Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nightmares and Dreamscapes

This has to be one of the largest collections of short stories I have ever seen to date. At a startling 912 pages, I would be highly surprised if you read though this entire tome with no favorites. It is impossible, I tell you. Fortunately, I didn't find it necessary to strain my eyes because the pocket paperback version looks like it was printed in size ten font. In all likelihood that means that if you lost the corner of a page, say if it tore against something, you'd probably be losing 250 words or more just from that small rip. So, I decided to rent the audio book and listened to it an hour before I would go into work, which, at that time, I was working as a busser at an upscale restaurant. I would just sit in the parking lot, sometimes fumbling with my tie in the rear view mirror as I listened to spine-tingling tales.

Here are the best stories of the bunch, in my opinion.

Dolan's Cadillac - A bittersweet tale of revenge in which a widower gets the drop, quite literally, on a mob-affiliated bad guy who had a hand in the murder of his wife.

The End of The Whole Mess - This story was narrated by Matthew Broderick. It tells the story of a man who is trying to rid the world of human violence by inspecting a certain community's drinking water. But what he finds is way more destructive than violence itself.

The Night Flier - This is the tale of a vampire who invades the skies in a small cesna plane, which substitutes as a perfect mobile coffin. Wherever he lands, he feeds, then takes to the air. A reporter is trying to track him down. I remember this was made into a horror movie that was also very close adaptation of the original.

Chattery Teeth - A man wronged in the past by a hitchhiker makes the mistake again but this time doesn't pay such a heavy price. With him he carries a pair of chattery teeth. It looks like a harmless child's toy but there is more to be said about innocent smiling trinkets.

You Know They Got a Hell of a Band - This one isn't scary. Just disturbing. A husband and wife, knowing they are lost, pull into a small town where they try to peacefully figure out their predicament over food at a local diner. The problem is they notice that the guests and staff look very similar to dead rockers and singers of yesteryear.

Sorry, Right Number - This is recorded as a radio play, much in the same vein as that Radio show called Suspense! (You can still find it on iTunes), where they debuted the episode, Sorry, Wrong Number. Now, having heard both, I respect each interpretation and think that each one is equally disturbing.

Crouch End - This tale was narrated by Tim Curry. Oh, and he does give a chilling narration to this story. Two London police officers working the night shift are discussing a case in which a woman came into the precinct in hysterics. Saying that her husband had disappeared and that there were monsters afoot.

The Doctor's Case - A mystery story involving Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. In a startling turn of events, Dr. Watson actually solves the mystery. Not a bad interpretation. Very much like Conan Doyle. Sounded nothing like a Stephen King story.

Umney's Last Case - A stubborn detective in the 1930's gets a surprise visit from one fellow named Landry who happens to be the fiction writer who wrote him. Now, having lived his life penning the 1930's, Landry wants to switch places with Umney.

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