Livia "Bitchypants" Llewellyn
I remember about two years ago, in Nick Kaufmann's Livejournal - we were all raking some 4theluv writer over the coals because he'd done what so many newbies and wannabes had done, which was to pick a fight with Brian Keene so they could get some attention and get published and become one of the big boy/top dogs in teh genre. A fight that no one can apparently win, evidently - the man is like Thunderdome - one wannabe writer in, no wannabe writer out, and it never fucking ends. And I was all "oh, well, I guess if I ever want to prove that I'm one of the 'bad boys' of horror, one of the dick-swinging 'pros', one of the members of your sooper-awesome cabal/coven of five-cent-a-word writers who control the entire publishing industry and keep all the hard-working plain-talkin' average joes like me locked out, I guess I'll have to pick a fight with Brian Keene, lol!"
And Nick Kaufmann was all "YES, BEYOCH, YOU WILL. LOLEVENTYONE!"
So, cut to last week, when I emailed Bill Schafer of Subterranean Press, asking him when he was going to finally publish "Her Deepness", the novella I sold him back in April. And do you know what that S.O.B. said to me? He said, "I can't publish it. You're not a professional horror writer - I only publish pros." And I'm all, "what about the two stories from me that you published already?", and he's all "yeah, but this is an entire fucking novella, and I can't publish something that long by some fucking newbie that no one's ever heard of and you know that, so what exactly is your damage?", and I'm all, "well, goddamnit, who do I have to fuck or kill to get that novella published?", and then he said "OMG YOU KNOW WHO, BITCH" and I was like, yeah. I know who.
I know who.
So, I did fuck that one dude who's maybe a writer or something, I never got his full back story, but he's really cute and he blogs a lot which is kind of like writing, but apparently that wasn't the dude or the thing Schafer was talking about, so I realized I had to kill that asshole Brian Keene.
Let me tell you - Pennsylvania is a pretty big-ass state with evidently a whole metric fuck-ton of "writers" and "authors", and I got lost a few times, and I'll admit I accidentally killed a few guys who kind of looked like that cocksucker Keene, so right now I have to say apologies to anyone who comes home to your dog or kids or grandma licking brains and blood off the kitchen floor while the bloated corpse of your faceless, bullet-riddled husband lays rotting nearby. But I should have known better - I mean, if it could be that easy, then a wannabe would have killed him years ago, right? Ok, yeah, maybe I knew they weren't him, and I just like killing dudes. So sue me. Anyway, all those dudes gave me clues that led me to other dudes who finally led me to Keene, last night. Yeah. I saw him. He was sitting on his front porch, scratching his crotch, sucking down cheap beer and muttering shit about markets that pay only in recognition, how he just wanted the man to leave him alone so he could enjoy being a publamished writer, how Shocklines could go suck his big fat one, and crazy talk I don't even want to repeat, because I'm a lady. I raised the shotgun - it was so easy...
Wait a minute...
It was too easy.
"No way that's Brian Keene," I said, lowering the shotgun. "Brian Keene doesn't pee his pants."
"Not anymore I don't, bitch," a voice said, and something large sailed across the lawn. On the porch, the dude's chest exploded in a spray of blood, along with most of the fucking house. I whirled around.
Brian Keene stood before me, dressed head to toe in black leather, smoke pouring from the end of his RBR-90 mm M79 "OSA" rocket launcher, every inch the big-dicked, bad boy pro horror writer I'd heard him to be. I almost swooned. "Holy fucking shit," was all I could manage to say--which kind of pissed me off, since I'd planned on saying something way cooler, like "eat lead and die, cocksmoker", or maybe just "SNAP, you've been SERVED!".
"Holy fucking shit is right," he replied, and spat out his cigar as he sent another rocket exploding into the burning rubble of the house. Timbers flew into the air, and sparks showered all around us like the Fourth of Fucking Ju-ly. "Took me five years to hunt this one down. One of the worst "luvvers" I've ever seen. He infected thousands, getting them to believe they can actually write horror. He was gonna infect you, too."
"Yes, but it wouldn't have took," I snapped. "Like, I can actually write,"
"Oh, really?" Keene stared at me, his stony face devoid of any human emotion. I turned away, shaken to my very core. Within the roiling clouds of fire, the writer I mistook for Keene danced and howled, not yet dead.
