SpongeBob mentioned as he shivered in fright and tried to keep a smile on his face.

“You boys are being a bunch of pansies.” Mr. Krabs teased, not even looking scared. “I told you. Kobra is only ten inches high. He couldn’t hurt a-”

But then, the growling grew louder and the wall of the cave comes crumbling down with a giant snakehead fish slithering on the ground, hissing at them with its long tongue.

The four scream in horror at the sight of it, and afterwards, Mr. Krabs chuckles nervously. “Well…I guess Kobra’s grown a bit since the last time I was here.”

The giant snakehead, Kobra, gave a loud hiss at the group, causing them to scream again and split apart as they run in different directions while Kobra slithers around the room to catch them.

While Mr. Krabs was running, he trips on a small rock and loses his grip on the cash register and it bounces around the cave with a loud clank. “Cashie!” he cries out as he runs after it with his claws held out in front of him.

SpongeBob hid behind a boulder with his knees to his chest as he closes his eyes and attempts to follow the mermaids’ advice to make his situation more pleasant by thinking of all the things that make him happy.

“Blowing bubbles…jellyfish…krabby patties…Gary…kay-rah-tay…” SpongeBob recited with fear in his voice as he held his eyes tightly shut.

But then, his eyes widen as a pair of large fangs bite the boulder into pieces and reveal SpongeBob’s hiding place. “NOT DYING!!!!” the sponge screamed loudly in front of the fish.

When Kobra was about to bite SpongeBob, a pebble hit the fish’s head, momentarily getting its attention. The hurler was Patrick, who stood behind it.

“Hey Kobra.” Patrick shouted with a taunt. “Don’t even try to eat my best friend!”

But the snakehead hissed and slithered after Patrick while the starfish ran away. “Don’t try to eat me either!” he shouted with a cry.

Squidward hid behind a pillar and panted heavily as he tried to avoid contact with the snakehead. But then he looked see Patrick standing right next to him, realizing he was the one Kobra was chasing. Because of this, Kobra knocked the pillar down with a swing of his tail and the two ran away screaming, trying to avoid the falling debris.

“Oh no,” SpongeBob gasped as he watched everything. “I gotta do something before they’re snakehead food.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out the golden spatula as he ran toward the snakehead.

“Hey Kobra!” SpongeBob shouted as he stood behind the snakehead, catching his attention. “Come slither over and get a bite out of this!”

Kobra did just this as he hissed and quickly grabbed a hold of the spatula with his fangs while SpongeBob still held onto the other end.

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” SpongeBob yelled as Kobra swung him back and forth from his spatula.

Soon Kobra let go of it and flung SpongeBob into the stone wall with a splat. The sponge groaned from the impact and his eyes bobble in his head from all the swinging.

Mr. Krabs ran over to him after finally retrieving his cash register. “Lad, you okay?”

SpongeBob shook his head back to normal and stood up. “I’m alright, Mr. Krabs. What are we gonna do? We can’t defeat Kobra.”

“We don’t have to, lad.” Mr. Krabs said as he placed a claw on his shoulder. “I spotted the tunnel that leads to the exit. If it’s anything like it was years ago, it’ll get us to safety.”

SpongeBob smiled weakly and replied, “You’re the best, Mr. Krabs.”

Mr. Krabs got an odd look by this simple reply. “Uh…okay.”

Meanwhile, Kobra had Squidward and Patrick in his coils as it hissed at them with his large fangs sticking out at them. Patrick giggled and said, “He’s giving us a hug, Squidward. I guess he won’t eat us after all.”

SpongeBob gasped in fright at his two best friends about to be eaten. But then he looked up and noticed some stalactites on the ceiling. He looked at the spatula in his hand and with a mighty heave, tossed it into the air. The spatula hit the ceiling right above Kobra with a clank and fell back in SpongeBob’s hand.

All seemed still at first until the stalactites began to vibrate and crack from the ceiling until he fell off and hit Kobra on the head, making him dizzy and release his grip on Patrick and Squidward.

Once the octopus and starfish were safe on the ground, Mr. Krabs yelled to them, “Come on, boys! This way!”

