I saw this guy walking around in Keyport today. He leaned over the bulkhead and fell into the bay, but I was able to retrieve his helmet. As he climbed out of the water, shaking himself vigorously, he offered me $20 to give him back the helmet. I was going to give it back anyway. When I held it out to him, he snatched it away.
Only then did I remember where I’d seen that helmet before! It was in a Kolchak: The Night Stalker episode. If you wore it, it gave you three wishes–and then turned you into a monster.
“I’ve still got one wish left!” he snarled at me. “But as long as I’ve got the helmet and haven’t made the third wish, I won’t get turned into a monster.”
“What were your first two wishes?” I couldn’t help asking.
“First I wished to be handsome,” he said, “and then I wished to be smart. That’s two wishes!”
“Any idea when they’ll be granted?”
Well, that riled him. “What a rotten thing to say!” he cried. “I wish you’d just leave me alone!”
I suddenly found myself at home, leaving this man alone. Obviously his final wish was granted.
I’m currently reading a Young Adults novel so I can review it for Chalcedon. I’m about halfway through it, and it has begun to give me a kind of creepy feeling, sort of like the feeling you get when the Crawling Eye is stalking you. Because I’m not yet finished reading it, and Chalcedon has first dibs on the review, I will follow my custom of using pseudonyms for both the book and the author. For the time being, it shall be known as Deeply Neurotic People with Feminism Thrown In, by Hortense Portense.
I liked it at first: crisply written, cleverly arranged, with a first-person teenage girl protagonist whose narrative voice somehow reminded me of Karl Kolchak: if you can imagine Darren McGavin’s Night Stalker as a 17-year-old girl, which I hope doesn’t give you the heeby-jeebies.
I am sorry to say the story is turning toxic awfully fast. And it’s pitched to young readers, most of whom have not yet lived long enough to acquire sharp critical faculties and are thus in danger of having something not so nice slipped under their door. So my review will have to be a warning light to parents, a role that’s not quite my cup of tea. I would’ve truly hated it, to have my folks vet the books I was reading when I was 15: but in those days there wasn’t stuff like this for them to worry about. My mother liked to read some of my Edgar Rice Burroughs books when I was through with them; and I would read some of the historical novels she had.
There are books out there that aren’t good for us, and I’m afraid this is one of them.