The Chains of Victory: Stephen P. King Calls It Quits by Clam Simmons

Clam Simmons is a librarian living in New England. You can find his ongoing investigation of the 1994 Kansas City Royals at the Royals Review. Clam also heads up the Twitter division of the Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute at 826 Boston. You can follow his crypto-tweets @bostonbigfoot and regular tweets @orangehunchback.

stephen kingNew England’s favorite gargoyle was cloistered in a lighthouse. His beacon was a hundred miles from the nearest anything. The smell of glue was everywhere. I could not tell for sure but it seemed that the sea tower was the barren womb of a sea god. It was a poor sanctuary from the water, mist covering my glasses and the wave’s salty plates constantly breaking in my ears. There was no electricity and the bully clouds outside turned the inside of the lighthouse into a whitewashed moonscape. Using my cell phone for light I discovered a typewriter sitting on top of a girthy manuscript. The typewriter sat on top of a pleather office chair. It was chained to the ground with irons. Stephen P. King was silently stationed on a Victorian ottoman facing the manacled office chair, a Franklin stove weakly dithered behind him. It must have been casual Friday in the lighthouse because King wasn’t wearing any pants. He wore a yellow smiley face t-shirt and five months of beard.

The master of horrors apologized for forgetting his khakis and scurried out of the lighthouse in his flip-flops. Left alone I climbed the observation deck. The outlook was dim and the lens was shattered. Glass covered the ground like ice. Maybe the lord of darkness had destroyed it in a fit of inspiration. Maybe it was done to spite the modern pirates and lobstermongers. Either way Stephen King would never had made it as a 19th century lighthouse attendant. When I found a bullet casing on the windowsill I decided it was time to leave. As I made for the exit I made note that the sullen tin cup sitting on the stone floor was the only tangible evidence that King had a human’s traditional concern for sustenance. I had to escape before the host of this literary séance returned.

New England’s favorite gargoyle was cloistered in a lighthouse.

Of course Stephen King came back before I could reach the door. He was carrying a couple of green twigs. He was wearing khakis. They were completely soaked but King seemed chipper.

SK: I usually try to dry them before the company shows up but you’ve caught me at high tide. Say that three times fast! Try, dry, high, tide… hey! You’re not trying to leave are you? Ha!

The unshaven lord of terrible genius offered me his ottoman while he placed the moist twigs on top of the stove’s vaguely orange coals. I have always been a sucker for hospitality. It is my weakness and will be my downfall.

SK: Clam, do you have any dry receipts?

I handed my ferry receipt to the King and he examined it before putting it in the stove.

SK: I’m going to have to cut our time short. When those fresh logs are charred I am going to reclaim my stool and get back to my project.

With the sensitivity and respect due for a writer’s in-utero project I asked him if he could possibly describe the project or at least reveal its basic design.

SK: It’s called Alien Sex Planet. It’s 1300 pages long but it feels like an 1800-page story and I think I’m going to have to cut out a 700-page scene. It involves an exile from the original colony of ancient aliens who in a fit of Onanis releases his seed into the atmosphere only to have it evolve into the planets of an alternative solar system. Of course the exile turns out to be the heir to the throne of the ancient alien kingdom, typical fodder.

As King described the power of ancient alien sperm I begin to feel my soul choke. Somehow Stephen King could sense it. He was not without tender psychology.

SK: By the way, thank you for responding to my inquiry on craigslist…you wouldn’t believe the sort of nut-brains out there pretending to be legitimate ghost-writers just to squeeze me of my greenbacks. But seriously Clam, I was very impressed with Elvis Horse Man. You have talent, if you prove yourself you might be able to go places.

I thanked Stephen King for the compliments on Elvis Horse Man. I was very proud of that work. I also stated that I would be very pleased to help with the memoir. Not only was I excited at the prospects of working alongside the definitive master of paranormal barbarism, I was desperate to take a bite out of the debt I had accrued in my five years in the MFA program at Butterman College. Stephen King laughed. He was either unfamiliar with Butterman College and its fabulous faculty to student ratio or the cost of a quality education at the best liberal arts college in the Ozarks. As Mr. King revealed his autobiographical “morsel” he busied himself by plucking hairs out of his beard and watching them smolder in the cinders of the stove.

SK: In 1986 I fell in love with Boston’s baseball team. When that white orb snuck past the gates of Buckner’s legs and the baseball team lost the great contest, it was a big deal. My eyes were opened and I saw horror on the faces of the baseball men and the sadness on the faces of the fans of the Boston baseball men. It was like witnessing one of the cataclysms in my work. It became my duty to commiserate with the despairing horde and to cheer for Boston’s great baseball club, the Red Beans. For several years I found the comfort of familiarity with the puritanical denial of the whole thing. It was great fun. I shared the baseball fan’s curses and roots for the changing field of heroes. I was a big Mo Greenwell fan. I loved Mike Vaughn. I cheered for Nomar Offerman and Jose Valentin. These were my favorite baseball men. I had sympathy for them. They were like the doomed characters in my books, the characters I make likeable only so that when they die on page 940 it will be a horrible experience for all my readers. The Boston Beans had no chance. But then about eight years ago the Red Sox team won the big contest and everything had changed. I felt as if the prisoner I had created to suffer had escaped from the jail with turds in his mouth. Yes, I was joyful for the success of my Red Beans for an hour or two but all the narrative tension was gone. I knew that my cheerings for the Boston baseball men must end. But by that point everyone assumed that I was unconditionally passionate for the Boston baseball team. Everyone gave me free tickets to the game. The seats were great, how could I waste them? I’d take a newspaper, a rough draft anything to distract me fm the winnings on the field. Sometimes, in the pennant chase I would hide inside the belly of the Green Monster with my friend, Manny Man.

Then the baseball club wins the big contest again. Clam, I am tired of triumph! Release me from the chains of victory! Tell the world Clam Simmons. Tell the world properly and I will not only let you ghostwrite my memoir, but I will give you all my pictures with me and the Boston baseball men!

Release Me From The Chains of Victory!

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