**To read part one of this story, click here**
It was early the next morning, and Chuck Verrill was already dealing with a number of fresh headaches. Stephen King was scheduled for a book signing at the Hue-Man Bookstore and Café on Frederick Douglass Boulevard and had awakened in a foul mood. He had discovered in a drunken rage the night before that not only was he incapable of writing, but that his mangled hands couldn’t even operate the emergency tape recorder he used to record spontaneous wafts of creativity. And so, King began the day by making a verbal list of twenty ridiculous demands regarding the limo ride to the bookstore, and Verrill was forced to oblige. These included:
-Pink Limo! PINK!
-Limo driver must wear horny gorilla mask. You’ll know he’s horny because of his bedroom eyes.
-A codpiece must hang off the radio antenna.
-All windows must be rolled ¾ of the way down. Including the windshield.
-A bowl of pistachios. And don’t just buy a bag of pistachios and put them in a bowl. You must buy a bowl of pistachio nuts and de-nut the nuts with your own two disgustingly healthy hands. If you cut corners, I’ll KNOW!
The bowl of pistachios was an especially sore point for Verrill, as when he placed it between King’s casts in the limo, the writer immediately catapulted it out of the ¾ open window, proclaiming, “This is your career, asshole.”
After a moment, he said “Write this down, Chuck: Literary agent plots revenge against an especially cruel client, but the client is too smart and talented to fall for the agent’s tricks, so the client kills him with mind power. It’ll be like Scanners, but better, because I’m Stephen King.”
“That’s a good idea, Stephen!” said Peter Straub. Straub had stayed in King’s hotel room closet the previous night, curled up in the fetal position, like a fetus.
Was Verrill finally looking at the real Stephen King? Certainly, when he’d had full use of his hands, King had at least seemed to possess a fair personality. He could even have been considered a kind man. Shirley Thompson certainly thought so. Shirley had proudly served as King’s gardener for the past fifteen years and had nothing but glowing praise for him. “He’s very generous with his money. I mean, think about it: We’re white.” As Chuck had quickly backed away from Shirley’s covert racism, she’d yelled “It’s just that white people ask for more money is all!” Indeed.
Fuel was added to this already scorching fire when King arrived at the bookstore only to find that, through some massive error, the store had been double-booked. King would have to share the floor with Zane, the popular erotic-fiction novelist responsible for such works as Honey Flava, Caramel Flava, and Chocolate Flava. King turned to hurl a string of expertly crafted obscenities at Verrill, but could only watch instead as the man in question ran out the front door, punched an eight-year old cyclist in the face and rode the child’s bike towards 125th street—and freedom. Once again, the day’s abuse would have to be taken out on Straub, an always-reliable whipping boy.
Unfortunately, Zane’s line was longer than King’s for most of the day, and King was well within earshot of Zane’s debaucherific praise:
“Your books make me so hot. Here’s my number.”
“Oh man, I read your book and touched myself eight times. Here’s my number.”
“You must get laid by everyone you see. Including me, in the future. Hell yeah.”
King could only dream of receiving such acclaim. Instead, his line consisted of nerds. Not even hot nerds, just nerdy nerds. And they came not with praise, but with only Wikipedia-esque knowledge of his works, replete with complaints:
“Is Randall Flagg from The Stand the same Randall Flagg as the Randall Flagg from Eyes of The Dragon? Cause’ they seem like different people.”
“You should adapt The Shining into a book! Maybe Jack Nicholson could be on the cover! Oh please oh please!”
“I’ve played your computer game? F13? Cute name by the way, but I can’t get a score higher than 50,000 points on the whack-a-zombie mini-game. I’d like my money back.”
King responded to the comments in curt monotone while fantasizing about all of the women in Zane’s line. Occasionally he would step five feet to the left and use Peter Straub’s back as a table to relieve some stress. This was particularly demeaning, considering that King could only sign books with his mouth. To make matters worse, the mechanics of this technique caused his signature, “Stephen King” to look like “Stabbin Dong.”
It was widely regarded throughout the literary world as the worst book signing to have ever occurred. Zane seemed to have had a brighter view of the matter, having later tweeted that she’d had a great time. At least until about seven ‘o clock.
At this fated hour, the book signing had just concluded, and Zane had slowly approached King’s table. She moved well for a fortysomething, but like most writers of erotic fiction, she was not that attractive. Of course, in the literary world, only the mind is drooled over.
“Hi there,” Zane said. “I can’t say that I read your stuff too much, but my son just loves it.”
“Thanks,” King replied.
“I can’t say that he even used to love reading before he started reading your books, but now? Now it seems that he wants to be a writer himself.” This gave King pause.
You could see it in his face after Zane’s compliment: He was reliving his childhood. He was back in his attic, reading his father’s copy of H.P. Lovecraft’s Lurker in The Shadows. He was looking up at Lovecraft and suddenly he began to grow. But no matter how tall he got, Lovecraft kept getting taller and taller. And when King was tall enough he looked down and saw Zane’s son, looking up at him. Was this his purpose? Was he writing to become equal with giants, or to inspire midgets?
King’s contemplation was shattered when Zane placed a book in front of him to sign. King, at this point, was perfectly willing to write a message above his autograph meant to encourage the young upstart. However, the book was Ender’s Game. Zane had mistakenly thought that Stephen King was Orson Scott Card.
King’s eye twitched involuntarily. “I’m not Orson Scott Card.”
Zane took a step back, confused. “Then who are you? When they told me you were the guy who wrote about children with special powers, I only assumed…”
King slowly rose out of his chair, breathing heavily. “First of all, Ender doesn’t have powers; he’s just very smart and organized! I write about children with powers!”
“But what about the guy that wrote this book?”
“He’s ripping me off! Everyone rips me off!”
“But you said his kid didn’t have powers.”
“AGH! I’m Stephen King! I wrote IT!”
“Oh wow, I’m actually working on a book with a similar title. IT…IS SO BIG. It’s about a penis.”
King’s only reply to this comment was to turn around, punch Peter Straub in the kidney with his plaster-covered right hand and walk out the door back to his hotel.
There was no pink limo to assist Stabbin Dong in his walk of shame, and, alas, Lovecraft looked taller than ever.