(Edit: I have been asked to remind everyone that there is an RSS feed, both for the blog and for the comic. Also, a couple of pages have been switched, so that people coming to the website for the first time will hit the comic first, and not the blog. If you have the pages bookmarked, you won’t be affected. —K.)
Lena woke me up a little while ago. I was making distressed-sounding noises in my sleep and she figured I must have been having a bad dream. It was a reasonable assumption — I don’t know if she could understand the words I was saying, but if she could have, they would have been, “Get away from me… get away from me…”
The actual dream was a little weirder than that.
I was working at a tiny organic food store, the back half of which was a home. It didn’t come up so I’m not sure if I lived there or not. Because the store was built of someone’s house it was a series of small rooms connected by open doorways instead of one large space like most grocery stores. There were other folks working there with me, all of them friends of mine, one of whom happened to be Stephen King.
Stephen was returning to the well, so to speak, and writing a sequel to the movie Maximum Overdrive, (notTrucks, the short story that movie was loosely based on) wherein a passing comet gives off a strange radiation that brings self-awareness to the Earth’s mechanical and electronic devices. Unfortunately, the one thing that all previously inert appliances, tools, conveyances, and toys have in common is that they wake up surly, and so naturally the first thing they want to do is Kill All Humans. Maybe they feel unfulfilled. Who knows? Maybe they were just pissed at having been cast for such an awful movie. Even King hated it, and he directed the thing.
The new and improved movie was to be a tale set in the same time span as Overdrive, but in a different location. Stephen liked the idea of the menacing soda vending machines from the first movie, but wanted a new way to make them scary. Bullet cans were been-there, done-that. The vending machines in our store (why were there vending machines in my organic grocery store?) were in a small room leading to the bathroom. There were three. I walked into the room while Stephen — now looking suspiciously like my old high school friend Phil Leonard — stood in the next room over taking notes. I began running back and forth in the room simulating panic, as mentally I moved (in my dreams I am telekinetic) the vending machines into my way to block the exits. I moved the machines in closer and closer, leaning them forward until it seemed they must fall forward and smash me, but then dived out of the way at the last moment when two of them crashed into each other. Stephen/Phil nodded appreciatively and scribbled furiously into his notepad.
Feeling I was on a roll, I began casting about the store, looking “desperately” for an exit. I knew the layout well, so whenever I got close to the actual door I would spin in a circle and stagger off in a new direction, making it look to my eyes as if the store wound on forever. I invented a bogeyman of sorts to chase me through the store, a small man, part circus midget, part creepy ventriloquist dummy. (I specifically picked this look because of how much it wigs Lena out. I wanted my ideas for Stephen/Phil’s book to be scary!) As I ran, I picked up a wooden stick to bat at my tormentor.
Finally, I ended up in the living room in back of the store. Stephen/Phil was already there, pad at the ready, waiting to see what I would do next. Dramatically, I fell to my knees as my hunter came from around a sofa, slowly approaching me with his hands held up and fingers curled like some cartoon monster. I poked at him ineffectually with my stick with one hand, and pressed the back of my other hand to my forehead in a gesture that would make any Italian Catholic mother proud, as I cried out “Get away from me… get away from me…”
The last thing I remember is Stephen/Phil grinning as he feverishly scribbled saying, “This is great… this is gonna be great…”
And then Lena was rubbing my arm, trying to wake me gently from what had to seem like a terrible dream. It wasn’t, and had actually been kinda fun, helping Stephen King write his new screenplay… but I can’t really be too mad at Lena.
It would have made an awful movie.