Horror Story

Know what I love about Stephen King? Not his prose, though he sometimes strings together some memorable ones, like the guy who watched his wife’s blood “run away red into the night,” or something like that. No, what’s wonderful about him is that he can take something totally ordinary and turn it into something totally horrifying. Take a pair of wind-up clacking teeth, the kind you buy in novelty stores. Or a pair of sneakers. Read what ol’ Steve does with these and I guarantee that every time you look at those oh-so-humdrum everyday things you’ll always be reminded of what they could become if you turn that cosmic corner–a nightmare from which you can’t, and will never wake up.

It happened to me, once. Seriously.

Remember the novella/TV movie Langoliers? The one about the jet turning that cosmic corner and flying into yesterday? Remember the crazy dude who ripped paper into shreds in order to calm himself? Well, one day I had to go with my then-boss to this meeting. I was sitting across the table from him. Halfway through the meeting, my boss flips open his notepad to the last page and starts slowly tearing it into little strips, just like that guy in the movie. Scared me down to my drawers, especially since I’d just watched it (pretty good, Hollywood didn’t mess it up). Scarier still, later that day not only did I have to get on a plane, I had to get on a plane with him

But nothing happened after all that. The jet didn’t fly into yesterday, and my boss didn’t turn into a crazed murderer. In other words, I got to wake up.

That’s what Stephen King does to you. And that’s why, IMHO, he’s so good.

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