Stephen King Doesn’t Live In Bridgton Anymore
In Maine, no municipality is more associated with horror-writer Stephen King than Bridgton.
Well, except for Durham (the likely basis for fictional Castle Rock), Bangor (where King currently lives part-time and which serves as the inspiration for the nonexistent Derry), and every suburb north of Portland (all of which claim to be the real location of Jerusalem’s Lot).
Of course, King has, on occasion, stuck Castle Rock in Oxford County and Derry off toward Skowhegan, so all locations are subject to change without notice. Which is pretty much what happened to Bridgton’s brief flirtation with cashing in on its tenuous connection to King.
King once lived in Bridgton, and it was the site of the author’s short novel “The Mist,” which was later made into a movie. In it, a mysterious fog descends on the town, trapping many residents in a grocery store. Weird creatures show up. Mayhem ensues. Paul LePage gets elected governor.
An enterprising town official decided Bridgton should hold a “literary heritage festival” to remind the world of its crucial place in the geography of King’s imaginary world. It didn’t seem to occur to this official that if that world was imaginary, it might mean that Bridgton didn’t actually exist. Which would seem to indicate that residents would be able to pay their property tax bills with Monopoly money. Although, I’d suggest consulting with an attorney well-versed in fictional law (Perry Mason, Judge Judy) before attempting to do so.
But that’s a little off the subject we’re dealing with here, which is that in addition to failing to deal with the whole question of the existence of Bridgton, the organizers of the fledgling festival also neglected to deal with King until after they’d announced their plans to the world.
As it turned out, he wasn’t all that enthused with the idea.
“I call down the wrath of Baal on your miserable hovels,” King said in a prepared statement issued through his publicist (or at least it could have been). “I will boil your entrails in the sulfurous pits of the lost islands of the damned kingdom of C’tangi Artabous. I will revel in the screams from the severed throats of your undead corpses.”
Nice talk in a week when the world is supposed to be coming to an end on Saturday, shortly before the running of the Belmont Stakes.
As a result of the impending apocalypse and King’s obvious lack of interest, Bridgton officials reluctantly agreed to drop their plans, which had been scheduled to include a tour of the local Food City store, the inspiration for the supermarket in “The Mist,” as well as such other landmarks as … um … well … Bus to Derry, anyone?
That might have been a worthwhile trip for King fans, because even as the Bridgton festival was being cancelled, a fantastic object was descending from the skies over Lincoln, a town located not too far from where Derry isn’t.
It wasn’t a giant bat from another dimension.
It wasn’t a winged dragon.
It was a vodka blimp.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it was a blimp inflated with 69,000 cubic feet of vodka. While there’s much to be said for filling a giant balloon with that much booze, the practicality of that activity is questionable, since it would float about as well as the idea of the Stephen King Literary Heritage Festival.
No, this particular vodka blimp was full of helium, and it came down in Lincoln because one of the pickup trucks accompanying it (I wonder how they get them to fly) developed mechanical problems. The blimp, which advertises the Hangar 1 brand of vodka (motto: Similar To The Fuel We Use To Get Pickup Trucks To Fly), had been traveling from Canada, where it was built, to Florida, where it’s supposed to begin a nationwide tour aimed at convincing people to drink Hangar 1 because it’s the vodka with its own blimp.
Which makes about as much sense as a Stephen King festival in Bridgton.
In other confusing news, Thomas Delahanty, the U. S. attorney for Maine, has issued a letter to state legislators in which he says his office reserves the right to prosecute anyone engaged in any of the following activities:
Organizing a Stephen King literary heritage event (“What ‘literary’? asked Delahanty. “What ‘heritage’?”).
Filling a blimp with vodka and attempting to navigate it through U.S. airspace (a violation of eleven different federal aviation statutes and four regulations enforced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms).
And engaging in the cultivation of marijuana for medical use.
I can see the first two. If a U.S. attorney doesn’t take a firm stand for law and order, we’re flirting with chaos. And given that we’ve already got Armageddon and the Belmont Stakes to deal with on May 21, adding chaos to the mix just seems excessive.
But what’s with the medical pot thing?
For years, it’s been legal in Maine for people suffering from certain debilitating diseases to be able to do a little dope to ease their discomfort. This law hasn’t resulted in any serious problems, such as people being trapped in grocery stores by a fog of exhaled weed smoke. Nor has it obscured visibility in case any dirigibles needed to make emergency landings.
While it’s true that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, it would seem as if the U.S. government would have more critical matters to attend to, such as the invasion of alien bats around small-town grocery stores and the incursion into our airspace of Canadian blimps.
Delahanty thinks otherwise.
According to his letter, he intends to deal with pot growers, even those licensed by the state, by “calling down the wrath of Baal on your miserable hovels, boiling your entrails in the sulfurous pits of the lost islands of the damned kingdom of C’tangi Artabous and reveling in the screams from the severed throats of your undead corpses.”
Seems harsh. I mean, it’s probably constitutional and all. But harsh.
Particularly with the end of the world nearly here. I mean, it’s not as if anybody he arrests this week is going to get a court date scheduled before the Rapture hits.
With end times bearing down on him and an entire blimp full of vodka to drink, Al Diamon is not going to be able to answer emails sent to email@example.com until sometime after May 21.