Kisses in the Dark: My Review of Summer Thunder

SK short story

For some reason, I just love books, short stories, movies, television show, you name it, that make me cry.  And the uglier the cry, the better.  And don’t ask me why this is the case, although my monthly Netflix subscription fee that allowed me to binge-watch Sons of Anarchy over several weeks could be argued (well, actually it is) to be much cheaper than a therapist’s hourly bill.

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And along with Kurt Sutter, Stephen King has been one of my therapists over the years.  He is probably the doc I have spent the most time with…

Cleaner 3

Divorce got you down?  Uncle Stevie to the rescue!  Job sucks?  Uncle Stevie has the best cure for that!  You just need to shut out the world for a bit and ignore all other living beings?  You guessed, Stephen King has a cure for that!

And his short story, Summer Thunder, part of the collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, provides exactly the kind of cathartic release I needed (I didn’t know I needed it actually, but who am I to question The Master):  it is short and sweet, but still packs a power punch.  In other words, the ugly cry you have been looking for is right here in this story.

 


Synopsis

Summer Thunder centers around a man named Robinson, who is a survivor in a post-nuclear war.  Robinson has lost his wife and only child to the nuclear disaster, and has only a stray dog named Gandalf for company.  Robinson rescued Gandalf sometime after the great disaster, and caring for another living creature has given him something to live for, even though he knows that he will eventually die from radiation sickness, like the rest of the population.

Periodically, Robinson and his dog visit a man named Howard Timlin, the only man who chose to stay in lakeside cottage that he lives in.  The rest of inhabitants fled for Canada, and are presumably dead or will die soon from radiation sickness.  Robinson notices that animals in the surrounding woods are dying off, likely victims of the radiation.

On Robinson’s visits to Timlin, Timlin would pull at Gandalf’s fur, and marvel that the dog did not seem to be affected by radiation sickness.  Robinson and Timlin also talk about a motorcycle that is still in Timlin’s possession, that he was supposed to give up the next summer, on his 50th birthday.

Finally, on one of his visits, Timlin notices that Gandalf is beginning to lose his fur.  Robinson denies that his dog is ill, although he has to carry Gandalf back to his house.  However, Gandalf’s symptoms worsen, and it is clear that he is a victim of radiation sickness.

Robinson drives into the nearby town of Bennington to pick up a battery for his motorcycle.  Robinson then visits his neighbor Timlin, who has become very ill with radiation sickness.  He tells Robinson that he plans to end his own life so that he does not have to experience the pain of radiation sickness, and gives Robinson a hypodermic needle so that he may end Gandalf’s life humanely.  Robinson also realizes that he himself is beginning to suffer from radiation sickness.

After Robinson returns home, he struggles with the decision to euthanize Gandalf, but follows through in the end, so that his friend will not suffer.  Robinson hears a gunshot in the distance, and knows that Timlin has ended his life as well.  When he awakens the next day, Robinson notices more symptoms of radiation poisoning on himself.

The next day turns out to be a beautiful one.  Robinson gears up his motorcycle for his final ride and remembers better times before the nuclear holocaust.  Robinson shakes his fist at the sky, in a moment of final exultation, and travels to a sign marked Dead Man’s curve at a deadly speed.  He is able to just hit fifth gear on his bike before he perishes.


 

My Thoughts

Whew…

Three days later and this story is still stuck with me.  And that is a sign of some good writing right there!

This story really got to me, so let me try to talk about why it did.

First of all, the subject matter.

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I am not a child of the 1950’s like my parents.  My parents (and probably King, as well) grew up in the shadow of the Cold War.  My parents recall the drills, and the propaganda films that they were subjected too as children.  I, myself, grew up at the tail end of that era, and was a mere child when the United States boycotted the Olympics.

So, as you can imagine, I heard a lot about nuclear war as a child.  It was the subject of more than a few popular movies, and it seemed that almost every YA book I read as a kid dealt with the subject in some manner (Judy Blume in particular stands out, and there was also the book Z for Zachariah, which frightened me more than anything Stephen King ever wrote).

As you can imagine, I had (and still have) a horrified fascination with the subject.  In fact, when reading about the symptoms of radiation poisoning in this story, my stomach did a little flip-flop (gee, thanks, Uncle Stevie) and I felt compelled to make sure that I didn’t have any funny rashes on my person…and here I was thinking that only Web MD, and not The Master, was responsible for hypochondria!

