Monday, December 25, 2006

Think Stephen King

I was a Stephen King fan long before I met The Husband.
A friend introduced me to Mr. King's genius with "Misery", and I was hooked.

At the time, I held a low-level radio job where my entire job description consisted of replacing giant reels of music when they ran out.
They ran out about once every three hours.
The only reason I needed to sit there for three hours between swaps was in case a tape broke, which would be bad... and which happened only once in the two years I worked there.

Did I mention that this was a night job?
Everyone left the building at 5pm, and I was alone until midnight when the next guy would let himself in and take over.

I mention all of this only to illustrate the long hours with no one to talk to and nothing to do. Long, empty hours which I filled with reading.
Stephen King books.
At night.
Just soaking in scary stuff.

Add to this the midnight relief guy's annoying habit of sneaking in quietly and jumping out at me from the dark.  Jerk.

Still, as scared as I was by his writing, I liked Stephen King's books that much.


If you're not familiar with Stephen King, he tells a darned good story. Spins one heck of a "what if" tale. (ie. The Stand: What if a superflu bug was released into the general population?)
Of course, in a Stephen King story, there's always something very creepy going on.
There's a scary animal...
A dark forest...
Some crazy person...
A possessed object...
Supernatural evil...

Once the husband learned I was a huge King fan, gift-giving for him got very easy.
If I didn't have the book on my shelf, he'd buy it.
He's so smart.

After we married, we lived in a small town in northern Wisconsin.
Check a map. Towns are few and far between in northern Wisconsin.
Bored one day, we hopped in the car and went for a drive.
No where in particular.
Just exploring.
"I wonder what's this way?"

Turns out, there are a LOT of old farm houses and barns that are converted into antique malls in northern Wisconsin.

After about the billionth antique mall on our meandering drive, we took a right turn onto an unmarked road.
"I wonder what's this way?"
"Probably another antique mall."

The road was bordered on both sides with trees.
Trees as far as you could see.
Okay, yes, we were driving through a forest.

And then the pavement ended. But the road did not.
We kept driving.

"This is weird."
"Yeah. Have you noticed there haven't been any driveways lately?"
"Or antique malls."
"Creepy. It's starting to look like a Stephen King novel, here."
"Uh huh. I'll keep driving."

Then the road narrowed.

"Where are we?"
"Can we turn around?"
"Turn around where? The trees are kinda thick."
"Yeah, I noticed they've been blocking out the sun a bit."
"How far have we been driving?"
"About a mile."
"This has to come out somewhere, doesn't it?"

And then... we were on a dirt path with grass and weeds growing between the worn tire tracks.

"Is this someone's driveway?"
"Like Stephen King's driveway?"
"Shut up."

Right about the time I was going to suggest we just start backing out of where ever the heck we were, the husband stopped the car.

"What's wrong?" I asked.
"Nothing," he replied. "Just think Stephen King."

And he put the car in reverse.

"Are you going to back all the way out of here?"
"I wanna show you something."
"Show me what?"
"Just think Stephen King."

When he stopped the car again, he looked at me.
"You ready?"
"I don't see anything." Just more trees.
"I know. "

He told me to lean over to his window and look about six feet up the trunk of the nearest tree.
"And think Stephen King."

I leaned.
I thought.

And right there, about six feet up the trunk of the nearest tree was a little branch nubbin.

Hanging from it...
... a mile into a forest...
... with no driveways or any other signs of human habitation...
... a small, pink sneaker.

Just one.

"That. Is wrong."
"Good. Now lock your door. We're getting out of here."

Eventually, the two-rut path led out to a marked road, and we sped home chuckling nervously about our experience, occasionally muttering, "Think Stephen King."

Fast forward through 15 years of muttering "Think Stephen King" every time something remotely creepy occurred. We said it so often, it became part of our family vernacular.
The children were smart enough to figure out what it meant, but one day they finally asked why we used the phrase to express creepiness.
So, we told them about the drive through the woods and the one pink sneaker.

During a windy day last week, the boys were walking home from school across a deserted parking lot when they both had to pause.

A tiny, purple stocking/bootie rolled across their path.

Elder Son turned to Younger Son.
"Think Stephen King," he said.


Dear Stephen King;

If you are in the habit of "Googling" yourself (and really, who of us isn't?) and you happen to have stumbled across this story (buried somewhere in the nearly 7 million Google entries), now you have proof that, while others may only say so, our whole family truly is thinking of you.



Anonymous said...

I read your story about the amazing color changing pants...I've been searching for those pants! Can you please post where you found them?

Roses said...

anonymous 2: Oh, you're serious? The last time when you asked, you mentioned rubber pants and I thought you were the perv who found my blog by Googling "naked boys".


Richmond said...

Ooooohhhhh..... That whole one pink sneaker thing would have totally creeped me out!

Roses said...

Harvey: Now, THAT's funny!

vw bug said...

ROTFLMAO!!! You have me beat!!!

Mrs. Who said...

Those stories are funny during the day. But at night...I don't do Stephen King or scary stuff at night.