Saturday, November 26, 2022 Nov 26, 2022
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Mythical Beasts

Ask John Neely Bryan: Why Are There ‘Barrel Monsters’ Along Interstate 35E?

There's danger along the highway.
By John Neely Bryan |

John Neely Bryan, Our Founder
John Neely Bryan, Our Founder
Question: I was driving up Interstate 35 over the weekend, and I spotted some strange statue. It looked like it was made of traffic barrels. This was when was I was headed north and just south of the lake in Lewisville. Any idea what that was? — Melissa H.

I must confess that I was initially unaware of the phenomenon of which you speak, as it remains my policy rarely to stray beyond the freeway nooses loops which surround our fair city and its denizens. My own capacious mind being nearly filled to its brim with an encyclopedic knowledge of all which truly matters in this world — that being, of course, all that relates to Dallas specifically and North Texas more generally — I find it necessary periodically to shuttle out the more useless bits of trivia. The information you seek is, quite likely, a casualty of just such an intellectual spring cleaning.

What you encountered, dear miss, is one of the legendary Barrel Monsters of 35E. These fearsome creatures have stalked the length of that abominable stretch of concrete prairie between Carrollton and Denton, near as I can gather from the recorded history, since the summer of ‘014.

You see, there was some “genius” big-shot at AGL Constructors, the company tasked with making the lives of Denton County motorists as much as possible like a daily trip through the fires of perdition. This was to be accomplished by means of a seemingly endless expansion effort code-named in the finest Orwellian fashion as “35 Express.”

What he and the rest of this nefarious publicly funded cabal didn’t figure on was just how dangerous the construction process would be to their own hard-hatted peons. Even aside from the risk posed to life and limb of those clocking in each day at a worksite set alongside auto-mobiles whizzing by at speeds our creator never intended for mankind, they likewise (more often, in point of fact) confront the probability that drivers brought to a near standstill will abandon their vehicles in favor of releasing pent-up rage upon the agents of their virtual captivity.

Witness AGL’s agents acting as Gods:


Thus, when you hear via the coldly calculated PR campaign behind this mess that the Barrel Monsters were initially part of a “National Safety Week” initiative designed to get drivers to slow down as they pass through the area, do not be foolish enough to lend it credence. For one, what logic does it make to take an action that encourages motorized carriage operators to come to a near stop in the midst of the freeway in a misguided attempt to grab selfies with such unusual sights?

This one clearly was conjured with the help of black magic.
This one clearly was conjured with the help of black magic.

No, these unholy beasts — trying to pass themselves off as friendly with names like “Emmet” and “Dumbo” — are nothing but orange-booted thugs designed to intimidate all passers-by. Good luck, as you lay your head upon your pillow tonight, not allowing your mind to stray back to their nightmarish visages or to ponder the inevitable outcome of their ill-considered birth: That day when lightning will strike each in turn, bringing them to life in pursuit of bloodthirsty revenge.


Securing the film rights as we speak,

John Neely Bryan is founder of the city of Dallas and an expert on all matters. For advice, to have a dispute adjudicated, or seeking wisdom on any of a myriad of topics, [email protected].

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