In my first novel, Deputy Lyle Hoffman finds the body of a woman just as the effects of food poisoning start to take effect. What follows is him trying to do the initial investigation with diarrhea and vomiting. I thought my editor would recommend I cut most of it, but she left it intact. She said even the really gross parts were kind of funny. What I was trying to do in most of that first chapter was showcase the difference between the big departments and the small ones. In a big department the deputy would have just gone home sick. In small departments it doesn’t always work out that way. I once spent a twelve hour shift throwing up and looking for bathrooms. When I came in to work I felt fine, but about an hour into the shift I started feeling worse and worse. At one point the dispatcher told me I should go home, but I couldn’t. There was no one to fill in for me. Including the sheriff, we had an eight-man department. The deputy who was supposed to work the staggered shift with me had already called in sick. The sheriff and chief deputy were gone to a school. One deputy was on vacation. One deputy was out of town on his day off. A deputy had just got off from covering the day shift and another had to come in at 0600 hours to fill in the day shift in the morning. That left me to cover the county until morning, puking and crapping the whole shift. Fortunately it was a slow night and nothing big happened.
Everyone goes to the bathroom…except maybe Ward Cleaver. He went six years without using the bathroom, and he was still cheerful–they made them tough back then. In fact nobody went to the bathroom back in the fifties and sixties. The seventies came and Archie Bunker was on the “terlet” all the time. Nobody passed gas on TV or in the movies back then either. You never saw Rickie Ricardo come out of a room waving his hand in front of his nose yelling, “You got some splaining to do, Lucy!” In fact until Blazing Saddles and the campfire scene, flatulence did not exist.
George Carlin had a routine about how nobody thinks their farts smell that bad while everyone else’s could knock a buzzard off a manure wagon. (I cleaned that up a bit.) Women don’t fart, or at least that is what they would like to have you think. A woman would never fart in front of another woman. They would explode first. There are guys, on the other hand, who seem to relish breaking wind. They brag about it. The more people they can get to gag the prouder they are.
It is said that a guy knows he’s in a close relationship when a woman will break wind in front of him. When you’re snuggled on the couch and suddenly you hear a sound like an elephant giving birth and the dog passes out, you know she’s serious about you. Oh, and for the record my wife wants everyone to know that she has never cut the cheese in her entire life.
Below is my review of Stephen King’s book 11/22/63
When Stephen King first started publishing, I was a huge fan. As the years went by and the novels rolled out at a tremendous pace, I found many of his books were long on writing and short on story. My interest waned. It has been a few years since I have read a King book. 11/22/63 grabbed my interest. Jake Epping goes back in time through a wormhole to kill Lee Oswald before he can kill Kennedy on the belief that the world would now be a Utopia if Kennedy had lived—no mention is made of taking out James Earl Ray and Sirhan Sirhan for the trifecta. There is no real supernatural or monsters in the book, other than the time travel and the Past being some sort of entity that resists change, although it doesn’t seem to have a problem making changes in order to prevent changes. The whole thing is a gimmick to provide suspense. It doesn’t work. The Past rises up at inconvenient times to thwart Jake in various ways, some of them ludicrous such as a bookie beating up and attempting to kill a customer because he won a bet. (One would think the bookie’s business would drop off drastically after word got out that if you won a bet you would be beaten up or killed.)
Since the wormhole only leads to a certain date in the past, the first part of the book is Jake killing time until Oswald gets back from Russia. King brings back two characters from another book, which is another gimmick as the characters play no useful part in the story except to dance around as if to say, “Remember me?” and then they are gone. The characters, as with all King books, are very good and well drawn. The book has the same well-written style that has accounted for King’s bestseller status through the years, and there is a good love story buried in there. Perhaps the book would have been better as a novella without the time travel or the Past. At least it would have been shorter.
All in all it is not the worst King book I have read (The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon) nor does it come anywhere close to the top ten. I think it might be a while until I read another Stephen King novel.