DEVIL IN THE DRAIN by Daniel Pinkwater


Email this review


Pretty neat--in the customary offhand way. Shining a flashlight down the kitchen drainpipe, the young narrator spots a tiny orange head--the devil, just as he'd suspected. ""If I absolutely promise not to turn on the water, will you come up so I can see you?"" So begins a joust, with the devil and boy insisting they're not afraid of the other. What has been bothering the boy, it emerges, is losing a goldfish down the drain. And now the dialogue tenses-up. Devil: ""Poor fish--he probably trusted you."" Boy: ""I don't think he was smart enough to trust me or not trust me. Fish are dumb."" Devil: ""I heard him crying for help. You didn't even care."" Boy: ""I did care. But I didn't kill him on purpose."" It may have occurred to the reader, as Pinkwater now lets it occur to the boy, that the devil looks ""a little like a fish."" With some more raillery, the subject is dropped. The outcome? When the devil takes the boy's ""goodnatured"" provision of pretzels for fear, the boy turns on both taps, hard. And, he tells the sputtering, reproachful devil, he's not ashamed. On any level, buoyant. (Underneath, shrewd.)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1984
Publisher: Dutton