Sewer Creature is based on a true story. Wait, what? Okay, well not true as in true, but true in my imagination. How did it get into my imagination? That’s a good question. Thanks for asking. I’ll tell you.
Ever since I was a kid, growing up through adolescence, pimples, puberty, high school, college, and even as I write this now, I’ve always loved sci-fi and horror movies. And the one’s from the ‘50’s hold a special place in my heart, and seem to be deeply rooted in my brain. Yes, some are so campy that you cannot even sit through them — but the ideas are usually terrific and quite fun.
Now that was the first part of it being a true story.
The next true part is my Mum… She had a wonderful, dark, and yes, sometimes quite twisted sense of humor. And, like any good mother, she was always telling me dirty jokes, far-fetched tales, and stories of her life — some, she really shouldn’t have told me — way too much information. Anyway, I honestly never knew if what she was saying was true or not. But one of the stories that stuck in my mind was her telling me that when she was growing up, way out in the country, that occasionally she would lift the seat to the toilet and there’d be a snake in the bowl.
I never quite believed that until later in life when my Mum moved back out into the country and again told tales of finding snakes in her toilet. This time, not just any snakes, but water moccasins. Still, I had my doubts. That is until one vacation when I went to visit her and yes, it happened to me. I lifted the seat. Snake! Scared the crap out of me — I would say literally, but maybe that’s a little too visual. So let’s just say figuratively. But the incident stuck with me and I couldn’t get the image, thought (or fear) out of my mind… What if a snake slithered out of the pipes while I was sitting on the toilet? The reality of that is truly frightening — albeit, quite funny as well.
Another part of Sewer Creature being true is… One night during my college years, I was leaving a bar, or club, or massage parlor, or after-hours restaurant. Doesn’t really matter. Hmm, maybe it was a friend’s house, or a friend’s girlfriend’s house. I don’t remember. But I do remember that it was quite late, or early depending on how you look at it, and it had been raining. Hard. The streets were dark and slick. And of course I had to walk quite a ways to where I parked.
So there I was, walking down a dimly lit sidewalk and found that my path was blocked by a construction barricade. Flashing lights and all. I stepped into the street, or maybe I should say that I stepped into a stream of ankle-deep water running down the gutter toward a storm drain. Great. Since there was construction on the sidewalk, I had no choice but to continue walking, now with squeaky sneakers, down the wet street toward my waiting car.
As I neared where the gushing torrent flowed into the storm drain, I slipped and fell, hitting the pavement hard. My legs slid right into the open drain and panic overtook. I swear that I felt something grab my feet and try to drag me into the sewer. With gutter water rushing over me, I twisted, turned, and clawed at the asphalt, breaking a fingernail or two. I kicked out, freeing myself from its grasp, and pulled myself to safety — away from the creature below.
All these things, along with the many urban legends of giant alligators, beasts, and other creatures roaming about and eating people in the sewers of big cities, festered and stewed in my brain for years. It was driving me crazy, so one day (week, month, year) I finally sat down and wrote it out. I see things very visually, like watching a movie in my own head, so I put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and decided to write it as a screenplay. Plus, since I was working in the film industry at the time, I was hoping to sell and get it produced as a fun ‘50’s era sci-fi, horror movie.
Like most screenplays, it never sold. I’d send it out, but it would just keep coming back from producers and agents with the typical coffee stains on the cover, and template rejection letters signed by underpaid assistants. So I shelved it, and it gathered dust for years.
That is until recently… The Sewer Creature idea started nibbling, scratching, clawing, and masticating on the back of my brain stem again. So I blew the dust off the cover, coughed and sneezed a few times, and then sat down to read, re-write, update it to present day (but still keeping a ‘50’s feel), then re-write it again (and again). And again, hope that it sells and would be made into a block-busting, money-making movie franchise (with sequels, prequels, spin-offs, and tons of merchandizing). But if not, I hope that at least you enjoyed reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Lon Casler Bixby is a professional photographer and published author in various genres: Fiction, Poetry, Humor, Photography, & Comic Books.
You can see his writing here — www.amazon.com/author/loncaslerbixby/.