I Killed Brian Keene But It Really Wasn’t My Fault, I Swear, It’s Complicated, But I Was Sort of Used Like Reggie Jackson in The Naked Gun, Not Used Like Enrico Pallazo, and Yeah, This Title Still Rocks Despite the 20 Year Old Pop Culture Reference, and It’s Still Hard for Me to Believe Nordberg Was OJ Simpson
by Paul Tremblay
My friends, colleagues, and secret members of the Elitist Horror Cabal had warned me repeatedly. They said, “Paul, stay away from Shawklynes.” Shawklynes was like the-wild-wild-west of horror message boards or something, so I’d heard. They said, “People are catching a virus, even those who only surf and lurk within the threads.” Now, I found the virus bit hard to believe, but they were adamant, and insistent, and all the other ents and ants. They said, “It’s called the ‘dagsbrowne’ virus. It corrupted your brain via the text on the message board. It was infecting folks and turning them into crazed zombies with the requisite hunger for flesh, though that hunger was specific to horror writers with book deals.” The dagsbrowne virus sounded familiar to me, but I thought it was some sort of foot fungus or rump rash. Apparently I was mistaken and they were very serious about this virus being a threat. They said, “Paul, you are beautiful and everyone loves you. Don’t go to Shawklynes. Enjoy your family and take the kids trick or treating. Stay away from the computer on Halloween.”
They said this to me in one collective voice, speaking unanimously like a Greek chorus. Still, I did not heed the warnings. I needed to see and read the message board for myself. Oh, I was such a beautiful and loved fool!
I went to the message board and my infection was almost instantaneous. As I clicked and read thread after thread, I felt the fires of my rational thought extinguish into smoke rings of avarice, jealousy, paranoia, and sloth. The true horror of my infection was the shred of self-awareness that remained as if only to maintain the grips of the narrative of this true tale of woe. I continued to read and descend into the gob of the virus, and then, at some point, I do not remember when as I’d lost time and more than a few teeth, I was in my car, driving on the highway, alone, pointed south, and heading toward Brian Keene’s house.
Hours of suffering passed. I parked my car askew in Brian’s driveway and lurched to the front door. My skin had a greenish hue, and I was a little sleepy. But mostly I was filled with virus fueled rage, and a hunger for Keene’s salty and cinnamon sweet (so I’ve heard) flesh.
I rang the doorbell daintily.
Brian opened the door and said, “Hey, Paul? What are you doing here, man? Come on in, it’s cold out, bro.” He was holding a rescued kitten and he wore a nice flannel, something my favorite uncle might’ve worn. He also wore a big, cuddly smile. The virus cringed and thrashed within my blood.
Brain said, “You don’t look too good, Paul. You feeling okay? Here, let me wrap this blanket around you. I knitted it myself. And I’ll put some soup and cocoa on for you too, pal.”
I followed him into the kitchen. The blanket was warm, but the virus told me lies. It said that the blanket was woven from the souls of a thousand despairing horror writers. The soup was warm and delicious. But the virus told me it was poison and eating one drop would ensure that I would never get published anywhere ever again. The virus liked the cocoa, though.
I said, “I think publishing my work at Stabstabbystab.com would be good for my career. Or I’m gonna use a new small press that features cover art not worthy of a third grader. Or I’m going to add zombies to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Little Women.” My voice was modulated in a way that was very scary.
Brian said, “Geeze, Paul, those sure don’t sound like good ideas to me, but I’ll still love you like a brother anyway.”
I said, “I think mid-list and well published horror authors are killing teh genre. It’s all the mediocrity preventing brilliant minds from getting published by the rich elite in New York City. Our ebooks and vanity published efforts are better than everyone else’s stuff, and you know it. I think that in order to get published it’s not talent and countless hours of hard work, but you need to only know the secret handshake and you’re keeping the secret handshake…um… a secret from us slathering hordes! Slathering hordes, I say!”
Brian said, “Paul? What are you saying? You don’t really believe that. What happened to you?” and manly tears of despair flowed out of his puppy dog eyes.
With the very last ounce of myself I yelled, “Run, Brian! I’m infected by the dagsbrowne virus! You’re not safe around me! Run!”
Brian said, “Dagsbrowne virus? Isn’t that a foot fungus? Or rump rot? I’ve got some talc if you need it. No wonder why you’re not yourself, bro.”
Poor, trusting Brian. I stood up quickly from the table and then I pushed in my chair quietly as I didn’t want to disturb the rest of the house. I launched myself at Brian and his demise is too gruesome to detail. Suffice to say, I enjoyed Brian’s brain like so much breakfast grapefruit.
So you see, Brian’s horrible death is not all my fault. I was used like a weapon by the virus, which while currently dormant, could re-emerge at any time. It’s too late for me, but please do what you can to inoculate yourself against the virus. To quote Kevin McCarthy: It’s already here, and you’re next. You’re nnnn….nnnn…. er…
(*transformation warning*) wait, that McCarthy guy was in a famous movie with aliens or something, the guy who wrote that was a mediocre hack so if I rewrite that book and add zombies then I’ll be as big as Stephen King and know the secret handshake…(trails off irrationally)
*If you enjoyed this or any other killing of Mr. Keene on ‘Kill Brian Keene on Your Blog Day’ please consider throwing a couple of bucks the way of the Shirley Jackson Awards. Paypal donate button here.*