And yes, Gandalf

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No, not that Gandalf.  I am talking about the dog in the story…

Yeah…

Remember that ugly cry that I didn’t know I needed?  Well, the story of Gandalf life with Robinson, and his death gave me that, and then some.

ugly cry

I really had hope, at the beginning at any rate, that Gandalf would make it.  But then his fur fell out.  And the tears fell out of my eyes.

And Robinson having to do that final act of compassion for his friend…don’t even get me started.  I had to do a final act of compassion on my friend, Igloo, earlier this year.  Like Robinson, I knew it was right thing.  I knew it was the best thing.  And I was glad that she was no longer suffering, as Gandalf was suffering.

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But it hurt.  Did it ever hurt.  I knew that it would, don’t get me wrong.  But you can know something in an academic sense.  That does not prepare you for the actual experience.  Like Robinson, I was unprepared.  And like, Robinson, I felt my life was being ripped from me, and that I was truly alone now.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Sons of Anarchy.

Yes, Sons of Anarchy.  It is a well known secret that Kurt Sutter and Stephen King are fans of one another, and it shows in this story.  I loved it.

Some would say to go out with a bang.  Pull out all the stops.  And all that.  Robinson certainly did pull out all the stops, just like my hero, Jax Teller.  I can’t say that I blamed him…after all, like Jax, what did he have to lose?

Sometimes, the finale can be a bit sad.  But it can also be glorious.  It can be beautiful, as there is often beauty in pain.  And if it absolutely must end, then it should end gloriously, so that we forget the pain of it ending, at least momentarily.

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Kisses in the Dark: My Review of the Little Green God of Agony

SK short story

As I have stated before, I like to be scared.  I like to be creeped out.  I like to read a story that makes me shudder, close the book for a minute and then still open it back up, because I JUST HAVE to find out what happens next…will the monster be bested somehow, or will it feed?

And what better way to be scared…than…you guessed it…read a Stephen King book (hey, it’s this blog, don’t act surprised)?

Stephen King

Stephen King is scary.  Water is wet and the sun sets in the west.  So duh, in other words.  Stephen King is a great writer, creates great characters and is able to hook his Constant Reader to his tale.  And one of the ways he hooks someone into a story is by scaring them into a change of pants (or is that just me?)

And more than a few of the stories in King’s latest collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, are exactly that:  scary.  Frightening.  May make one leave the lights on at night.  Disturbing and terrifying, even.

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In other words, just what the (creepy) doc ordered.

The short story The Little Green God of Agony would be part of that creepy doctor’s prescription.  It may be a quick read, but it is definitely packed with lots of vitamin F (vitamin Fear, for the uninitiated).  And there is nothing like a good dose of vitamin F to get you up and going in the morning (although this guy yapping in your face will also do the trick, but I digress).

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I know, how frightening!


 

Synopsis

The Little Green God of Agony tells of a woman named Katherine McDonald, who is an in-home nurse for a man named Newsome.  About two years ago, Newsome was involved in an accident that injured him horribly, leaving him in a massive amount of pain.  Katherine cares for Newsome and attempts to involve him physical therapy that she believes will help him recover and manage his pain.  However, Newsome is not cooperative in these efforts, which leads Katherine to think that he is weak.  Newsome is also very rich and compensating his staff very well (including Katherine), so Katherine stays silent on the subject, and also stays silent when Newsome tries alternative forms of therapy, which Katherine believes to be fake therapies.

Newsome has invited a preacher named Reverend Rideout to help him deal with his pain, in his latest attempt to cope with his injuries.  Rideout tells Newsome that he is actually possessed by a demon, and that is what is actually causing him the pain.  Katherine believes that this is another charlatan, but Newsome offers the reverend $10 million to cure his of his injuries.  The reverend refuses the $10 million and tells Newsome that he will take $750,000 so that he may rebuild his church, which was destroyed by a fire.  Rideout then tells Newsome that he will perform an expulsion of sorts, right then and there.

The reverend begins the ritual, and tells Newsome to describe his pain.  Newsome begins to do so, telling Katherine, Rideout and his other staff that his pain is a green ball of agony.  Katherine interrupts the ritual, and tells Newsome that he is weak and that the reverend is a charlatan.  Newsome tries to tells Katherine that she is fired, but Rideout intervenes, telling Katherine that she had become jaded, and therefore no longer able to recognize which patients are faking their pain, and which are not (with Newsome falling into the latter category).

