8 Stephen-King-Inspired Short Stories I Intend to Write (Or Die Trying)

Like many people, I grew up reading Stephen King. Then I went to college where my literature professors pooh-poohed the Master of the Macabre. Still, I hold King in high regard because he was a part of my adolescence as much as Journey and Jordache Jeans were. Now, I’m older. I rarely listen to Journey, and I no longer wear Jordache Jeans. I am a writer which explains my aversion to fashion as well as bands that should have retired long ago. One difficulty in being a writer, at least for me, is that there just isn’t enough time to get down on paper all the stories that create a tempest in my head 24-7-365. So, I’m starting lists. The following is one such list: eight short stories inspired by Stephen King that I intend to write one day.

1. The Thing In the Basement: A tale concerning a man named Dale Cobb who returns to his elderly parents’ home to find an old bicycle behind the furnace. Dale’s parents are hoarders. They have kept all of his belongings, including the old bicycle upon which a much younger Dale nearly killed himself several times. After reliving four such near-death episodes in flashback, the adult Dale takes the bicycle out for a ride. Since it’s a King-inspired story, it will, inevitably, be Dale’s last bike ride.

 2. Floor 666: High-powered art dealer Roland Joyce finally leases the office space he’s always wanted, but he’s not the only tenant on his floor. Across the hall from Joyce’s practice is an export firm: INRI, LTD. Joyce thinks he knows who runs the mysterious export firm, and he’s not about to be upstaged by the Jewish carpenter across the hall.

 3. Bareback Tough Guys: The afterlife is hard, even for literary greats Ernest Hemingway and Norman Mailer. This is a tale about what happens when bitter men let love lead the way. This one will be a tough sell, what with all the ensuing depravity borne from pent-up frustrations.  

 4. Clean-Up in Aisle 9: Did I mention the man-love tryst between Hemingway and Mailer in the afterlife takes place inside a supermarket at night? Well, it does. Linoleum, as it turns out, is a natural stimulant for the dead. This tale would be Part II of Bareback Tough Guys. Each morning Randy Wentzer, the supermarket manager, gets to work early to find a mysterious substance in aisle 9. Naturally, he blames his lethargic overnight shift employees for the ectoplasmic bio-hazard.  

 5. Luck Be A Lizard Tonight: Joe Flagstaff, a degenerate gambler, meets a mysterious woman who gives him an invite to a high-stakes card game. When Flagstaff arrives at the address the woman gave him, he soon discovers that the players are all out of this world. No one plays for money. What’s at stake is Flagstaff worthless life, and one of the aliens at the table has taken a particular shine to the human player.

 6. Balls to the Wall: German heavy metal stars Eisen Hog visit an old castle in Bavaria for a photo shoot only to find a ghostly festival in-progress. Before the night is over, Eisen Hog members must dance the Schuhplattler or face an eternity among the castle’s ghostly inhabitants. Sharing in a rich tradition of folk dance would seem an honor, but not for these metal heads. They couldn’t slap their own shoes if their lives depended on it.

 7. Southie-pocalypse: An army facility is compromised by home-grown terrorists. In the wake of the attack, a manufactured virus seeps from its damaged container and spreads across country. Before long, even the most well-articulated, intelligent people turn into wicked igits.

 8. A Prickly Pear: A fruit vendor unwittingly sells an exotic fruit rumored to contain natural aphrodisiacs that is grown on land that was once a potter’s field where the criminally insane were buried. Before long, customers discover that the pears shoot poisonous darts into their mouths. Hilarity ensues.

Ten Types of People I Avoid for Sanity’s Sake

Over the years, I have learned to ask these traveling hucksters if they have a minute to hear about apostolic succession which usually gives me enough time to slam the door in their faces.

