Tag Archives: horror

I Visit Stephen King Again

18 Feb

“Editor!” I yell, throwing my coat onto the secretary’s desk. “Editor, I need you!” I begin to spin around, my arms outstretched. “Editor!” I scream again. “I’m a hurricane of anger and I need you to come be my low pr–” Just at that moment, the door at the rear of the small office flies open. Editor races through it.

“He needs me to be his  low pressure system,” Editor says under his breath. He brings his arms in tightly across his chest and begins to spin in the opposite direction as me. “Here I come! I’m a low pressure system of calm. Here we go.” We start to collide, my fists pounding Editor at shoulder-level. Editor cringes slightly at the first, heavy blows, but as I slow down, we break into a warm, subdued embrace.

“I’m a cool autumnal breeze,” I whisper in Editor’s ear.

“I’m a leaf breaking from my mother tree and returning to the Earth,” he whispers back in mine.

“I’m completely erect,” I whisper back. Editor pushes off, grabs me by the arms, and briskly moves me back.

“What can I help you with, Kyle?”

“Editor, we need to talk business,” I say.

“By all means. Let’s go to my office.”

We go to Editor’s office, and I sit in the padded chair in front of his desk. “Editor,” I say, “I need to talk to Stephen King and I need to do it now.”

Editor seems none surprised. He simply opens his small, leather-bound datebook and points to a date close to the front cover. “Here. King is doing some press for his new book, Under the Dome. I could probably get you in later today if you’re ready.”

“Ready?! I was born!”

Editor sits quietly. The room is completely silent. “You were born what?”

“I was born! Let’s do the interview.”

“I don’t think you finished the expression, but I just don’t think you care anymore,” Editor sighs. He then closes the datebook and slides it next to a pile of papers on his desk. “I know you and Stephen have a fairly close relationship,” he says, “but I feel like you aren’t really as ready as you may think you are, and that maybe you and I should go over some questions for you to ask Stephen in your interview.”

“Ah, come on!” I yell, waving my hand at him. “Who needs questions when you’ve got born?!”

Editor furrows his brow and tilts his head slightly. “Are you all right?”

“Am I all right?! Why do you ask?”

“You’re talking weird. And for the last three or four minutes you’ve been just pointing at different things in my office with no real rhyme or reason.”

“I’m feeling good. I just had a mix up this morning.”

“Mix up?”

“I tried to get loaded on a bottle of Dayquil thinking it was Nyquil, realized my mistake, then drank the Nyquil too. When’re we getting started?” I reach out and throw Editor’s pencil cup against the wall, scream my mother’s name, and leave the room.

By the time I reach Stephen’s home, I’m bubbling over with excitement. When I say bubbling over I mean I threw up a little bit and hid it under the cabbie’s seat.

“I love Stephen King!” I tell the cabbie.

“What smells like Ted Danson’s balls back there?” he asks me.

“Ted Danson’s balls,” I say, calmly pointing to Ted Danson’s exposed scrotum. Ted Danson and I were sharing a cab. He raises his hand to the cabbie sheepishly. He then tucks his balls back into his pants and quietly apologizes to both of us.

I give the fare to the cabbie and step out to King’s estate. It is exactly as I remember it from the last time I was here. I breathe in the crisp Maine air. “Honey, I’m home!” I yell, pushing the gate open. I skip all the way to the front door.

When I press the button on the right side of the door frame, I’m greeted by the refreshing, rustic sound of an old-time door bell. “How delightful.” I say. The door opens. In it stands Stephen King.

“Stephen!” I say opening my arms for a hug. He reaches out and slaps me flatly across the face. My head jerks back from the force of the blow. Lightly touching my cheek, I look up at Stephen with tears in my eyes.

“Hey there, boy!” Stephen exclaims, taking a step forward and hugging me tight. His mixture of violence and affection fills me with both anger, confusion, and deep, devoted love. He’s just eccentric, I think. He’s just an artist.

He leads me down the entry corridor and into his living room, where two chairs sit facing one another. One is large, pecan-colored, and leather. Its arms are heavily padded and it has a very nice worn-in look. The other is a fairly standard recliner with a cloth, paisley covering. Before I’m able to sit down in the cloth chair, Stephen reaches out and grabs my arm.

“No, no, no. Allow me.” He lights a match and sets the chair ablaze. “Please,” he says, gesturing toward the burning chair while settling into its leather counterpart, “Please sit. Sit in the hot seat!” He laughs wildly, the pitch ascending to a tittering shrillness.

“Stephen, I’m interviewing you. Shouldn’t you be in the hot seat?” I ask, smiling nervously, gripping my pad with white-knuckle desperation.

“I suppose you’re right,” Stephen says, epiphany dawning in his eyes. He leaps onto the chair and is almost immediately on fire.

“Oh God.” I say. Quickly, I run to a pitcher full of water. Stephen is fidgeting and flailing about like a man in the midst of a seizure.

“YOU SEE?!” he yells. “YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DARE AMERICA’S MASTER OF HORROR TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE?!

“Oh yea,” I say, leaning slightly to the left to get a different vantage point. “Oh…Hey, do you want me to put you out?”

