Stephen King sat on a stool in the back corner of his New York City bar, both hands placed gently on the small bar table in front of him, and casually looked at the many inebriated attendants to his newest book release party. His occasional co-writer and man bitch, Peter Straub, held a glass of cold diet coke with a straw. When King asked for it, Straub lifted the straw to King’s lips, and the great writer angrily grabbed it with his mouth and forced the diet soda into his gullet. King would gladly have grabbed the glass himself, but unfortunately, his hands were coated in plaster of Paris. Indeed, Stephen King’s hands were broke.
And what is Stephen King without his hands? The tools he uses to craft his intricate worlds and characters with ocean-like depth? Without them, “all-that-is” begins to break down. The talking anteaters, rabid dogs and problem drinkers that inhabit his works disappear, leaving nothing but empty hotels and multiple ghost towns dotting the northern American landscape. In fact, the whole state of Maine becomes empty, no longer the nexus of the entire universe.
The breaking had happened innocently enough. King had been in the office of his literary agent, Chuck Verrill, explaining the plot to his latest novel, tentatively named Crab Claw. Verrill had found the plot to this new outing particularly complicated. He’d had a number of questions, which King did not take kindly to.
“So the monster, see, instead of hands, he has crab claws, you see? Crab claws for hands?” King had explained.
“Alright, I understand that, but how does he kill people?”
“With his crab claws, you genius!” King had stood up and begun pacing the room. “He was not high on cocaine,” the agent would later remark, “just on his idea.”
“But if he kills people with his claws, why wouldn’t the police just look for the guy that has crab claws for hands?”
“Because they can’t find him! AGH! You are so stupid!”
“Why can’t they find him?”
“Because he’s invisible!” King had then slammed two clenched fists down on Verrill’s desk, breaking both wrists and two fingers per hand. One lengthy hospital visit later, King’s magical hands were trapped in plaster prisons. Needless to say, his mood had been… affected.
King snapped out of his reverie. The bar was unusually busy, no doubt due to the presence of King himself, along with a few other young celebrities drawn to its charm. Legend has it that Lena Dunham once remarked that the establishment was stuck in the seventies (an odd remark, considering Dunham had never experienced a minute of the seventies). This night, the bar was accommodating Robert Pattinson, known for his role as Edward Cullen, the brooding vampire hero of the Twilight series. Pattinson was playing pool at a table next to the window and was unusually dressed for the casual bar, wearing a designer sport jacket with matching slacks and a smart dress shirt. The clothes looked new and expensive. By comparison, everyone else in the bar looked like a drunken bridge hobo.
King eventually noticed Pattinson. He was looking for a fight that night, and had found a perfect, well-dressed excuse. King stood up, knocking the drink out of Peter Straub’s hand, and yelled “What the hell is this?” for everyone to hear. His Timberland-booted feet carried him to the pool table, behind the slender actor.
“Hey,” King shouted in his trademark nasal, pinched voice, “what the hell are you wearing?”
“Oh, it’s a Prada suit,” Pattinson shot back. “Just got it today.”
“Looks expensive,” King said. “What do you do?”
Pattinson’s expression sank. “I’m an actor,” he said. “Have you seen Twilight?”
“Like the zone or the time of day?” King slurred.
“Like the movie?” Pattinson was quickly becoming uncomfortable, but at the same time eager to please. “I’ve got a new one coming out later this year. They’re gonna call itPsychic Child.”
King did not respond.
“It’s about a psychic child?” Pattinson’s legs shifted slightly. “It’s really cool. I don’t think it’s ever been done before.”
King used his encased forearms like tongs to snatch the pool cue out of Pattinson’s hand. “Never been done before? Psychic children has never been done before?”
Peter Straub ran across the bar to try and calm King down. “Easy Steve, you don’t want to start any trouble–“
“Peter, when I want to give you an opinion, I’ll write it down and then let you share credit with me for it!” King swung the pool cue wildly, knocking Straub’s own drink out of his hand before turning back to the young upstart.
“I’m Stephen King! I invented psychic children!” At this point, the bouncer tried to intervene. He got between King and Pattinson and attempted to coax the younger man out of the bar. But King would have none of it.
“Hey, hey! I’m trying to talk to Edward Cullen, get outta the way,” King said, giving away the information that he had, in fact, at least heard of Twilight. At this point, Pattinson handed King the slightest of smirks and walked towards the bar’s exit door. Of course, King caught this gesture.
“Don’t you smirk at me, Mister Smirkson! Mister Smirky McSmirckson! I’m gonna write a book about you, you son of a bitch! It’s gonna be called Smirky the Smirk! And you’ll kill people with smirks and you’ll never get caught by the police because you’ll be invisible.” King dropped the wooden stick and slammed his cast-covered hands down on the pool table, letting out a yelp, much like a dog with a stepped-on foot. Nothing was re-broken, but it hurt like hell.