Rideout then proceeds with the ritual, giving Katherine a can of pepper spray to fend the “demon” off with.  He also tells Newsome’s cook, Tonya, to grab a broom she that she may use it as a weapon.

The reverend cajoles the demon to leave the body of Newsome.  A bulge appears in Newsome’s throat, and the electricity powers off.  A window shatters, and the electricity powers back on.  A creature that resembles a tennis ball with green spikes for legs emerges from the body of Newsome.  Katherine swipes at the creature with a broom, and misses.  The creature then attempts to possess the body of Melissa, Newsome’s housekeeper.  However, Katherine hits Melissa in the face with a broom, and the creature leaves Melissa’s body.  Katherine and the rest of Newsome’s staff believe that they have defeated the creature.

Newsome tells Katherine that he feels better, but it appears that the reverend has died in the struggle.  The electricity then powers off again, and Katherine feels something crawl onto the back of her hand.


 

My Thoughts

So, yeah…

Um, shudder?  Or ick?  Maybe shudder ick (to coin a new term)?

In other words, this was one creepy ass story…let me count the ways!

And, in the style of Stephen King, it was creepy in more ways than one…

First of all, chronic pain.  I know that’s not a supernatural horror, but it is a “human” horror.  King writes very well about the horrors of the everyday world.  Pain is one of those horrors.  And it is one that I understand.  I am sure that King understands it much better than I do, given the horrific accident he suffered on June 19th, 1999.

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So I could understand where Newsome was coming from, to a point.  Living with pain is not fun, and it can really feel like a non stop horror movie.  And it will make a person desperate, willing to try almost anything to get relief from it.

But I could also understand how Katherine felt.  Caring for someone who suffers from chronic pain is not an easy task (my husband would testify to this, I am sure).  Chronic pain often affects more than one person, and is indeed an every day horror.

But of course, this is Stephen King.  So let’s talk about the supernatural horror already…after all, this is Stephen King!

First of all, the description of the demon, or whatever it was…

green kooshball 1

So, thanks to Stephen King, I will never look at green koosh balls in the same way again.  Thanks, Uncle Stevie, and maybe I should thank Obama for good measure, while I am at it!

Yep, first it was St. Bernards and clowns…now we can add green kooshballs to the list!

Cujo

The build-up before the demon revealed itself was also terrifying.  King’s description of it being flushed out of Newsome and looking like a a goiter (ew much?) was just…nasty.  I can think of no other word for it.  The reverend cajoling the creature out of Newsome also created some terrifying imagery, making me think of movies like The Exorcist, although we were (thankfully) spared of green vomit coming out of people.

The ending of this story was unsettling as well.

First of all, the “good” guy, Reverend Rideout, lost his life in the fight.  I do believe that he was one of the good guys, because of his refusal to accept an excessive amount of money from Newsome, and the fact that he did give his life in the fight.  So that part was a downer.

And the ending!  The creature, whatever it was, was not defeated.  And it went on to claim its next victim in Katherine, who, ironically, was skeptical of the ritual to flush it out, and also skeptical of Newsome’s complaints.  However, I did not consider Katherine to be “bad”.  Her skepticism was understandable, and so was her impatience with her employer.  So seeing her (ostensibly) become the next victim was disturbing.  It was just further proof that monsters do not care who their victims are, only that they victims are there for the taking.

The ending reminds us that often, the monsters live.  And they continue to commit evil deeds.  And sometimes, the only thing standing between someone, and whether or not that person is victimized by the evil, is simply pure, dumb luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Shameless Self Promotion…

So, I have hobbies (shock…a blog?  Who would have thought?)

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But I also do various kinds of artwork.  Surprisingly (or not), much of this artwork is fan art…

And here’s the kicker:  much of this artwork is related to Stephen King and his Dark Tower series!

Roland and David

I know, something related to the Dark Tower on this blog? Such a shock, right?

Anyway, all kidding aside, I am trying to sell some of my work and make a little change on the side.  After all, life is ruff, and dog food is not getting any cheaper…

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So I have opened up an Etsy shop.  And I have sold one item, which has given me the guts to try to sell more items!  Who knows, it could work, right?

Here is the link to my humble little shop…stop by and check out when you have a minute.  I have a few woodburning pieces up for sale now, and there will be more listings to come!  A perfect gift for yourself, or the Dark Tower fanatic in your life!  After all, who doesn’t want one of these creations on display in his/her home?