“NO! NO! THAT’S WHAT MY BATS ARE FOR. BATS!” Stephen calls out. From the chimney, several hundred bats flood the room. They douse Stephen King in guano. When the bats leave, America’s most prolific lord of ghouls and bumps-in-the-night sits, one leg crossed over the other, hands clasped and resting on one knee, his head tilted slightly. His face is held in a position of aloof coolness and his entire body–head to toe–is covered in bat shit. “So what’s your first question?” he asks.

My Day With Stephen King

5 Aug

Have you ever seen The Shining? Have you ever seen Carrie? Have you ever seen It? These are all movies based on stories by Stephen King–America’s number one horror factory. I recently learned that one of my favorite films, The Shawshank Redemption, is also based on a book of his.

As a writer myself, I can’t help but admire King’s ability to craft fine narrative and create believable characters. I had my editor get in touch with Stephen King’s people, and he agreed to let me shadow him for a day.

I reached his beautiful Maine estate at noon. I got out of the taxi and looked at the gate in front of King’s home. The gate has been constructed to resemble a spider web. Atop each column sits an iron bat statue. I take a few steps forward and reach my quivering hand out to open the black metal latch. A car honk from behind makes me nearly leap out of my skin.

“EY! You gonna pay me ah what?” The driver of my taxi yelled from behind me. He sounds like a mean Will Hunting.

“I’m going to–” I pause, still set off-kilter by the home’s appearance. “Where I’m going, driver–” I look to the house. “There is no ‘fare.’ There is only blood and terror. There is also shit tons of money–most of which, I’m guessing, is kept in an underground vault that Stephen goes swimming in.” I dream of Scrooge McDuck.

“You gonna get any uh dat money to pay me with?”

“Hey man, how about you get out of here and stop ruining this moment for me? Seriously.” I issue him a dismissive hand wave and walk towards the gate. An empty Miller Lite can hits me in the back of the head and the driver pulls away.

I open the gate and it offers little resistance. I take a moment to remark at how well lubricated the hinges are. After a few seconds, however, I come to my senses and jump away. The hinges are probably lubricated with blood.

I reach the door of King’s beautiful Victorian-style home and knock tentatively. The door opens and there stands Stephen King. He looks so nice. He looks like a Muppet maybe.

Handsome.

So disarming.

“Hello.” He says. “Iron Kyle, I presume?”

“Yes sir. Stephen King, I presume?” We share a brief laugh, then the room goes cold.

“Of course it’s fucking Stephen King.” He says, suddenly very angry. “This is my house. Come in, but don’t talk to me for a while.”

We go inside and enter Stephen’s office. He sits at his computer and starts to work. There’s really nowhere for me to sit except a chair with a big knife taped to it. He turns, seeing my confusion, and gestures towards the seat. He’s obviously annoyed, and glares sharply at me before turning back to his work. Stephen King is so eccentric. He’s such an artist. That’s why he treated me the way he did. He’s just brilliant. [Editor’s Note: Kyle’s only saying that because he’s afraid Stephen will read this and send something through the computer at him.]

Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day, usually taking between four and six hours. Today it took eight because Stephen kept stopping to turn around and flick paper clips at me. When I asked him to stop, he’d tell me “I’ll stop…as soon as you also have the Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Do you have that?” to which I’d usually respond with a deep, deep sigh.

After Stephen finished his 2,000 words, he took me on a walk of his estate. By this time, night had fallen, the stars and moon in full view. It’s truly beautiful, and not at all that haunted. It is a little haunted, though.

We walked along the beautiful Cedars. The grass was full and deep green. Birds could be heard calling to each other amongst the warm coastal air.

“Stephen, what inspires you to write the way you do?” Stephen begins to answer when he suddenly halts his step and looks around almost frantically.

“Hey, Kyle. Did you hear that?” Stephen asks.

“Hear what, Stephen?”

“I think it’s…I think it’s a ghost!”

Oh god! Where do you hear it?” I’m getting scared.

“Oh wait…here it comes again.” Stephen looks around and farts. The smell is almost unbearable. I hate Stephen King. He laughs hysterically, punches me on the arm a little too hard and walks back to his house.

He shows me my guest room and I go to sleep. The next morning over breakfast Stephen allows me to ask him a few questions about his success as an author.

“Stephen, you’ve had so many great books. Several of those have been adapted into film. Which film do you feel most accurately defines the tone and message of the book it was derived from?” Stephen thought on this for some time.

“Star Wars.”

“What?”

“Star Wars.”

“That’s not one of your books. You can’t–” At this point, Stephen looks up and points his knife at me.

“Star Wars.” He says.

“OK, next question.” Stephen King reaches over and wipes his mouth with a twenty dollar bill. I look down and notice his coasters are all DVD’s of The Mist.

I heard you’re going to work with J.J. Abrams on and adaptation of your Dark Tower series. Is this true?”

“Hold on. Tweeting.” He then holds his phone up, facing me. I hear a click. I log on later that day to see what he said.

“@JJAbrams Writer kid asking about Drk Twr movies. Looks like a gayer Shia LeBeouf. Pic: http://bit.ly/uf0jX”

We finished our interview without serious interruption and after awhile I packed my things and left. Stephen King made a few rude jokes about my mom and told me my blog sucked before I left.

What a fantastic weekend!

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