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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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