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Fiction #2
(published Mid-year, 2000)
The Famous and Talented Horror Author
by Morgan Johnson

And so when the famous and talented horror author was forced by true love to find a new career his first instinct was to keep on producing horror, but not novels and short stories. Movies, he decided, were the way to go. They had a larger audience, he justified, so I'll have more exposure and who really reads books these days anyway?

But to his disappointment and consternation his ideas did not translate into film very well. His terrifying novel about a man who—due to a gypsy's curse—cannot see automobiles was ridiculous on screen. The actors weren't as malleable as his characters. Lines that he had imagined delivered with quiet terror with muttered brashly through clenched sweaty teeth. The mousy gypsy's daughter who attempts to redeem the car-plagued man was played by a jive talking, wise cracking hoodlum. Things spiraled out of control swiftly.

Not to be put off so easily—after all, it was no easy battle to get a book published these days and the famous and talented horror writer was no stranger to the maneuverings of the entertainment industry— he tried again to make a movie. Maybe, he reasoned, the problem is that I took a "book" idea and made it into a movie. Maybe, he decided, I need a purely "movie" idea?

His next film was about a man short on cash and deep in debt who in desperation sells his body to science. the man mistakenly believes that they will wait until after he is dead to reap what he has sown. But every Friday at four PM the harvesters come and take a part of him. At first it's just a patch of skin or some hair: for grafts and plugs. But as the weeks roll by and the man's gambles and prospects crumble around him he begins to run out of skin and they claim other parts of him. No matter where he is on Friday at 4 they arrive and harvest. He runs and flees to remote areas, locked rooms, undersea depths, foreign countries with hostile relations to the US: none of it makes a difference. All of his fleeing costs money, unfortunately and soon creditors, repo men, process servers and the mob are all after him. The film culminates in a shot of him running down an empty new York street, no skin left on his body, half his organs gone, missing an arm and with the sound of a thousand footfalls approaching.

Test audiences vomited and broke into crying fits. Legal action was taken. Against better judgment and the advice of their attorneys, the film was released. massively. The idea was, supposedly, to recoup some of the money they lost in the lawsuits during the test screening. Unfortunately, the new cut of the film was lost and the ashamed and nervous editor replaced it with the pre-test screening original cut. Audiences were traumatized.

And so when the famous and talented horror author left cinema he decided to get away from horror. and try his hand at childrens' picture books. He and his love were now married and were planning on having children. It seemed to him that this was perfect. he would write stories for his children, and they would be then stories for all children. It made so much sense to him.

His first attempts were massive successes—children's literature and fairy tales are seething with horror—it was nothing at all for him to rework the classic fairy tales adding his own dark twist to them and setting them in modern times. Anti-Disney sentiment was at an all-time high and parents and children alike welcomed a respite from the sanitized safety that Disney had in recent years become.

After releasing a dozen award winning and best-selling books he had his own child, and his writing changed. Newborn babes, it is well known, do not follow the same sleeping patterns as you or I. They have their own plans and their own agenda. So it was that the famous and talented and terribly sleep-deprived childrens' author wrote his most horrible and terrifying book yet. "When you cry." It was written in short bursts, each story being no more than two pages in length and each story having been written immediately after he had been woken up in the middle of the night. the stories in "When You Cry" were soaked with rage and anger at children. Every story featured a little boy being murdered by his father—in a different creative way each time, mind you—after he has woken up his father crying.

Parents expected "When You Cry" to be like the Author's previous works: dark, but ultimately fun and with an important moral message. They did not expect or notice the new style until it was too late. Eagerly parents everywhere had perched on the edges of beds and read the first story aloud to their beautiful impatient children.

the first story is about a parent who has had enough of their bratty child pestering them to read the new story from their favorite author's new book. So the fed-up parent has poisons their child during dinner and calmly pretends that nothing has happened until that evening when the parent is going to read the new book to the child and the child dies before hearing the last...

No child anywhere that night could sleep.

the horror author unable to escape his nature continued to write.

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