Sunday, October 09, 2005

Kissing Stephen King

When I was thirteen (all the way back in 1982), I attended a science fiction convention called Archon, in St. Louis's ornate and majestic Chase Park Plaza. The guest of honor that year was Stephen King, the prose-master of all things wicked and wonderful. Even then I was a voracious reader, so I stood in awe before him.

After the main speeches and banquets, there was an informal celebration in the hotel lobby. Stephen King had set up a kissing booth to raise money for some charity whose name I can't place. My mom thought it would be a thrill, so she plopped down her bucks and pecked him on the cheek. As she turned to leave, King grabbed my mother and planted a full open mouth kiss on her lips.

King's wife Tabitha shoudn't have been worried - it was all for a good cause. But I stood there in horror. I mean, what could possibly be creepier than having the King of Terror drool on your momma?

I think the incident set me up for a belated Oedipus/Dracula complex. I've often considered suing for emotional trauma. It haunts my dreams to this day. King hovers over me, in Warholish black and white. He purses his lips, bares his fangs, and whispers, "Give us a kiss, give us a kiss!"


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