Kevin Meyer's was the last submission to come through Forest Avenue Press' Submittable page for the City of Weird anthology at something like a minute before midnight. Maybe he thought that would be a fitting time to submit for a collection of fantasy and horror tales, or perhaps he's like me and always wants the freedom to keep tinkering up until the last moment. I knew as soon as I checked it out that I was going to take the story. It was everything I was looking for. It took a trope from the genre of "weird fiction" and turned it on its ear, making a story about one thing into a story about something else. It was equal parts creepy and hilarious. It was super fun and it was suuuuper weird. And as a bonus, he'd taken an existing piece of Portland lore and essentially written a sequel. Which is like using a Portland landmark but even better.
That urban legend is Polybius, a video game that was supposed to have surfaced in 1981, wreaked havoc on game players, and then disappeared without a trace a month later.
Those who say Polybius was only an urban legend need only look here for proof of its existence.
Kevin Meyer has been a co-facilitator for the Dangerous Writing fiction workshop and his work has been featured or is forthcoming in The Frozen Moment: Contemporary Writers on the Choices that Change Our Lives, Share PDX, Nailed Magazine, Noisehole Magazine, Gobshite Quarterly, and The Untold Gaze.
He's also an accomplished musician who performs under the name of Astro Warrior. I've watched him work, and it's fascinating and mesmerizing. I think what he does is called "noise music," and it's done by plugging cords and flipping switches and turning dials on synths that look like they come right out of the 1950s-era futuristic stories that partly inspired City of Weird. But it's not all space-age smoke and mirrors - it's skillfully created, kick-ass music. I shouldn't be allowed to use phrases like that, but there it is. You should totally keep an ear out for Astro Warrior gigs.
You can check his music out here.
Here's an upcoming show: November 3rd at Atlantis Lounge in Portland. More info is here!
It's also his birthday today.
The story "Out of Order" has one of my favorite last lines in City of Weird. But I'm going to give you a taste from the opening section. To hear more, come on down to Broadway Books this coming Tuesday (October 25) for our second City of Weird reading. There will be Voodoo doughnuts and we're hoping folks come in costume. The facebook event is here.
But now, in lieu of asking the entire internet to sing him Happy Birthday, here is a little taste of Kevin's writing.
I keep going back to that arcade-bar in Old Town, Ground Kontrol, to play Polybius. I’d never heard of Polybius until I saw the worn, eighties retro cabinet in the back corner of the lower floor of Ground Kontrol, lit up in the dark.
Polybius isn’t even that fun, but it doesn’t matter. I can’t stop myself. I keep going back to play, even though I’m pretty sure Polybius is what started this whole thing.
The thing is, I can’t remember.
Every time I black out, I wake up and the dog’s licking my nosebleed. She’s a little dog, a Sheltie, couldn’t weigh more than twenty pounds, but she feels like a ten-ton hangover on my chest. Her sloppy, wet tongue and dog-breath stink on my face.
I’m dead certain I’m going to wake up the way that French woman did a few years back. The one who got the world’s first face transplant after she passed out on painkillers and woke up with half her face missing. It wasn’t like her face vanished while she was passed out. Her goddamned dog chewed her face off.