Do you see now why I don’t name the chapters in my books? It would probably pull you right out of the mood that’s being established if I had stuck the above title at the top of Chapter Three in Fall of the Walker King. At the risk of sounding preposterous, let’s just say that one or two people exist in this world that know who I am but do not know who Kevin Smith is. I’ll explain, but quickly, since my premise is indeed a preposterous one.
Kevin Smith is a big part of the dork culture in modern America. Remember when the dorks and nerds and geeks somehow became the cool crowd? That was due in large part to Kevin Smith. Don’t believe me? Well, crawl out from under your rock on Mars and Google the dude. There’s not much he hasn’t done, and most of his accomplishments look a lot like the list most dorks would come up with if they stumbled across a wish-granting genie. If I were to recommend any of his work to someone unfamiliar with him, I would have to recommend all of it. If I had to pick a favorite, I would push the movie “Dogma” on anyone who hasn’t seen it. That really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
For this particular homage, however, we need to go back to the beginning. Kevin Smith’s first movie was of course the classic “Clerks”. Set in a convenience store, the story features a character who has come in to work on his day off. He’s a whiny little bitch, and his mantra through the entire movie is “I’m not even supposed to be here!” It’s funny, but it’s also relatable: the world is ironically overpopulated with a whole bunch of people who feel out of place, like they don’t belong. Even those of us that don’t experience this chronic state have days now and then where we wish we just hadn’t bothered showing up.
Well, suffice it to say that Kris was one of my favorite characters from the beginning (Like any good parent, I have to lie and say that no one is my very favorite, of course). He was a solid guy, smart and critical and sensitive to the needs of others. He was a good friend to Paul before all this weird Walker shit came along, and his role became an invaluable one when they were both transformed in Book I.
After Kris died, he became the picture of confidence for the first time in his life. Something clicked in him when he became a Guide, and a million questions suddenly became answers in his mind. Watching him come into his own in Demons & Angels was great fun for me, and when he and Jessica came together at the end it seemed that all was right in his world. In Book II, the romance between them blossoms and we see a whole new side of Kris. It’s a beautiful build-up to a terrible let-down, and the Guide loses everything in the last few fateful pages of Rise of the Walker King.
So here we are in Book III, with all this behind him and only bleakness ahead. Fall of the Walker King will see the Guide’s mettle tested as never before, and it remains to be seen whether or not his strength of spirit is up to the task. For now, in this chapter, you will see that Kris is clearly in a dark place. There is no humor in his unintentional homage to Kevin Smith, as he repeatedly goes back to the thought in his mind. He’s no Walker, after all, and what is a Guide without a Walker? How can he make any difference at all in the world that is falling down all around him? It seems true, as he thinks about it: he shouldn’t still be here.
Thanks for reading!
Stay tuned for Chapter Four, coming next Tuesday. Need to start at the beginning? Read Chapter One here.