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Artof19

The link is listed above, so check out it when you can!  Long days and pleasant nights, gunslingers!

Rose

 

Top 10 Friendships in Stephen King Books

All my life, I have been a loner.  A Loser, some might say.

Loser

Making friends has never been my strong suit.  Although I do have one good one now.  And she knows who she is, and how much I love her.  And how proud I am to call her my friend.

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But throughout much of my life, its just been me, myself and I.  I like being alone, but sometimes it gets a little old.

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So what do I did I do (and still do)?

What any sensible person does?  Grab a good book…duh!  A good book is a cure for almost anything, including the flu, being dumped by your ass hat ex and yes…loneliness!

I was able to lose myself in the adventures in these books (everything from Anne McAffrey to David Eddings to Madeleine L’Engle to almost any other category that you could think of).  Another trip to Pern?  Sure, sign me up stat!

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But perhaps the biggest part of these books were the characters.  I identified so much with these characters.  My spirit Losers, much of the time.  And how I wished I could have a cup of coffee with some of these guys, and just chew the fat with them for a few hours.

And some of my most memorable book friendships (not to be confused with my book boyfriends, thank you very much) came from stories by Stephen King.

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Believe it or not, the man known for rabid dogs, killer clowns that live in the sewers and shit weasels has also created some memorable friendships.   Really, is there anything he can’t write about?

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Stephen King is just great at creating memorable characters.  And he can also portray relationships very well.  This combination makes for some great friendships between his characters.  Sometimes these relationships end in tragedy and sometimes at least one party makes some kind of noble sacrifice for the good of the other.  Or sometimes what was once a beautiful relationship turns toxic.  However, these relationships are rich and woven seamlessly into the tapestry we call a Stephen King book.  In other words, they are never dull.

With that being said, here are my top 10 friendships in all of Stephen King’s books.


 

10)  Charles Jacobs and Jamie Morton (Revival)

Some friendships withstand the test of time and just endear.  Normally, this is a good thing…

However, what is good in our world is not always good in a Stephen King novel.  In other words, there are some friendships that just should not be, and this includes the one between Charles Jacobs and Jamie Morton in Revival.

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Sure, the relationship between the two main characters in Revival starts off innocuously enough.  A young preacher with a beautiful family, who just happens to have an unusual hobby (electrifying, you might say).  And a five year old boy who is impressionable, and eager to please.  And he also gets caught up in the preacher’s new hobby and becomes an eager assistant to his new friend…kind of sweet, actually.

Well, the friendship between young Jamie Morton and Charles Jacobson does start off as sweet and even a little touching.  But like most things in the King universe, all good things must come to an end.  And the relationship between Charles and Jamie does seem to come to an end, when a tragedy strikes.  Charles flees town, but Jamie is never quite able to forget the dynamic preacher.

A chance meeting years later re-kindles the friendship between the two.  At first, it seems that this is a good thing, as Charles is able to help Jamie kick his heroin habit.  However, the friendship soon becomes dangerous, as Charles persuades Jamie to assist him him in one final experiment that should not have taken place.  The results are tragic, and the consequences for Jamie, Charles and several other people are simply horrible.  Throughout the book, Jamie refers to Charles as his fifth business, and feels that he owes the man a favor.  However, the relationship between Jamie and Charles is proof that some debts are best left unpaid.

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9)  Dolores Claiborne and Vera Donovan (Dolores Claiborne)

Vera Donovan reminds her friends Dolores Claiborne (in the book of the same name) that sometimes an accident is a woman’s best friend (especially when it comes to husbands who abuse their daughters in unspeakable ways).

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While it is true that the accident that befalls Joe St. George winds up being a very good friend to poor Dolores, Vera Donovan ends up being the best friend that Dolores ever had.  Vera is able to offer some sage advice to her employee that helps save the well being of her employee’s family.  However, more importantly, Vera provides a listening ear for Dolores and acts as a sounding board of sorts, allowing Dolores to vent in relative safety.  Dolores is poor and lives in a hard world.  The treatment she endures from her husband and society in general is a constant reminder of how hard the world is for a woman like Dolores.  Vera’s situation is not as difficult (due to her wealth), but is still actually not much better than Dolores’ situation (it is implied that Vera may have been great friends with an accident that befell her husband).  However, Vera suffers from extreme loneliness, and that loneliness is only abated by the presence of her housekeeper (and later full-time caregiver).  Each woman provides what the other is unable to provide for herself, and is a complement to the other.