  1. The Know-It-All:

Cliff Clavin

We’ve all met this type. Say for example you’re heavy into a conversation with a theoretical physicist at a dinner party or a barbeque (what? it could happen…). Out of nowhere comes the Cliff Clavin in sheep’s clothing, espousing all kinds of nonsense he’s read on the internet (and we know it must be true if it’s on the internet, right?). He’s not afraid to go to toe with specialists in a field like astrophysics, having memorized names like Einstein, Feynman, Greene, and the ubiquitous Neil de Grasse Tyson from whose television series Cosmos he will quote from diligently but never give proper credit where it’s due. And it doesn’t stop at theoretical physics. These people are shameless. The Know-It-Alls, or KIAs, understand the basic workings of everything under the sun. Just ask them. They will tell you, going on ad nauseum if you let them. KIAs will tell a carpenter how to frame out a house without having taken a wood shop class much less worked in construction. Ditto for writing books. Never mind that the KIA couldn’t string a sentence together if his life depended on it, but he will tell you all you need to know about what constitutes a good novel and what tropes one should avoid in storytelling.

  1. The Eternal Questioner:


The EQ (Eternal Questioner) is often a friend or a colleague whose sentences conclude with an upending inflection that turns even the most demonstrative statement into a question. Example: “If my boss doesn’t get off my back, I am going to quit this job?”

  1. The Closed Loop:


The best place to encounter this breed is in their natural habitat called Facebook. They are known to prowl other social media as well; such as Twitter. Loopers, as I like to call them, seem utterly unaware of any other positions with regard to politics, religion, life, the universe, everything. They will never entertain someone else’s point of view; no matter how well-informed someone outside their closed loop of thinking might be. They are the ones who complain about neighborhoods changing (read: minorities moving in to their once-predominately white neighborhood), they are the ones who have it on good authority that President Barack Obama is in fact a high-level member of Al Qaeda sent to these United States to ruin our country , and they cannot accept any idea that threatens the very foundation of their otherwise limited perception of reality.

  1. The Blindly Devoted, Serial Alien Contactees, and Other Assorted Creepoids:

tinfoil hats

This would include Jehovah Witnesses and anyone else compelled to go to door-to-door to dole out conversion. Over the years, I have learned to ask these traveling hucksters if they have a minute to hear about apostolic succession which usually gives me enough time to slam the door in their faces. I am equally suspicious of those who commune directly with angels, extra-dimensional entities, or dare I say even God. Seriously. Whenever someone mutters “Because the Bible tells me so,” I generally back away calmly and vacate the area.

  1. The Perennial Conspiracy Nut:


At some point in their lives, Perennial Conspiracy Nuts, or PCNs, were in touch with reality (at least the reality that rational people share); but this is no longer the case. The average PCN is out of touch—typically with their family and often the most basic of human needs. PCNs know all about The Illuminati, UFOs, 9/11, the JFK Assassination, and those pesky lenticular clouds they often mistake for chem trails. Plenty of theory to go around, but no hard evidence…ever.

  1. The Self-Proclaimed Gifted Writer:


Any writer my age or younger who openly professes to other writers my age or younger to be better than the following writers:

  1. Vladimir Nabokov
  2. Flannery O’Connor
  3. Joyce Carol Oates
  4. Robert Stone
  5. Dorothy Allison
  6. Thomas Pynchon

etc, etc.

  1. The Henry Rollins Is a Literary God Mob:


This includes anyone who thinks Henry Rollins spoken word work is better than the aforementioned writers in #6. One only needs to visit the homes of these types and see the lack of books in their possession to know just how badly they have been duped.

  1. Tea Baggers in All of Their Full Tea Baggery:

tea party npr

  1. Militant Femi-Nazis:


Really, we get it. Please just stop.

  1. Animal Rights Nuts:


This would include anyone with an affiliation to any number of animal advocacy/rights groups whose position on the homeless problem in this country (and around the world) is for said homeless to get a job and their troubles would be over. How anyone can advocate for the rights of animals but turn a blind eye to the homeless, as if they are someone else’s problem, is beyond me. Perhaps one day rescued animals will turn on their masters, and the homeless can move into the vacated domeciles of the recently departed.