The Reservoir Monolith

April 3, 2007 at 11:43 am | Posted in fiction | 13 Comments

The sun is much closer up here on top of the reservoir. It’s as hot as it’s ever been and the asphalt grit burns tiny holes in my bare knees. I’m crouching to peer into this vent that looks like an upside-down anchor, only hollow. It’s shaped like that so air can escape but nothing can get in, dad told me. This asphalt slab we stand on is a lid over the water supply for the entire estate. People are ants below. Raymond wanted to piss in the vent and only stopped when I told him he’d end up drinking his own piss with his dinner.

I open up the plastic bag and lift one of the marbles. It glints and winks in the midday sun, a precious jewel won only yesterday. I throw it through the vent, and it emerges on the other side, hitting the ground with a click. Disappointing.

It doesn’t roll far on the rough surface. I pick it up and throw it through again, more gently. This time, there’s silence followed by a faint plop echoing up from far below. I gather up a handful of the marbles and pushed them all into the vent. There’s a satisfying dull clang as they hit the inside, and when they splatter the water I think of a giant with diarrhea. I’m sweating up here. I imagine swimming in the cool blackness beneath our feet.

I wonder if marbles will come out of the tap when my mother runs the water.



“You know how you said a sixteen-wheeler truck ran over your foot?”


“And it wasn’t damaged at all?”


“Did that really happen?”


“Really like, was your foot not crushed?”

“No, I told you before didn’t I.”

“Told me what?”

“I’m from Venus. We’re way stronger than you.”

I have no reason to disbelieve. He is my best friend.

“What else can you do?”

“Dunno. I could probably pick up this reservoir.”

“Mad! Could you pull off this roof?”


“Come on, we could have a swim then.”

“No, I have to go home for lunch.”

I stare down at the gash we cut in the fence using my dad’s wire-cutters. There are three ants standing looking at it. I flush with fear. Dad’ll be home for his lunch any minute. If he sees his tools have been disturbed –

“Yeah, me too, I s’pose. Maybe after lunch?”

“Nah, we’ve got football.”

“Oh yeah.”

“You know Kav, you could poison the whole estate if you poured some chemicals in that vent. My brother’s got a load of rat poison from his work.”

“We’ve got football though.”

“Oh yeah.”



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  1. so you are one of those people that go about dreaming of killing lots of your Neighbours… Interesting.

  2. I was eight for Jaysis’ sake! And it was Ray who said it, not me. I only kill bad people.

  3. And on the afternoon of July 8th, Mr Kav, after football had been cancelled – can you please tell the court what you and your accomplice, Mr Raymond, did?

  4. Must have been slow release poison …

  5. Hearing about this unexplained water contamination in Galway was what reminded me of the times we used to climb up on the reservoir. But it’s fake made-up not real fiction, Miss Pinkie. Honest.

    Dario: Slow but effective. Oh yes.

  6. Delicious!

    And I don’t mean the water – I can’t stand water.

  7. Was that when you first started losing your marbles then?


    Great story. Glad you became a highly functioning member of society rather than a mass-murderer. Mass murder is SO passe.

  8. There are birds pooing in the reservoir all day long though.
    What are the people like on your estate? Could they, broadly speaking, benefit from uppers or downers? You could have launched an experiment on mass mind control if you’d had the money for sufficient drugs. Ah, but it’s always the money. It gets in the way of so much that is enterprising and inquisitive in the 8-year old mind.

  9. Scary.

    ..but in an interesting way.

  10. [Insert witty comment here]

    (I’ll leave it up to yourselves … this one’s too easy. Far too easy!)

  11. Eolaí: Thanks, I think. That flavoured water’s not bad though. Have you tried it?

    whyioughtta: I almost went on a rampage when I found out Ray wasn’t actually from outer space, but I managed to control myself using my vast reserves of inner calm.

    sam: That estate was filled with fucking lunatics who could’ve done with a hefty dose of valium or prozac. Even if they had it they would’ve still found a way to cause trouble.

    howard: I was going for comedy about the absurdity of kids, where one possibility’s equally plausible as any other, but scary will do.

    sneezy: That’s a copout as far as I’m concerned. You’d better write that witticism on so I can steal it off you.

  12. I was thinking along the lines of where you kids crapped in the water and coined the phrase Reservoir Logs. But as a Galwegian you might have taken umbrage (or some other type of sports wear) given the current situation with the Nigerian bodies.

  13. Ah, see, that was worth it. I shall give you a thumbs up and a “haha!” for that. And a bonus “heh” for the Umbro bit.

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