The relationship between Dolores and Vera can almost be considered symbiotic, as there is mutual benefit enjoyed by each party.

Dolores C


 

8)  Jack Sawyer and Henry Leyden (Black House)

Like I said before, making friends has never been a strength of mine.  I was an awkward kid.  Now I’m an awkward adult.  And not cute awkward either.  More like what the fuck is wrong with you kind of awkward…

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So my social calendar is still almost as empty as it was during my childhood, except for a few special people.  And finding those special people is just even more awesome, since making friends becomes harder as you age (one of the few benefits of government sponsored babysitting er school is that you do get to be around your peer group.  Adulthood is not so cut and dry).

Jack Sawyer is a King character that seems to have the same problem:  he has trouble connecting with people, and is therefore very isolated.  However, his friendship with his blind neighbor Henry Leyden helps to bring him out of that isolation.  Jack begins to realize, through his conversations with Henry, that he is part of a higher purpose, and that he cannot continue to ignore his calling.  Jack also realizes that he must open up in regards to his childhood experiences in The Territories, because his knowledge may save someone’s (or several someone’s, for that matter) life.

Henry and Jack’s friendship is another example of a King relationship that ends in tragedy.  The fact that Henry passes away shortly after Jack finally makes the decision to remove some his walls just makes this particular friendship even more bittersweet.

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7)  Roland and Sheemie (The Dark Tower series)

One of the reasons why I love King’s work is his portrayal of the disenfranchised (i.e. the underdogs).  The disenfranchised (or underdogs) often play major roles in King’s work.  Oftentimes, these characters are among King’s most memorable, and they are portrayed in a loving (as opposed to pitiful) light, causing the reader to emphasize with the character, as opposed to pitying the character.

Sheemie Ruiz is one of these underdogs.  Sheemie is a mildly mentally handicapped young man who is first encountered by Roland Deschain and his friends during a fateful few months spent in the town of Meijis.  Roland and his friends stand up for Sheemie when he is wronged, and a friendship is born.  Sheemie soon becomes part of the ka-tet, and an integral member, to boot.  Sheemie’s contribution to Roland’s quest is a large one, and the gunslinger is never able to forget the young man he met during those fateful months in Meijis.

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The friendship between Roland and Sheemie is another example of a bittersweet relationship.  Even though the two are reunited many years later (and Sheemie once again becomes a contributor to Roland’s quest), Sheemie also becomes yet another casualty in Roland’s quest.

sheemie


 

6)  Danny Torrance and Dick Halloran (The Shining, Dr. Sleep)

Some of the best friendships are ones that span a wide gulf, whether that gulf be age, social class or any number of other factors.  After all, variety is the spice of life!

Danny Torrance and Dick Halloran are a perfect example of this type of friendship.  On the outside, the two could not be more different:  when they first meet, Dick and Danny are nearly 50 years apart in age.  Danny is the only child of two loving parents, and Dick is a confirmed life-long bachelor.  However, there is more that meets the eye for both Dick and Danny, as both possess PSI abilities that Dick refers to “the shining.”  In other words, both possess paranormal talents that render them outsiders, especially Danny.  However, Danny is able to receive some comfort from Dick, as he begins to realize that he is no longer alone.  And Dick is able come through for Danny in a way that most of the adults in Danny’s life (especially his father) are unable to do, when Danny uses his abilities to call on Dick to rescue him and his family from a haunted hotel that wishes to use Danny as a sort of human generator.

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Although the two fall out of touch, Dick is still able to come through for Danny yet again when needed, this time when Danny is forced to become an adult and help another psychically gifted child who has become endangered.  However, there is an added twist:  Dick is able to reach out from beyond the grave and offer his assistance.  The fact that Dick is able to assist Danny from beyond the grave makes this friendship even more endearing and powerful.

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5)  Wolf and Jack Sawyer (The Talisman)

Move over, Seth Rogen and James Franco.  You guys may be seen as the quintessential bromance, but someone has you beat on that front!

seth and james

Yes, Wolf and Jack Sawyer are actually the quintessential bromance (at least in this blogger’s humble opinion that worth at least 2 pesos, dammit).  And werewolves and 12 year old boys nicknamed Traveling Jack make much better couples, anyway.

wolf and jack

In all seriousness, Wolf and Jack are another example of a friendship that spans a great divide.  And the great divide is literal, since Wolf and Jack are actually from different worlds.  And not of the same species, as Wolf is a werewolf.  However, that does not matter to either Wolf or Jack, as they draw together in Jack’s quest to save his mother from dying of cancer (and save her Territories Twinner in the process).  Wolf becomes Jack’s guide in a world he does not understand, and Jack returns that favor to Wolf when the two are forced to continue their question in Jack’s world.  This friendship is truly complementary, as Wolf and Jack are able to provide each other with what the other needs.

