Last week, I was sitting in my kids’ wading pool, wolfing down a juicy McLobster roll when my cell buzzed. It was a text from Internet Sensation, Le Clown:
I texted back: Ooh la la! Ferme la bouche! because those were the only two phrases I knew in French.
(I took four years of French in high school. And I smoked four years worth of wacky weed in college. I don’t see any connection.)
He arrived in my lovely little Podunk state of Maine and I realized right away he was in new territory.
He stuck out like a nun at a porn convention. Like Rush Limbaugh at a feminist rally. Like an overly excited Rush Limbaugh with a nun at a porn convention.
“Well, you don’t look anything like I imagined, either,” Le Clown remarked as we slid into the front seat of my minivan.
I was thrilled to drive him around and show him the sights, because after all, I live in the very town where Stephen King grew up.
I fired up my Loser Cruiser and peeled away from the airport, narrowly missing a huge crowd of wild turkeys crossing the road.
“You run into much wildlife driving around here?” Le Clown asked as he gripped the dashboard.
“Oh, yeah!” I laughed. “Turkeys, cows…I once hit a moose doing 55.”
“A moose?” Suddenly the minivan lurched violently off the road and he was thrown against the passenger side door. “AHH! FUCK!” Le Clown yelled as I spun out in the soft dirt shoulder, weaving us back onto solid pavement. “Shit! Do all Mainers drive like this?”
“Huh?” I glanced over at him. “Like what? Oh….you might wanna put your seatbelt on. And I’m taking you to L.L. Bean’s so we can do something about that cookadoodie outfit of yours, Mr. Man.”
Soon we were headed north on I-95, the minivan rattling as the speedometer climbed steadily past 85 mph. A landscape dotted with Dunkin Donuts and Walmarts quickly morphed into a sea of pine trees and abandoned farms.
“There. Now don’t you feel better in those camouflage long johns? You’re an official Maine-iac now,” I cackled, handing Le Clown a warm Pabst Blue Ribbon from the glove compartment. “Here, you might wanna drink this.”
“What for? Where are we headed? And what the hell’s the speed limit here?”
“Jeezum crow! You Canadians sure ask lots of questions, huh? Go on, drink the beer. It’ll take the edge off,” my eyes narrowed as we approached a large green sign:
BANGOR 1 Mile
“And where we’re going…you’ll be glad you had that drink,” I added in a monotone, my eyelid twitching.
An hour later, we were deep in the thick Maine woods, the lonely stretch of highway a distant memory as we reached the dirt road that led to my dear friend’s cabin.
“You’ve been awfully silent there, Le Clown, enjoying the sights?”
“I just wanted a lobster roll for fuck’s sake!”
“Where the hell are you taking me?” cried Le Clown. “This place is straight out of a fucking Stephen King novel!”
“Oh my! Funny you should mention him!” I laughed, turning the steering wheel sharply to the right as we reached an even narrower path. Pine trees scraped alongside the van’s windows as we descended deeper into a valley, the thick fog enveloping us in a sinister embrace.
Finally, we slowed to a stop in front of a small dilapidated cabin nestled in some pines. Wisps of smoke drifted from the stone chimney, the moon creating an eerie glow around the gigantic satellite dish.
“Steve is a big fan of Game of Thrones,” I said, my voice as flat as a flapjack at a local Denny’s. My eyes glazed over as the corner of my mouth twitched.
“Fuck. Me.” said Le Clown.
“Oh, you dirty bird,” I clicked my tongue. “Such language!” I stepped outside into the cool night air. “Get out of the car, Le Clown.”
“What the hell?” Le Clown gasped.
“Where are you taking me? What will you do with me?” Le Clown blubbered as I pushed him inside the cabin, the stench of menthol cigarettes and misery hanging in the air like a wet blanket.
“Darla? Uh…Darla? Is that you, darlin’?” Steve’s voice cracked as it drifted upstairs from the dank cellar tucked just below the kitchen.
“Honey, we’re home! I’ve got a new playmate for ya!” I called, my eyes sparkling with delight. We descended the rickety stairs to the dingy concrete room below.
“What’s all this?” asked Le Clown, nervously surveying the basement.
“This, is your new life, Mr. Man,” I pushed him over to the desk and forced him down into the ergonomically-correct office chair. I slid the keyboard under his trembling hands. “Here. You best get to writing.”
Le Clown stared at the computer screen, its glow casting a sickly pale light onto his face. “Uh…I’m not sure I understand what you want–”
“Do it!” a man pleaded from the shadows in the corner. “Do it, man or she’ll kill you! Or worse.” A haggard Stephen King slowly emerged into the light, rolling across the floor on another office chair.
“Do what?” Le Clown cried.
“Blog!” Stephen King and I yelled in unison. With a few clicks of a mouse, my blog’s empty draft folder appeared on the screen.
“Congratulations, Le Clown. You are the newest author of my blog,” I said. “I expect four posts a week, minimum. Freshly Pressed at least twice a year. You best get cracking, Mr. Man. Or I have ways to convince you.”
Le Clown screamed.
Le Clown glanced around the basement, the walls swiftly closing in, the cursor on the computer screen blinking in time with the feverish pace of his pulse.
“Blog. Blog. Blog. Blog. Blog!”
Our chanting and maniacal laughter filled his ears as the color drained from his face. He slumped forward onto the keyboard, his lips curled into a hopeless snarl.
“Noooooooooooooooooooooo!” he wailed.
But no one would ever hear his screams.
Well, except me.
And Stephen King.