In 1938, Raymond Chandler published a short detective story called “The King in Yellow.” It takes its name from the victim, a musician named King Leopardi. When the hotel dick, Steve Grayce, finds the man shot to death in his bed, clothed in yellow silk pajamas, he remarks, “The King in Yellow. I read a book with that title once.”
In 1998, someone gave Roland Emmerich $130,000,000 to make a Godzilla movie. This was not because Emmerich was a fan of the storied Japanese Kaiju film franchise, but rather was down to the fact that he had earned a reputation for producing popcorn spectacles in less time and with smaller budgets than other directors.
There it was, shattered as if by a falling tree branch, except there were no trees nearby to do the shattering. Someone had pulled into my driveway to turn around and hit the corner post of my fence. They hit it so hard that they dislodged the concrete mooring and the force shattered the top crossbar, splaying the pickets out like pick-up sticks. Then they drove off. It was the middle of the afternoon.
If you’ve been anywhere near the ocean, you’ve likely seen barnacles – the hard-shelled crustaceans that crust over wharves and rocks and the hulls of boats by the hundreds. Once they attach themselves to a solid surface, they are there forever, resting when the tide is out, feeding on plankton when the tide is in.
A few days before my flight to Los Angeles, I was sitting in my office working on the poster for Geek Flea VI. It was early evening and I was vaguely aware of the room darkening apace with the sky. Without warning and for no apparent reason, my heart starting pounding and my mind started racing around a singular thought: “Do not go to Los Angeles.”
The last day at home before traveling to a conference is the worst. I fret over my luggage. I regret booking the trip at all. It is too expensive. It is too long. It is going to be a disaster. Surely it cannot possibly be as amazing as last year. I should cancel it entirely, but I am expected. People are relying on me. So I go.