Brian Keene Must Die

…but it’s for a good cause. If you enjoy this story, or any of the other stories for Brian Keene Must Die Day! please consider making a small donation to The Shirley Jackson Awards.

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Brian Keene Must Die

Do this. Do that. Do this. Do that. I was so sick of hearing what I should and shouldn’t do. What I had done wrong and how I could only hope to fix it. I had wanted a mentor. A big brother. Someone to look out for my mistakes before I made them. Someone I could watch and learn from. I didn’t want a menopausal mother-hen.

“It’s okay, but the dialogue could be better,” was at least better than, “Nope, it sucks. Start over.” But the real sting of his rude, two sentence email replies, had always been the fact that he’d been too busy to get around to reading anything for six months. That is, if he read them at all, rather than just claiming Big Joe must have “lost the email.”

He took me under wing, he said. He was going to point me in the right direction, he said. He lied to me! All he did was bitch and complain and use me when it suited him. The day that he told me I couldn’t talk to Nicky anymore hurt. Nicky was famous. Nicky was making something of himself. And here Brian was, telling me I wasn’t allowed to be friends with him anymore. After Nicky, he tried to ban Eric and Paul from my life, citing one as crazy and the other as doing it all wrong. How would he know? He wasn’t part of our late night chats and Sunday afternoon writer’s meetings. When I tried to fight for my right to self-publish whatever I wanted, he yelled into the phone, “Sweet jumping fuck, I need snack cakes. Call me back when you’re ready to listen.”

The final straw came when he cut me out. He told me I needed to work on my own work rather than proofing his. I needed to “hone my craft”. Who says that? Really?! And he brushed me off. Left me at the curb. Alone. And went on about his merry career without another thought. He stopped answering my emails. He stopped calling. He stopped… He stopped being there when I needed.

Oh no, he had a new pet. A new writer to push along. Even worse, he called the new one a protégé. He’d never called me that! I was before this one, damn it. I was first. I was a fan and a marketer, a proofer and a bouncing board. I was important, and he just cut me out. He left me for dead.

Well, who’s dead now? That’s right. He thought it was a little get-together. He thought we were friends just hanging out. But I had gathered all the other up-and-comers he had painted stars into the imaginations of, and we took care of our little problem. We took care of Brian “Fucking” Keene.

And now our zombies will rule the message boards and small press. Now our work will be printed in various mags and multiple countries. Now it’s our turn.

Because if you want to succeed, sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. Mine are filthy. I did it. I admit it. But he promised the world and then yanked it away with a smile that smelled of stale cigars and Knob Creek.

“That motherfucker!” The cop shook his head as I finished telling him what had happened. To my surprise, and relief, he kicked the body on the ground in front of me to punctuate his irritation, rather than handcuffing me. The body that lay open, white ropey things falling from its middle and dozens of red pens penetrating the face and neck.

I still don’t know how they found out so quickly. Maybe it was the twittering and drunk dialing we were doing beforehand. Maybe it was the neighbor pissed off at our laughter again. But the flashing lights invaded my living room windows before I had even finished wiping the blood from my hands. I had no time to come up with a decent excuse. No chance to formulate an amazing tale of accidental actions or defensive reactions. I had no choice but to tell the truth. And the truth set me free.

Now then, who else has pissed me off in this genre?

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