When I was a kid my brother scared me into believing that monsters live in the drains of our house. He said that I couldn’t go to the toilet, have a shower or turn on the tap to drink water because when water goes down the drain it wakes up the monster. The monsters, he said, were living all throughout the sewers, and you never knew when they’d climb out through the pipes or the stormwater drain.

After a week of my improper shower and toilet habits, my mum found out what my brother had said and assured me that there were no monsters in the drains. I didn’t believe her and said that the monsters would definitely still be in there unless we had a complete sewer replacement. Within Melbourne, I believed, you couldn’t take any chances with these sewer monsters, and ten-year-old me was not taking the risk.

For a long time after that, I found it really hard to believe that we were safe. My brother just seemed so serious and it really spooked me. I did slowly get over the fear and start flushing the toilet and showering again, but even now thirteen years on, I still avoid looking down any plug holes or drains in the streets. Realistically, I do know that there aren’t any monsters in the sewers, but still… you can never be too careful.

I must admit when I moved out of home for the first time last year I did have someone come and do a blocked drain check. Brighton is a relatively safe suburb in terms of crime, but is it safe in terms of underground monsters? I’m not sure. I got my drains checked for my peace of mind. They also unblocked them which was a bonus.

I really wish that my brother hadn’t scared me all those years ago. It’s definitely not a story that I’ll be passing onto my kids, if I ever have them.