Max Height

This is the opening to a children’s book originally called, Down The Drain, in which our hero, a small boy named Max Height, gets sucked down the plughole during bath night. It’s still being worked on but I thought you might like to see how the whole thing starts.

Down The Drain.

Chapter 1 – Ominous Foretellings.

The cry went up and the battle began as it always did. There was running. There was screaming. There was hiding. But it never did them any good. They would be found; it was inevitable.

Max had chosen to hide himself by the allotments and his disguise was almost perfect. With headscarf, shawl and long skirt, from a distance he could easily pass for an old woman. But the search for him and his friends was intensifying all the time.

Max pulled his shawl closer around his shoulders as he heard footsteps approaching his position. A bead of sweat slowly trickled from his forehead and down his nose. The footsteps were so close that Max didn’t dare to wipe it away and just let it drip onto the floor. He lowered his head as the steps grew closer and closer and… and… and… past him.

Max’s heart beat faster and faster, but it almost stopped when, he felt a hand grip him hard by the shoulder.

“Gotcha, Max Height.” Max knew that voice only too well and looked up to see the familiar face it was coming from.

“Noooooooo,”said Max as he realised there would be no escape.

“Quiet, you’re coming with me. It’s for your own good.”

“How is it for my own good? It can’t possibly be for my own good. It’s evil, that’s what it is, evil.”

“I said, quiet. The more you struggle, the worse it will be.”

“Worse? What could be worse than bath night?”

“Now you’re just being silly. And is that my skirt you’re wearing?” Max’s Mum kept a tight hold of the shoulder; she wasn’t going to let Max get out of having a bath this week, that’s for sure.

Max marched back home with his Mum gripping him all the way. Back at home, his Dad had run the bath and there it sat all steaming and hot and bubbly. “Come on Max,” said Max’s Dad, “get your things off… get your Mum’s things off and you can have a nice soak before supper.”

Max pulled a face that only a small boy could pull. And max certainly qualified as a small boy, he was the smallest boy in his class and looked like the top of his head didn’t quite reach up to his hair. He was still pulling his face as he climbed into the hot bubbly bath.

“I’ve never known a boy be so averse to having a nice bath,” said Max’s Mum.

“Maybe he’s scared of going down the plughole,” said Dad with a wink, and he and Mum went downstairs, “Don’t stay in there too long, you’ll go wrinkly.”

Max sat in his bath with his nose just above the water. Dad always overfilled, he thought. He mulled over what his Dad had said about going down the plughole. Was that even possible? Max half remembered a story he thought he’d heard ages ago about a baby who went down the hole. Or was that just a song?

Max blew through his nose and made bubbles in the water. Then he blew bubbles in another way as small boys often do. The smell lingered on top of the hot water like a mist, “Pwwwwooooooaaar!”

If Max had been some kind of badger or tramp or boy sized lump of Stinking Bishop cheese, he would have been proud of that stench. If his friend, Jake, was gagging on the smell, he would have been laughing so hard, snot would probably have shot from his nose.

But there was only Max and his lingering fart. The water was so deep in his overfilled bath that there was no escaping it. Max scrabbled to the other end of the bath where the plug was and pulled hard on the chain.

The plug popped out of the hole and the water began to drain. It drained quite quickly too and Max soon realised that he had better work out how he was going to get the plug back in before too much water had gone. Being small meant Max’s arms were also quite titchy and he couldn’t get the plug in without going under the bathwater. There was nothing else for it, Max took a deep breath and with the plug in his hand, under he went.

It might have been the vortex of water swirling around the plughole that made it look so big. Or it could have been that Max was only little. Whatever it was, the water was being sucked down like a whirlwind. Max could feel the force as the water was pulled down the drain and began to wonder if he would be able to resist it. He was a good swimmer, but they didn’t have big sucky drains in the local swimming pool.

Max pushed onward, he had to get closer to the plughole if was to reinsert that plug. It looked tricky. It was tricky and Max was struggling to keep hold of the plug and swim against the force of the whirlpool. Then it happened.

As Max was reaching out to try and get a little purchase on the side of the bath, he slipped. Baths are like that. He slipped and twisted and fell toward the plughole putting his arms out to catch himself. Into the plughole went Max’s arms. That can’t be good, he thought. Max braced his feet on either side of the hole and pushed hard, trying to extract himself from the suction. But the pull of the water was too much and he slipped again. Max was now spinning with the whirlpool round and round he went with his arms and legs fixed firmly in the hole. This is definitely not good, thought Max as with a slurp he was pulled further into the drain.


That is an almost exact spelling of the sound Max made as he was finally pulled into the plughole and down the drain. This was not good at all.


 Chapter 2 – Slip, Slide & Wail.

“AAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH,” said Max as he zoomed down the drain like he was riding one of the slides at the water park.

“OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH,” said Max as he whooshed down a particularly whooshy bit of pipe that sent him going round and round and round.

“WHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE,” said a rat who was riding Max like a surfboard.

“UUUUURRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHH A RAT,” said Max who didn’t care much for rodents of any kind.

Max, slid and slod down the pipe, which seemed to be getting twistier, for what seemed like hours. In fact it wasn’t much more than a minute. But like all pipes, this one came to an end and an abrupt one at that.

Max shot from the pipe and now found himself flying through the air. Below him, he could see water in what appeared to be some kind of lake. Then the flying ended and the falling began.

“AAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH,” said Max as he plummeted toward the water.

SPPAAADOOOOOOOOSHHHH, went Max who suddenly found himself having his second bath of the day. He wasn’t at all happy about this, especially as this bath appeared to be much dirtier, much colder and, surprisingly, much smellier than his first.

Max sat in the filth for a while. He sat just long enough to see something brown and slimy drift past him and then he shot out of there as fast as he could. He was just scrabbling his way up the bank when he was surprised to find a hand reaching down to help him.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela Barton June 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Hi Gary
I loved it! I can see the illustrations so clearly in my mind. Have you sent it to any publishers?
Ange (@angebarton)


Mr Uku June 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Glad you like it Ange.
Sadly I’ve not finished writing it yet. The queue of publishers and agents will have to wait a little longer 🙂


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