Written by: Matt Molgaard
Note: I told you that from time to time I’d cover short works. This one was worth covering. Nuff said!
This story won’t take but a brief moment to read, in its entirety, but I found it quite intriguing, and I love getting an idea of the twisted little scenarios that haunted an extremely young Stephen King. If my research proves correct, King was about 13 years old when he crafted this extremely ephemeral tale of a sadistic little bastard who earns his payback, ten-fold.
As I’ve already stressed, this one won’t keep you occupied long, but it’s a special effort regardless, as it showcases a pretty distinctive indicator as to the kind of author King would eventually become. There’s a very cruel streak that tears through the story, while a sense of sympathy is issued ultimately in the form of karmic climax. We read here, in this fleeting story, a lot of the key strengths that Mr. king has come to lean on throughout his accomplished career.
Oglethorpe Crater is a nasty son-of-a-bitch, plain and simple. He also exhibits the tendencies of a serial killer in the making, finding genuine pleasure in torturing an assortment of creatures. At an early stage insects are his apparent victim of choice, but you know these freaks: the next time always has to surpass the excitement of its predecessor, so it’s on to bigger prey. Thankfully the potentially unsuspecting victims of this punks’ neighborhood won’t have to ever deal with Ogle’s violent potential. Karma comes to pay a visit.
There are so many subtle connections you can make between this short story and many of King’s future novels it’s ridiculous: the Night Surf roots, the manipulative twist akin to what’s found in Misery, the obvious early precursory tip of the cap at The Stand. This story just feels like Stephen King, young or not, this one stands out as something to crawl from the crevices of his grim mind.
I love the sensation built while running through this one. It’s a well delivered, straight forward tale that has a bit of a moral proffered amongst the violent fate that awaits the savage. A wickedly vicious little story that leaves the skin crawling, that’s what we’ve got here. Too bad we don’t have an extra three or four pages of greatness to take in.