The two quickly followed Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob down a tunnel that led out of the mountain cave. When they reach the end of the tunnel, the group stopped just in time before falling down a long round hole in the middle of the walkway that let out a red hue color illuminating the cave. They look down to see some smoke rising from below, indicating that there might be molten rock at the very bottom.

“Well, this is just great.” Squidward stated sarcastically as he stared below.

“What do we do now?” SpongeBob asked.

But before they could ponder this, they heard a loud hiss from the tunnel behind them, and realize that Kobra is coming right their way in pursuit.

“We gotta jump across!” Mr. Krabs shouted to them. “It’s the only way!”

After hearing another dangerous hissing from the tunnel, SpongeBob decided to be the first to make the dangerous jump, and closed his eyes as he leapt across the pit. He caught hold of the edge on the other side and climbed up safely.

Squidward was the second to the jump across safely, and Patrick hopped across next as he fell flat on his face on the ground with SpongeBob helping him up. Mr. Krabs looked behind him to see Kobra had finally caught up to him and spotted Mr. Krabs still on his side of the ledge. The crab looked down to see the ground cracking beneath him, leaving him only seconds to make it across or fall to the death below.

“Come on, Mr. Krabs!” SpongeBob called out to him.

“We’re coming, lads!” Mr. Krabs shouted back as he tossed his cash register over the hole with it unfortunately smacking SpongeBob in the face. He then leapt across the pit with Squidward pulling him up the ledge to safety.

As Kobra walked over to the ledge, the ground beneath him crumbled to pieces, causing him to fall down the pit as the four watched Kobra disappear down into the red inferno that was presumably down there.

Patrick took this moment to laugh his usual dense laugh. “We sure showed him.”

“Yeah,” SpongeBob replied with a chuckle. “We sure did.”

Mr. Krabs sighed as he took his cash register from SpongeBob. “The important thing is we made it out alive and there were no casualties.”

But then, a long snake tongue shot out from the pit and wrapped itself around the cash register as Mr. Krabs’s eyes widen to see it pulled out of his arms and dragged down the pit.

“CASHIE!!!” Mr. Krabs yelled out as he ran toward the pit, and without a second thought, jumped down.

They all gasped in shock as they saw Mr. Krabs plummet down the hole after the falling cash register with a yell.

SpongeBob ran toward the edge, extending his arms as tears flew out of his eyes as he cried out, “MR. KRABS!!!” Squidward quickly ran over and grabbed the sponge’s right arm to keep him from dropping in as he hung over the ledge.

“Let’s get out of here!” Squidward yelled as his face strained from holding onto SpongeBob while the cave floor shook.

Down below as Mr. Krabs plummeted through the hole, he glared in determination and held out his walking staff as he approached the falling Kobra.

“Hand over the register, Kobra!” Mr. Krabs demanded as he fell closer to him.

But the snakehead just hissed through his long fangs, and Mr. Krabs responded by whacking Kobra on his head repeatedly with his staff. Kobra tried to use his tail to knock away Mr. Krabs, but the crab used his staff to deflect the swing.

Mr. Krabs growled and shot himself forward and punched Kobra right in the face, knocking one of his fangs out. While Kobra was dizzy, Mr. Krabs grabbed him by his neck with both of his claws and made the snakehead regurgitate the cash register which he then caught in his arms, letting Kobra fall further below.

“I did it!” Mr. Krabs shouted happily as he held his cash register and continued falling down the long hole. “I got ya back, Cashie!”

He then laughed manically while Kobra hit the bottom and released a bunch of hot steam and bubbles which Mr. Krabs landed into, not even acknowledging it as he laughed and laughed with the cash register in his arms.

Meanwhile, outside the mountain, SpongeBob, Squidward, and Patrick tumbled down out of the cave as they witnessed the whole mountain caves crumble to pieces with no sign of Mr. Krabs ever coming out.

SpongeBob then stood up on his feet with an upset and teary-eyed look which he tried to hold back, but then cried out at the top of his lungs, “NOOOOO!!!”

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