The story below was originally published a few years ago, when I was still in my phase of writing really weird stuff. (Okay, I've never left that phase.) It was subsequently put into a little ebook, taken offline, and then the ebook was discontinued as well. Recently someone from France asked for it, and since I don't know a lot of people in France, I figured I'd dig it up and maybe make some friends.
Often times when I’m writing, I’ll start out with one idea, only to find myself writing something completely different by the time I finish. This story was originally about a wedding between Han Solo and Princess Leia, then it morphed into a wedding between two extreme Game of Thrones fans, and then it turned into this. Whatever this is.
So Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, and George R. R. Martin were sitting in a bar. Turns out they were really good friends.
“Guys, I’ve got a problem,” R. R. Martin said. “Everything I write these days is horribly violent and depressing. Blood flows, cities burn, people keep having sex with their family members. And I can’t stop killing off characters. And not boring, side characters that no one actually cares about. Main characters. I think I’m secretly depressed.”
Sparks put down his Zima and clapped R. R. Martin on the back. “Not to worry, buddy,” he said. “We’ll help you out, right Stephen?”
“Totally,” King said, ordering another bloody Mary. “We’re all storytellers, right? Let’s write a story together, something with a happy ending, something to cheer you up. How about a wedding scene?”
“Great idea!” Sparks said. “Okay, picture this. It’s a beautiful, sunny day, and everything is ready for the wedding of Noah and Allie. They had the rehearsal dinner the night before, and--”
“What kind of food did they have?” R. R. Martin asked.
“That’s not important,” Sparks said.
“If you’ve read my books, you’ll know how ridiculous I think that statement is,” R. R. Martin said, brushing onion ring crumbs out of his beard. “Was there a beheading or a poisoning at this feast?”
“It was a rehearsal dinner, not a feast, and no. There were no beheadings or poisonings, no dragons or white walkers, no one ate horse hearts and no one committed adultery, incestuous or otherwise.”
“But the dinner party did have an unwelcome guest in the form of a mysterious man in black,” King said.
“No, you guys are terrible at this,” Sparks said. “Look, the rehearsal dinner went really well and everybody had a good time. I mean, yes, Allie did specifically ask for a restricted menu and the restaurant let everybody order off the regular menu, which wouldn’t be a big deal, except Uncle Billy kept ordering expensive drinks, and fine, whatever, she was happy to pay for it, but if you’re going to order a drink you could at least finish it before you order the next one.”
“I’m bored with this already,” King said.
“Can you just tell me what they had for dinner? I really need to know,” R. R. Martin said.
“Fine, they had Chicken Kiev and roasted asparagus in lemon sauce.”
“And rat sausage,” Double-R Martin said.
“Can we move on? Okay, so it’s a sunny, beautiful day. Rows of white chairs line the green grass atop a cliff, overlooking a sapphire blue sea.”
“Is it in Maine?” King asked, practicing sinister faces in the reflection of his beer bottle. “Let’s make the wedding in Maine.”
“No, it’s somewhere far more romantic. Like...North Carolina.”
“What a surprise.”
“Shut it, King,” Sparks said. “So the guests begin to file in, taking their seats. The simple folk on the groom’s side contrast sharply with those on the bride’s, for Allie comes from a wealthy family of southern tobacco farmers and Noah is nothing but a common, insanely handsome shop boy whose deep blue eyes can pierce the soul of everyone but Anne, Allie’s cold and distant mother.”
“Is Anne from Maine? Let’s make Anne from Maine,” King said.
“No, she’s from Tennessee,” R.R. Martin broke in. “The product of an incestuous relationship between--”
“No incest!” Sparks snapped. “She just wants the best for her daughter, that’s all. Financial stability is important to women.”
“Plus, she’s been suffering from a gypsy curse,” King said, cracking his pale knuckles. “If her daughter marries, the hair on her body will begin to grow uncontrollably. It will overwhelm her, growing too fast for her to cut it, until she slowly suffocates in her own auburn locks.”
“No, it’s just the financial stability thing,” Sparks said. “Jeepers, try to think of something beautiful for once in your life.”
“Okay, okay, I got this,” R. R. Martin said. “Let’s say there’s a...lighthouse nearby?”
“Yeah that’s good,” Sparks said, nodding encouragement.
“You know, there are a lot of lighthouses in Maine,” King said.
“Shut up, Steve. Go on, George.”
“It’s an older lighthouse,” R. R. Martin said. “Vintage and beautiful, its white stone worn rough and cracked by the ocean breeze. A young ring bearer stands next to the lighthouse, waiting for the wedding to start. He’s a perfectly healthy, nice kid whose parents are totally married and totally not related to each other.”
“This is the most boring story ever,” King said, getting up to leave.
“And they’re from Maine,” R. R. Martin added.
“Nice, I’m back in.”
“Bored, the boy begins to climb the lighthouse wall, his fingers and toes finding all the best grips and footholds.”
“Please tell me this isn’t going where I think it’s going,” Sparks said.
“Up he climbs,” R. R. Martin continued. “Higher and higher, to the very top of the tower, where he looks out over the sparkling blue water.”
“And then he comes down safely,” Sparks said. “Learning nothing sinister or depressing.”
“And then he finds a magic amulet hidden in the rock,” King suggested. “Which bears an ancient--”
“Don’t say it,” Sparks said.
“--gypsy curse, and--”
“You’re both wrong,” Martin interrupted. “He hears a strange noise coming from the lighthouse window. He circles around, fifty feet of empty air yawning beneath him. He reaches the window, and when he looks through it, he sees the bride and her brother--”
“Worshiping Satan and preparing for the summoning of a demon, for the bride is actually a gypsy!” King cried.
“No, actually they’re--”
“Crying on each other’s shoulder,” Sparks said. “Because they’ve just resolved decades of cold, distant feelings stemming from the brother’s poor treatment of Noah and his tacit regret over never having a brother of his own.”
“No!” R. R. Martin said. “They’re actually hatching a pair of beautiful dragons. They are perfectly healthy, nice young dragons whose parents are totally not related.”
“Well, this took a bit of turn into the fantastic,” Sparks asked.
“Like the stories you write are any more realistic?” King said.
“Touché,” Sparks said.
“And the dragons walk her down the aisle,” Martin continued. “And it’s a pleasant, lovely ceremony, and they kiss and everyone claps. Then they go to the reception, where there’s goat roasted with lemon and honey, and grape leaves stuffed with raisins, onions, mushrooms, and fiery dragon peppers, potted hare and honeyed chicken, with apple crisps and black cherries and sweet cream for dessert.”
“You know, George, I think you may be feeding your depression with food,” Sparks said.
“No kidding, Sparky,” King said “But how does it end?”
“Do they live happily ever after?” Sparks asked. “And die in bed together at a ripe old age after living a full and happy life?”
“Does Noah become an alcoholic?” King asked. “Or get hit by a van? Or start inexplicably writing himself into a beloved fantasy series?”
R. R. Martin shook his head. “I’m not sure yet,” he said. “Give me another one to six years. I’m sure I’ll figure it out by then.”