"Damn, watch that wannabe go--how can he still be alive? He's funny--I'm totally going to blog this."
Keene reloaded the launcher as he spoke in deep, even tones over the crackling flames. "They keep going 'cause they just don't know when to stop. Wannabes and luvvers keep writing, keep submitting, keep ramming their turgid, bloated, rotting words down the greasy pie holes of any fucktard who calls himself an "editor" or "publisher" because he has access to his mommy's computer and knows how to take the bus to Kinko's. And that shit get vomited online and gets blogged or MySpaced or, what do they call it now, tweeted and twatted, and some innocent kid who might have had some bit of talent gets all caught up in the lies and the false glamour, and before you know it they've caught the bug too, and they're clogging up the industry with hundred-thousand word short stories about skull-fucking, baby-eating, Nazi rape spiders from Chicago or some such shit, I don't know, I can never read all the way to the end."
Keene stopped talking and grabbed my arm, looking so sad and forlorn that I almost felt sorry for him. "I tried, you know," he said. "I tried to give them advice, I tried to help them find the way. I tried to save them. But they didn't listen--they turned on me. They'll turn on you, too, kid. And then, when no one's left and the genre is gone: they'll turn on themselves. I can't let it get that far, though. I have to save the genre. I'm the only one who can."
He let go of my arm, and rose, shouldering the launcher again. In the distance, the wannabe shrieked and gibbered, and I realized with a start that the woods around us was moving, coming alive. "Go on, kid. Take your little gun and get out of here. They've heard him call, and they're coming. It's a shitstorm of self-publishing gonna rain down tonight. You don't want to get caught in the middle of this. You won't make it out alive."
"But, I came to kill you! If I don't kill you, I'll never be a professional horror writer!"
Keene aimed the launcher straight at my head, laughing hard. I felt like a damn straight fool--who was LOLing now, right?
"Yeah, sure, I'm trying to save the fucking world here, but go on," he said, "go ahead. Take your best shot, little girl!" He pointed the launcher away, raising his arms to the sky. In that moment, for all his strength and indestructibility, he appeared more lonely man than horror god. My will dissolved.
"Awe, fuck it, I can't kill you with this thing," I replied, kicking at my puny, sissy-boy gun. "You were right. I'm no bad boy. What was I thinking? I'll never be a big ole dick-swinging pro. I'll never be a horror writer at all. I'm totally facepalming right now. Yep, soooo embarrassing."
Keene could have laughed again, but he didn't. I'll give him that. "I know it hurts, kid," he said, placing an almost friendly hand on my shoulder. "I know. But you're not the problem. Go on, run home, put on a pretty black corset and write some urban fantasies, get a paranormal romance series going, something like that. No offence, but this is horror. This ain't no place for a woman. This is the real motherfucking deal."
I watched as he shot another giant pointy rocket into the liquid-hot hole of the fire. I'm sure it was a metaphor for something wonderfully filthy, but I was too dejected to really get a good LOL out of it. All my life I'd wanted to be a horror writer, right after wanting to be a movie star, a disco dancer, and an astronaut-princess. What meaning was there to my life now?
"Hey," I said as I picked up my backpack, "I know this sounds really stupid considering I did try to kill you and shit, but I just wanted you to know that I read The Conqueror Worms a couple years ago, and I really liked it." Keene only shook his head, but I pressed on. "No, really, I thought it was one of your better novels. I loved how you juxtaposed the rural, feral horror of the first half of the book with the epic, almost Lovecraftian qualities of the Baltimore scenes--sort of like showing how different environments, both geological and manmade, can give different shapes to a horror that would otherwise be beyond man's comprehension, beyond his definition of what horror is."
"Really?" Keene lowered the launcher. "I hadn't thought of... yes, I did try and do something a bit different with that novel. No one got it, though. Of course. Everyone just wanted more zombies. Very frustrating."
"I can imagine--readers want you to try something new, you try something new, and--"
"Exactly. It's ridiculous."
I pulled a worn copy of the book out of my bag, and held it out. "Please? I'd love if you could sign it. After all this--it'd really mean a lot to me. Inspiring, you know."
"Well, I--what the fuck. Sure." Keene lowered the launcher to the ground and pulled a pen from his long black duster, motioning for me to give him the book. "Anything for a horror fan, right?" He grabbed the cover. I stood back as he opened the flaps... and screamed, the fingers of his flesh melting into pale bubbling strips over the cheap cardboard.
