If I could jump into any horror novel…
By Benjamin Kane Ethridge
I would have to be somebody from Stephen King’s THE STAND. At first I thought about Stu Redman, but his ending is too happy, all things considered, and he doesn’t actually get to make the final stand against evil. So I would have to be the guitar-toting Larry. Think about what he is and what he becomes. Just after the plague wiped everybody out, he instantly becomes a relic—a rock star that could no longer be adored by millions of people, reduced to normality. What’s left then? All he had was the music in his heart, the guitar on his back and good intentions all around him.
I always enjoyed the freedom that Larry’s character offered; he was like Stu in that he said what he wanted, but he was slightly edgier about it. He wasn’t perfect. If he were a role playing character he’d probably be Neutral Good. Despite his obvious alignment with the righteous, he struck me as somebody who might get tired of Mother Abigail’s do-gooder compound, and want to ride off for parts unknown with his newly acquired wife and son. He’s fascinating for such a simple protagonist when you consider him fully. Losing his rock stardom didn’t faze him as much as it would have a self-consumed musician; it actually took down the fame prison that was slowly building around Larry and that liberated him rather than crushed his soul. I dig that.
Now, what would I do different if I jumped into his skin? Probably not much, because Larry’s doom is prophesy, but something always struck me as slightly false about Larry becoming one of the lambs at the end. I’d have much preferred seeing him hang out as a spy with the Flagg in Vegas for a bit, since he could blend so well in that scene. But then again, that course of action might not have got him a front seat for God’s grand finale, so I guess all is well that ends well.