A.J. Walker


The Rusted Bucket

Mid Week Flash #207 - 07.07.21

The Rusted Bucket

The basement of the
Three Fishes was an intriguing place. It suggest a rather grand building above. But the Fishes - more affectionately known as The Rusted Bucket - was of bog standard design from some time when architects thought boxes were best; or at least a lot quicker to bang out for the planners. The ancient pub had burned down countless times over the centuries and other than mapped evidence you wouldn’t be able to tell from seeing the pub at ground level. It was one basic mother.

If you made it downstairs though it was like stepping back in time. Half of it was obscured by the mountains of kegs and casks of beers and old boxes. There were two rooms which were unhindered by the workings of the pub or of random storage of life. One small room in particular was noted for the oddness of the metal bath beneath a stone arch. It was such an odd place to put a bath. There was no heating in the room and no lighting or mirrors. People wondered whether there were fires taken down there to heat it. Some kind of old cast heaters. That must have been the answer.

But anyone who thought about it properly would say that was a nonsense. There was nowhere in that room for the smoke to escape. You’d end up choking in the smoke in that tiny place in no time. And then there was the height of the arch. It was so low that you’d have to slink out of the bath like liquid itself to get out without banging your head.

Lastly there was the fact that the bath seemed wider than the door in all dimensions. It seemed an impossible feat to get it in. And to what end if you can’t practically bathe in there?

The bath itself was an ever rusting feature. If you approached it you’d smell first the mould then taste the iron in the air from the rust. The whole room scared people. It became infamous and people would talk about it - and there were photos of it in the pub lounge and in several books on mysterious buildings. And locals called the
Fishes ‘The Rusted Bucket’ or even just the ‘Bucket’ - which often confused visitors to the town. But people rarely visited the room these days for fear of being “creeped out.” And that is why the landlord of the pub and part time successful cat burglar hid all his ill gotten booty in the pipe work - apparently- connecting the bath. He never feared anyone finding the diamonds and gold. No one was stupid or brave enough to look too close at the room. He prided himself on his luck and ingenuity - and whenever locals referred to the pub as the Rusted Bucket he would always say, ‘God bless the Rusted Bucket.’