"HA!" I shrieked. "That wasn't your real book, that was a copy of my dark Lovecraftian erotic science fiction poetry with accompanying clip art, printed up by Lulu with a cover that looked eerily similar to yours!"
"No, God no, I'm tainted!" Keene dropped to the ground, raising his hands into the spark-filled air. His flesh was melting down his arms, and bits of leather peeled away, revealing white bones. "I tried to help you, I tried to teach you, and you befouled me! I'm tainted with the turgid, purple unsold words of a punk-ass bitch!"
"Help me? Teach me? Fuck you, you pompous professional cocksucker! You can't teach me jack shit!"
Keene lunged, and his boney hands caught my ankles. Sweat poured down his face as he began to drag me into his ghoulish embrace--probably to kill me, I do not think he wanted to hit that, if you know what I mean and I think you do. "Wannabe," he half-snarled, half scream-shouted. "Just another pathetic fucking wannabe, that's all you are! WANNABEEEEEEE!"
"Wannabe? Wannabe?" I reached into my backpack and pulled out my real weapon. As Keene's melty eyes glanced upon it, he fell back, his face pleading for mercy. But it was too late. Too. Fucking. Late. I rose my weapon high, and brought it down.
"TAINT THIS, BITCH!"
My nine-hundred-thousand word, thousand-page trunked horror manuscript formatted entirely in single-spaced ALL CAPS Haettenschweiler (on both page sides!) hit his chest like the giant shit bomb I'd written it to be: Keene's inhuman howls filled the air with more spark and heat than Centralia's mine fires, as page after page of poorly-written dialogue between one-dimensional Mary-Sue's and thinly-disguised TV characters burned through his clothes and directly into his flesh, right to his very heart. He collapsed to the scorched earth, his body twisting and writhing in unbearable pain. Paper ash floated into the air like delicate spring blossoms, blackened with the heat of his destruction. Slowly Keene's limbs melted, and blood from the broken hull of his torso sprayed into the air, dotting my face like a veil of rubies. Still he kept screaming, shouting out words I couldn't comprehend. The ancient secrets of his publishing cabal, perhaps? The names of editors I could easily pressure into sending me anthology invites? A pithy blurb for a yet-unwritten novel? I'd never know, but: it didn't matter. Finally, the horrible sounds subsided, the flesh bubbled away into the ground, and all that remained behind was a pile of ruined leather, a few charred bones, and his oddly fully-intact skull, jaws open in a silent, endless scream.
"Wictory!" I shouted to the treetops. "I can haz professional horror writing career! I'm the fucking top dog--I'm the baddest goddamn baddass writer in town! Eleventy-fucking-ONE!!!1!"
The trees and the wind answered my cries with soft rustling. I lowered my hands. From the shadows of the forest, they emerged, slow and steady. Wannabes and luvvers, shambling and lurching, holding up poorly photocopied 'zines, printouts of e-published poems and stories, trailing strands of flaming bulletin board threads from their rotting toes. Great. Just great.
"Oh, ok, you want some of this now?" I scrambled for the rocket launcher, and hoisted it to my shoulder. Yes, yes, shut up, I had no fucking idea what I was doing. "You want a piece of the top horror bitch? You want to mess with my giant swinging girl-dick? You want to fuck with a pro? Come on, shitstains! Come and get some! Come and get--hello? Helloooo. I'm right here, people! People?"
They poured around me as I stood frozen to the ground. Ok, no, I didn't try to launch a rocket, I couldn't find a fucking ON switch to save my life. What the fuck is up with that? It's never this lame in the movies. Anyway, it didn't matter, because, like I said, they poured around me, completely ignoring my newly-won professional badassness. They all walked past me, frottaging me with their snack-bloated bodies and slimy author comp copies that they had to pay full price for and their faked bibliographies, they poured over me like a big-ass river of Horror Fail '09, all heading directly to the still-smoking remains of Brian Keene. And that's when I realized--that's when the true horror came right up and surprise butt-secked me like I'd never been surprise butt-secked before: the wannabes and the luvvers didn't want me, because I still wasn't a professional horror writer, because I didn't have what they wanted, because the toasty remains of that asshole Brian Keene still had the only thing that wannabes and 4theluvers ever lacked, ever needed, ever craved...
Fuck it. So I joined them. Lollerskates!
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