Stephen King is my favorite author, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get tired of him vacationing in my house for weeks on end. He can afford to go anywhere he wants, but for some reason he likes it in my house. One probable reason is that I make good cheese sandwiches. It’s gotten to the point where he doesn’t even ask nicely anymore–he just holds out his hand while watching TV or whatever, not even looking at me, and says, “Cheese sandwich.” I make the cheese sandwich, put it in his hand, and he starts eating it as though I didn’t exist. One of these days I’m going to hand him one of those microwave truck-stop cheese sandwiches just to see the look on his face when he bites into it.
He’s mad at me because I don’t have enough Stephen King movies on DVD. I’ve tried to explain that there just aren’t that many good Stephen King movies, but he thinks they’re all good. Sure, he said some of them weren’t very good in “Danse Macabre.” But he keeps going through my DVD collection and whining, “How come you don’t have ‘Cujo’? Where’s ‘Maximum Overdrive’?” All I have are “The Stand”, “Creepshow”, “The Green Mile”, and “Carrie”, which he’s watched several dozen times. I have a few more on videotape, but I have to run the VCR whenever he watches them because he thinks it has evil spirits in it. He thinks my car has evil spirits in it, too, because it leaks oil and the radio doesn’t work. I think he’s nuts, but I guess that’s why he’s such a good writer.
One night I fell asleep in my recliner and when I woke up, Stephen King was standing over me with that googly-eyed chipmunk grin on his face. He pointed at me and said “I’m gonna scare the hell outta you!” and then ran off down the hallway laughing. The next day he wrote “Delores Claiborne.” I read it but didn’t think it was all that scary, and he sulked for a week. So to get back at me, he started writing the screenplay for “Maximum Overdrive II: Second Gear” until I threatened to start buying an inferior brand of processed cheese-food slices.
For the longest time, I was afraid to tell him that I think “The Shining” is one of the worst horror movies ever made. We’d watch it over and over, and he’d gush “That was great, huh?” and I’d say, “Yeah, great.” Finally one night after we’d watched it for the umpteenth time he said “That was great, huh?” and I screamed “NO! NO! I HATE THAT MOVIE! I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT!!!” He fled the house, crying, and I didn’t see him again for two weeks. When he finally did show up again, he solemnly handed me a videotape without saying a word. I put it in the VCR and turned it on. A disheveled, visibly agitated Jack Nicholson glared angrily into the camera and growled, “You make me sick.” The next day, Stephen King completed his revenge against me by writing “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.”
Right now, he’s up in Maine somewhere doing who knows what, but he could show up again at any time. I never know when. I’m kind of scared that next time, he’ll bring Jack Nicholson with him. That’s the way his mind works–he knows there’s no way I’m going to say I hate “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson in the same room with me. I just hope they don’t stay very long, because you can only make so many cheese sandwiches before you start wanting to grab an axe and kill people with it. And the only Jack Nicholson movie I have on DVD is “Little Shop of Horrors”, which would probably make him even more pissed-off at me than he already is.