And Wolf and Jack also fight together, to the very end.  This is yet another example of one of King’s tragic friendships, as Wolf sacrifices his life doing what he does best:  protecting the herd.

morgan sloat


4)  Nick Andros and Tom Cullen (The Stand)

Again, the underdogs and disenfranchised.  I cannot emphasize enough that these guys are some of King’s most well rounded and well written characters.  And Tom Cullen and Nick Andros definitely fall into the underdog category.  And both also fall into the well rounded and well written category.

Nick Andros 1

Nick Andros is a deaf mute, while Tom Cullen is a mildly mentally handicapped man.  Both are survivors of Captain Trips, aka the super flu that has killed off 99.999% of the population.  Nick communicates through writing, and Tom cannot read.  But somehow, these two manage to save each other, both from actual physical dangers and from loneliness.  Even though they cannot communicate at first (due to their handicaps), a deep lasting bond develops between the two.  The two men are able to eventually communicate when they meet Ralph Brenter, and all three become integral members of the Boulder Free Zone.  However, this friendship ends in tragedy when Nick is killed by a bomb placed in house that he is in while meeting with other members of the Free Zone.  Tom never forgets his friend, and thinks of him fondly.

Nick and Tom 2

This is another relationship that extends beyond the grave, as Nick’s ghost helps Tom save Stu Redman from certain death after the defeat of Randall Flagg.

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3)  Jake and Oy (The Dark Tower series)

Ah, a boy and his dog…does it get any sweeter than that?

lassie-and-timmy

Well, actually, make that a boy and his bumbler.  But its still the same in principle.

Oy 1

Animals are often major players in King’s works.  Cujo, Kojak and even the unfortunate cat Church all played major roles in the lives of the human beings around them.  Oftentimes, King’s animals are better people than the people in his stories, and Oy is no exception to that rule.

Cujo

Oy and Jake are another pair who manage to save each other.  Oy was an outcast from his pack and rescued by Jake, and joins Roland and the tet in their quest to save the Dark Tower.  Oy repays that favor in spades when he helps Roland save Jake from Gasher, a psychotic pedophile who seeks to rob Jake of his innocence.  This is just one of many times when Oy proves his worth as a four-legged gunslinger.  Oy is also the final piece of the puzzle for Jake, in that it is Oy who finally helps Jake feel at home in Mid-World, after his violent exit from his own world.  Oy becomes the glue that holds Jake to the quest, and to his new home in a strange place.

“I ake.”

Truer words could not be said by a billy bumbler (or anyone else), in expressing his feelings after what is one of the saddest deaths in any piece of literature I have ever read.

Jake and Oy


2) Duddits, Pete, Henry, Beaver and Jonesy (Dreamcatcher)

Childhood and all the joys and traumas associated with it is a major theme in many King books, and these books are among some of his best works.  Dreamcatcher is a novel that deals with childhood, especially the friendships that are formed between children.

Duddits 1

Pete, Henry, Beaver and Jonesy are a foursome.  They are the quintessential best friends, and are seemingly average children.  However, when they stand up for child with Down syndrome (Douglas “Duddits” Cavell), that changes.  Not only do the boys do something courageous and even noble, they make a new friend who will change their lives forever.  Duddits is able to open the boys’ eyes, making them see the world in a new light.  Duddits also gives the boys a gift of telepathy, as Duddits is no ordinary child.  This gift (and Duddits’ powers) will come in handy in adulthood, when the boys (who are now men) must face another adversary, one that is far worse than the bully they confronted as children.  Once again, Duddits brings the men together, and allows them to defeat the enemy before it has a chance to endanger our planet.  The ending is bittersweet, as Duddits, Pete and Jonesy sacrifice their lives in the fight.

