- Alice Wheeler
I first wrote about it back in 2002, for The Stranger's Topography of Terror feature:
You've seen it. Just east of Broadway on the north side of John Street, there it sits, scuffed and askew, its only neighbor an equally clobbered phone booth. Both devices seem to be from another time, like '70s relics ejected from a satellite time capsule and crash-landing on Capitol Hill. The aura of '70s suburbia surrounding the pay phone and Coke machine borders on the surreal; rub your eyes and you can imagine Mackenzie Phillips, a teenage willow in flares, plunking down her quarters for a Mr. Pibb from this very machine, then dialing her dealer from this very phone. But it isn't the '70s, and you don't want to rub your eyes, because you've just stumbled on Seattle's most terrifying vending machine.
Like all truly frightening things, the Coke machine near the corner of John and Broadway is mysterious to the core. How did this hunk of spray-painted metal and faux wood paneling come to be here, across from the weird-smelling bookstore and in front of the funky key shop? Who owns this Coke machine? Who restocks it? There are no answers....
Read the whole thing here.
Now, twelve years later, Seattle's terrifying Coke machine gets its own writeup at Vice.com. Enjoy!