Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Kurt Weller's 1985 Cockroach Armor idea may finally be vindicated at the Harry Keeler Annual Short Story Competition!




In 1985 my biology teacher refused to answer me when I asked him if it would be possible to construct cockroach armor to help stop a lethal dose of radiation from an atomic bomb blast.

He looked at me and then looked away. He did it in a deliberately slow and contemptuous manner.

He soon after quit teaching.

Several years later, when I was a Compact Disc Hock-Jock at a local record store, he came in with a stunningly beautiful African-American woman. She was at least a head taller than he and looked as though this was a blind date. He was bald and had a thick Cop Mustache. I gave him the nod and he nodded back. He couldn't seem to place me.

'How have you been Coach?'

'Pretty well,' he stammered nervously.

'Last night I dreamed that in fifteen years I am going to write a short story version of my Cockroach Armor idea and it is going to win the annual Imitate Harry Keeler award,' I said to him, 'I will not remember this moment again until I discover Harry Keeler nor will I have thought of the armor but it will flood back to me at the right moment.'

He looks at his date and then looks away, heading for the R&B.

'Maybe you should head that way coach,' I said, gesturing towards the easy listening section, 'Manilow is on sale for the rest of the month.'

His date looked back with a broad smile and a wink.


On November 24th I found this post at PCL Link Dump:

HARRY STEPHEN KEELER (1890-1967) is one of the strangest writers who ever lived. In his time, he was pegged as a mystery novelist who also wrote some science fiction. Today, if you've heard of him at all, it's as the Ed Wood of mystery novelists, a writer reputed to be so bad he's good.

Some typical Keeler situations:

*A man is found strangled to death in the middle of a lawn, yet there are no footprints other than his own. Police suspect the "Flying Strangler-Baby," a killer midget who disguises himself as a baby and stalks victims by helicopter. (X. Jones of Scotland Yard, 1936)

*A disgruntled phone company employee calls every man in Minneapolis, telling him the morning papers will name him as the secret husband of convicted murderess Jemimah Cobb, who runs a whorehouse specializing in women with physical abnormalities. (The Man With the Magic Eardrums, 1939)


I followed the link to the Harry Stephen Keeler Society and discovered the aforementioned Imitate Harry Keeler Award that I had dreamed about in 1992.


There will be an update.

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