Quality: Original.   Film Title: Dreamcatcher (2003).   Pictured: (L to R) DAMIAN LEWIS, THOMAS JANE, TIMOTHY OLYPHANT and JASON LEE in Castle Rock Entertainment's and Village Roadshow Pictures' science fiction/horror film Dreamcatcher distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.   Photo Credit:   Doane Gregory.   Copyright:   Warner Bros. Pictures 2002. For further information: please contact The Warner Bros. Press Office on 020 7984 5000.

Oh, and shit weasels.  Perhaps one of the most delight creatures in any Stephen King book (or any book, for that matter).

byrus

 


 

And now, I present to you my favorite Stephen King friendship of all time…

*drum roll please*

drum-roll-please


1)  The Losers Club (It)

Well, what can I say, I’m not sure how else I can put it…

So I will just come out and say it.

Childhood is hell.  Really, I can’t think of a better way to say it.  And its so so true.

childhood is hell

Matt Groening even wrote a book about it…

However, the rabbit-like creatures (or whatever the heck they are, jury is still out on that one) in Matt Groening’s work have nothing on Ben, Beverly, Bill, Richie, Eddie, Stan and Mike.

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These guys really did have one hell of a childhood (see what I did there).  And that’s not necessarily a good thing…

Well, shape-shifting clowns that live in the sewers cannot possibly ever be a good thing.  And when the clown employs local bullies to do its dirty work, that is also not a good thing.

So what’s a kid living in scenic Derry, Maine to do?
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Somehow survive the encounters with that evil clown, and find other survivors to help fight that motherfucker!  And bonus points in giving that group of friends a cool name, aka The Losers Club!

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It was the book that popped my Stephen King cherry, and unlike certain other “first times”, I enjoyed this cherry popping immensely.  And my favorite part of It was the friendship between the kids.  I identified with all of them in one way or another, as I was bullied, and the notion of a clown living in the sewers of my hometown wasn’t really THAT far-fetched.

Beverly

I actually would have gladly fought alongside the Losers Club, risking my neck to defeat that bad, nasty old clown who had a horrible habit of killing the local kids (although he wasn’t picky, adults would do if times were lean).  I often felt invisible as a child, and I saw so many parallels to Derry in my own small, hometown, as it seemed everyone overlooked the wrong, and chose not to see what was really going on right underneath their noses.  I especially identified with Beverly Marsh, the lone female of the group (gingers of above average height, unite!) and longed for a love such as the one Ben had for Beverly.

Ben and Beverly

At one point in the book, one of the characters states that the other members of The Losers Club were the best friends he/she ever had.  And I agreed:  the members of The Losers Club were the best (book) friends I ever had.  And that is still true today.

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So there it is:  my top 10 friendships in Stephen King’s books.  Well, some of these friendships may not exactly be healthy ones, but all of them are certainly memorable.  And they are just one part of the amazing tapestry that we call a Stephen King book, adding layers of richness and color to an already elaborate, complex design.

So do you really want to be a friend to someone?  Well, here’s an idea:  introduce them to a Stephen King book, if he/she has never had the pleasure of experiencing one.  And I will guarantee you that you will make a friend for life!

RoaldDahl

 

Confessions of a Teenage Blue Heeler: Part I

I’m baaacccckkkk!!!

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Bet you guys really missed me, huh?  I’m so cute, how could you not miss me?

Oh, right.  I’m Duncan, the pup at arms, just in case you don’t know who I am.  And you should know who I am, my mom takes a lot of pictures of me for some reason and puts them on some place called Facebook.  Come on Mom, geez, sometimes you really embarrass me (even though I am pretty cute)!

I am almost 10 months old now.  Pretty soon I will be a big boy and turn a year old!  Mom says I am a teenager.  I don’t really know what that is, but maybe that’s why she gets mad at me so much.  She even grounded me from the computer, but I sneak on it when she isn’t around.  Her blog gets boring sometimes.  Who cares about television shows and books?  I am way cuter than any television show or book!

And Mom is just too obsessed with that weird writer guy and Tower thingy…good thing she has me to take away her attention from that, huh?

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But guys, I have to tell you something…

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I’m (gulp) not a good dog sometimes.  Actually, I’m a bad dog.  Like a lot, actually.  I think that’s what Mom means when she calls me a teenager or other things I can’t say (I’m only a puppy after all!)

I like to talk.  I talk a lot.  So what if sometimes I talk when Mom and Dad are watching that black square thing (I think its called a television, maybe?)  Really, I am much cuter and have more important things to say than these guys that Mom likes so much!

