Now that the cold is settling in and I have had to revert to a stationary bike going nowhere fast, I thought this year I’d try something different. Usually I listen to music. I have a few CDs with songs that help me through a workout. But that gets old fast, listening to the same songs over and over again. My Bookman is an audio book aficionado and has a small audio library of choice books. I am not in general an audio book listener so I asked him to recommend a book for me.
The book he gave me is a Stephen King novella called Stationary Bike. No one can accuse him of not having a sense of humor. Worried the stationary bike in the story was going to come alive à la Christine, I grilled him to find out just how sick his sense of humor was. He assured me the story was creepy but not scary. With some trepidation I began to pedal and pressed play.
The story turned out not to be scary at all. Weird, definitely, it’s Stephen King after all. The main character is Richard Sifkitz, a commercial artist whose doctor has just told him that he is too fat and his cholesterol level is dangerously high. Sifkitz had better do something about it or he’d be sorry. So Sifkitz buys a stationary bike. Sets it up in the basement and starts to ride a little every day. He makes up a story about a road construction crew working for the Lipid company. The roads are his arteries and the crew’s job is to keep them clear. He even goes so far as to paint a picture of the crew. Then he paints a mural on the wall his bike faces, a road among the trees. Pretty soon the bike becomes a bit of an obsession. He is riding two hours a day and has to set an alarm clock to snap him out of the trance he goes into during which he imagines himself riding along the road. Soon he notices the mural begins to change subtly and then things start to get really weird.
I enjoyed the story very much. It even had a sort of “all things in moderation” moral to it. Now I am ready to start another book. My Bookman says I should listen to The Dark Tower series. I asked him since so many of King’s books feed into it, shouldn’t I read some other books first. Nah, he said, and offered to answer any questions I might have. I hemmed and hawed. He said Pet Sematary would be good to do. Says it isn’t scary, only a vampire book (for some reason vampires don’t scare me). But I know it’s more than a vampire book. So my question is, are there any horror wimps like me out there who have read Pet Sematary and is it scary or not? I don’t want to have nightmares of my childhood pets being resurrected from the dead and returning to take their revenge on me for pushing them in my baby buggy or forcing them to do tricks for a cookie.