Just over a week ago, I went to ThrillerFest—a three-day-long nerd orgy for the writers behind those spooky paperbacks with the embossed covers you see at Walmart’s checkout counters. The headliners were a bunch of obscure thriller writers I’ve never heard of because I lost my virginity a long time ago, and MOTHERFUCKING R.L. STINE!!! Obviously, I was dying to meet the man who made me poop my pants when I was ten.
I guess everything they prophesied in school about nerds growing up to be rich heads of companies and entrepreneurs came true, because the base price for a ticket to this thing was $430. If you wanted to attend the closing party too (and who wouldn’t?) it was $710. Luckily, my press pass gave me free reign to attend all three days of conferences and cocktail parties, while keeping an eye out for my <3 hero <3
My first obstacle in the hunt for R.L. was trying to figure out how to enter the fucking hotel. Turns out the Grand Hyatt's entrance is through this leopard thong-infested place called Strawberry, which is the crack-head equivalent of Forever 21.
The first thing I noticed once I got in: advertising. Everywhere. Like a trail of really sad bread crumbs, rows of signs and flyers led the way into the ballroom for the "opening cocktail party."
And behold: a thriller novel rager. Everyone was schmoozing in tight circles and sipping $10 cocktails while a projector screen flashed photos of the most successful writers staring smugly down. The brunette with a bun was by far the hottest person in attendance. Her ass was like a shelf.
Everyone else was about two years away from having to be bathed and fed by their children.
I’m going to call this dude Bucket of Cock Slop #1 “ You just look so cute,” he said, sneaking up behind me. Then he tried to impress me by saying, “Everything in my books is real. I wrote about a dead body I found hooked to my boat’s anchor line.” When I blurted out a LOL, he started to mock me. "Oh, you’ve never seen a dead body before? You’ve never seen anyone get killed?!” Which made me feel like a total self-conscious noob. Then he poutily walked away with the parting shot, “As much as I like beautiful young women, I like my wife more.” Ouch.
I was grazing the carb-paradise buffet table when Bucket of Cock Slop #2 appeared. Immediately, he launched into a spiel about international conspiracies. I got bored and asked him if he had hot sex scenes in his novels, and that’s when shit got real weird. “Ducks?” Any what?” He asked, feigning autism. “No, sex… like, sexual activities,” I replied, doing a fantastic job of explaining what sex was. “What? Ducks? Do I have any what?” he leaned in closer and my face was engulfed in a cloud of his breath, which smelled like dead children dipped in sour milk. I tried once more: “SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEX. S-E-X.” All of a sudden, his expression cleared up and he was like, “OH, SEX. Yes.” Was he trolling me? The world will never know.
This guy was standing alone in a corner, shyly eating pastrami. He would only talk to me about “underappreciated werewolves” and looked SUPER psyched when I told him he'd make a good one. The room started clearing out, but R.L. was nowhere to be found. After taking one last futile scan, I headed home.
The next day I decided to check out a couple talks, even though my Stiney wasn’t hosting any. This one was led by Heather Graham. No, not fuckdoll face Heather Graham… just some middle-aged lady proselytizing about how strong female characters don't have to be raped—because I guess that's like, the standard?
This lady did not give a FUCK. She was sitting in the back of a talk called "Unique Ways To Kill," alternating between putting on lipstick and scraping off her toenail crust.
I ran into a publicist in the bookstore, who said Stine was M.I.A but shoved me into this other "really famous" guy named Douglas Preston, whose book was being made into a George Clooney movie. I asked Doug what the hardest part of being a thriller writer was. "Coming into contact with evil on a daily basis," he solemnly replied.
When the last day of ThrillerFest came I knew I was quickly running out of time to
make out bro out with R.L. Luckily, I had one more chance: the $280 per person closing party. Walking into the crowded ballroom, I saw two cowboys on stage singing a country song they'd made up about thriller novel cliches.
The lyrics, as you can see, were inspired.
Then, all of a sudden, like the holy messiah shining brighter than the fire of life—there he was. Standing across from me surrounded by a crowd of fans. I spazzed out and took a million pictures of him and his sexy body.
Including this one of his dapper shoes.
Finally, I cut through his circle of friends and jumped in front of him. "How do you feel about making a living scaring children?" I asked. He smiled and replied, "I love it."
“Have you ever hung out with a ghost?”
“What scares the shit out of you?"
"Nothing. I'm fearless."
And with that, I jizzed myself and R.L. Stine walked back into the night.