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I make Mom so mad sometimes…she just doesn’t get it that I love everything she touches, especially her garden!  Wasn’t it so mean of her to put cages around those plants?  I wanted to play with those plants so badly!

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And I love to help Mom when she cooks.  That’s my favorite thing, actually.  Food is so yummy!  So what if I put my paws on the counter sometimes…why doesn’t Mom want my help in taste-testing her delicious food?  I just want to make sure that everything tastes good for Dad!

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And I like to play with things.  Isn’t everything a toy?  You know, like pieces of poop? And Mom’s blanket?  Pieces of poop and Mom’s blanket together were so fun!  I decorated the floor with pieces of poop and even threw in pieces of blanket!  But Mom didn’t think that was fun…you should have heard some of the words she said…I don’t think they were very nice!

And the floor is a good toy…its so much fun to chew on!  I was pretty proud of myself for finding a new toy, actually.  But Dad wasn’t proud when I showed him yesterday.  In fact, he said I was a BAD DOG.  And that made me very sad, because I think I am a pretty GOOD DOG who likes to have lots of fun!

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I try so hard sometimes to be a GOOD DOG.  Mom knows I try too.  In fact, she still lets me be in the kitchen with her when she cooks.  And I think she likes me being in the garden with her.  Maybe she likes the company.  After all, I’m so cute!  Its always good to have someone as cute as me around…I make really good company!

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Well, I gotta go guys…Mom says I have to get off the computer…can you believe she is going to blog about that weird writer guy AGAIN?  Geez, come on Mom, write about cute things (like me!), books are boring!  But don’t worry, I am sure I can sneak back on the computer again when Mom isn’t looking…

TTFN,

Duncan, the pup at arms

duncan

Puppy goes A’Blogging: Introducing Duncan!

Hi, everyone!  My name is Duncan and I am a blue heeler puppy!  Mom is busy…I think she must be reading that Stephen King guy AGAIN…I mean, can you imagine?  She is more obsessed with King and his books than I am over my squeaky toys…how can anything be better than a squeaky toy?  Well, except for blogging…maybe.

Ok, about me.  Like I said before, I am a blue heeler puppy.  I was born on 8/4/14.  So I think that makes me about 4 dog years or so.  Mom and Dad got me from a farm in Cross, SC.  I had lots of brothers and sisters, and it was hard to leave them.  But I think I like my new home.  These people are ok, so I might stay for a while.

Here is me after Mom and Dad brought me home.  I was really scared…I mean, I wouldn’t even walk around on my own or anything!  Mom and Dad were worried about me, but I am doing a lot better now.

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Here I am now.  The people at the vet said I weigh about 23 lbs…can you believe how big I am getting?  But I don’t like the vet…they give me shots…ouch!

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Enough about me (for now, you can never really get enough about me, actually).  I have a dog sister, a dog brother, a cat sister and a cat brother.  Wow!  I don’t know how Mom does it…sometimes she can get pretty overwhelmed with all of us.  But she is awesome the rest of the time.

Here is my big brother Rowdy.  I think he really likes me but thinks I am pretty annoying sometimes.  He plays with me.  But he likes to yell at me.  He yells a lot.

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This is Igloo.  Mom said she is really old and I need to be nice to her.  But I have so much fun playing with her.  I think she does too.  Growling is a happy noise, right?

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Here is my cat sister Harley.  Harley likes to be on Mom’s lap.  A lot.  But too much lap time is unhealthy.  So I try to help Mom out and make Harley get off her lap.  I know Mom would much rather pay attention to me than to pet Harley all the time anyway.

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My cat brother Homer.  Mom says he really likes us, he just shows it in a funny way.  I don’t understand why she gets so excited when Homer sits down next to her.  Silly cats…we dogs lick faces and jump on our Mom and Dad so they know we always love them.

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Mom said I was named after some guy in this cartoon that Dad really likes, called Masters of the Universe.  He was called Man at Arms but his name was really Duncan.  I think Mom and Dad are kind of nerdy.  Especially Mom.  But that’s ok.  Dad seems to really like nerds, so yay for nerds!

man at arms

Oh boy, I think Mom is in the kitchen and she will be cooking!  Just between you and me, she spills a lot when she cooks.  It’s a good thing I am around to help clean up when she does.  I know she likes the floor clean and I keep her feet warm by sitting on them when she is in the kitchen…what would she do without my help?  So gotta cut this short…more from me later!

TTFN,

Duncan, the pup at arms.