Copyright is held by the author.

WAS HE really that big?

Or had my imagination, the years, and the fear I felt that day blow things out of all proportion, a proverbial fish story, the fish getting bigger with every telling?

Ever watched the movie “Shaft?” A passage from the sound track plays in the background of my imagination every time I remember that night. The hollow eerie tormented wail of a loan clarinet alone in an abandoned world.

Isaac Hayes must surely have been watching. The bar with its dark deserted alley leading to the parking lot, the slow drizzle of falling rain saturating the deadly quiet of the night.

We turn into the alley looking for a parking spot.


Everywhere iron, dripping wet filling every parking space, all shrouded in a dank pervasive gloom.

We make to leave.

Then, “Over there.”

Our headlights illuminate an old lean-to projecting from the back wall of the bar, and underneath barely visible an oil drum sitting between parking lines.

Somebody pipes up, “Great, we just move the damned drum.”

I’m in the passenger seat of a two-door car, thus geographically elected as the drum mover.

Despite urging from the back, I hesitate.

Caution is telling me something, but I can barely hear her above the clamor for action from behind.

Oh well . . .

Reluctantly I open the car door and step out.

Sloshing through the puddles I trudge towards the drum.

It’s almost pitch dark under the overhang but dry thank God.

I grab the drum’s lip edge and start to roll it.

Suddenly I’m aware that the entire back wall of the lean-to seems to be moving in.

It coalesces to form a shape and from the gloom emerges a man the size of a butcher’s meat locker.

The drum slips from my fear-frozen hands and settles back on the concrete with a hollow clang.

“Yoo’s looking for something?” The voice is soft and menacingly deliberate.

“Nu, Nu, No.” I quaver “I’m moving the drum so’s we can park, somebody’s been playing games.”                                                                                                                                     

The meat locker moves forward grasps the drum with both hands, lifts it effortlessly and slams it hard
down centre space.

“N o b o d y plays games around here,” it says, moving a step closer.

Fortunately, fear has only frozen my voice.

I’m told I made it back and into the car in a single bound.

We exited the ally at 80 miles an hour in reverse.


Image of Anthony James Marlow

For James this is an entirely new world. Anthony started as an artist. Switched to engineering. Retired. Went back to art. Wonky left eye. Urged to try writing.

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