Literature: Everythings Eventual
"What I did was take all the spades out of a deck of cards plus a joker. Ace to King = 1-13. Joker = 14. I shuffled the cards and dealt them. The order in which they came out of the deck became the order of the stories, based on their position in the list my publisher sent me. And it actually created a very nice balance between the literary stories and the all-out screamers. I also added an explanatory note before or after each story, depending on which seemed the more fitting position."
— Stephen King
is the fourth short story collection by American Speculative Fiction
writer Stephen King
. As the title implies, many of the collection's stories center around the theme of death and span multiple genres. In a departure from the norm for most anthologies, Everything's Eventual
actually has the stories set in a specific order. As a side note, "The Little Sisters of Eluria" is part of King's The Dark Tower
series and chronologically predates the events of the first novel.
The stories include:
- "Autopsy Room Four": A man is completely (but only for a short time) paralyzed by a snake bite and presumed dead. But must somehow warn the workers at an autopsy room that he is still alive.
- "The Man in the Black Suit": A nine year old boy meets the devil while he's out fishing. But he manages to escape the first time. Now the boy is an old man and is worried that he'll be powerless to escape the devil if he appears again.
- "All That You Love Will be Carried Away": A man driven to suicide becomes obsessed with the graffiti he finds in bathroom stalls.
- "The Death of Jack Hamilton": Homer Van Meter, a member of John Dillinger's gang, describes the circumstances surrounding the death of fellow gang member Jack Hamilton.
- "In the Deathroom": A New York Times reporter is taken prisoner by a South American dictatorship and hatches a desperate plan to escape them and the titular "Deathroom".
- "The Little Sisters of Eluria": A prequel to The Dark Tower series where Roland encounters a strange group of nuns.
- "Everything's Eventual": A high school dropout works for a mysterious and powerful organization who give him anything he wants in exchange for the continued use of his very special talents against certain people the company wants dead.
- "L.T's Theory of Pets": A man relates the story of his coworker L.T and what happened to his wife after both of them purchased pets.
- "The Road Virus Heads North": A man picks up a very creepy painting at a yard sale and finds out that the man in the painting takes very special interest towards people who own it.
- "Lunch at the Gotham Café": A man meets with his wife and her lawyer in the titular Café to discuss their divorce. On the same day the maitre'd has gone insane.
- "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French": While on vacation, a woman is trapped in a stable time loop.
- "1408": A paranormal investigator makes the mistake of spending the night in a haunted hotel room.
- "Riding the Bullet": A hitchhiker trying to get his dying mother gets picked up by a dead man.
- "Luckey Quarter": A single mother hotel maid finds a quarter that will supposedly bring her good luck.
Tropes appearing in Everything's Eventual:
- Action Survivor: Fletcher in "In the Deathroom". Against all odds, by listening to the little voice in his head he refers to as "Mr. Maybe-I-Can", he manages to kill his captors and escape back to the United States.
- An Axe to Grind: The serial killer in "L.T's Theory of Pets" kills his victims this way.
- Asshole Victim: Double Subverted in "Everything's Eventual"; the protagonist is told that all of the people he's killed are this trope in order to keep him from quitting his employers out of guilt. Subverted again when the protagonist finds out and decides to go after his employer.
- Banana Republic: "In the Deathroom" sets in one.
- Bathroom Stall Graffiti: The central focus of "All That You Love Will Be Carried Away.".
- Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts: Inverted in "Riding the Bullet", where the hitchhiking hero gets picked up by a ghost.
- Blood Is Squicker in Water: The lawyer in "Lunch in the Gotham Cafe" is stabbed in the mouth, which leads to the blood falling in his glass of water. Featured on the cover art, at that.
- Brown Note: Richard Earnshaw's drawings can mentally influence people or animals to kill themselves.
- Buried Alive: "Autopsy Room Four" has live but paralyzed autopsy.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Inverted in "1408". Mr. Olin, the hotel manager, begs Mike Enslin not to stay in Room 1408, and says that after reading Mike's books about spending nights in supposedly haunted houses and castles, he gets the impression that Mike has absolutely no belief in the supernatural. Olin thinks that this will make Mike's stay in 1408 that much worse. Unfortunately for Mike, Olin is right.
- Creepy Changing Painting: "The Road Virus Heads North"
- Deus Angst Machina: Inverted. In the afterword to "In the Deathroom", King says that he set out to create a Kafkaesque situation from which the protagonist normally would not escape (specifically, being taken prisoner and brutally interrogated by a dictatorship), but wanted a happier ending. Therefore, everything that could go right for the protagonist does, even if it isn't realistic.
- Downer Ending: Several examples.
- Driven to Suicide: The protagonist of "All That You Love Will be Carried Away" is planning to kill himself in the beginning.
- Richard in "Everything's Eventual" can force people to do this through his drawings.
- Eldritch Location: Room 1408.
- Frying Pan of Doom: Guy is knocked out with one in "Lunch At The Gotham Café"
- Improvised Weapon: Steve in "Lunch At The Gotham Café" manages to fight off the Ax-Crazy maître d' with a boiling pot of water.
- I Should Write a Book About This: The protagonist of "All That You Love Will Be Carried Away" decides to write about the graffiti he finds.
- Kill It with Fire: An interesting case in "1408": The way that Mike escapes from the eponymous room is by setting his lucky Hawaiian shirt on fire, and he speculates that the entity dwelling in the room had no interest in absorbing a burned man. Mike needs a few skin grafts but only avoids more serious injury because another guest on the same floor happened to be walking back from the ice machine, and he dumped his bucket of ice onto Mike's burning shirt.
- Kitchen Chase: In " Lunch at the Gotham Café", two characters flee the insane maitre d' by going through the kitchen.
- Kitsch Collection: "All That You Love Will Be Carried Away", a short story about a traveling salesman who collects graffiti.
- Loveable Rogue: John Dillinger in "The Death of Jack Hamilton". He's always optimistic, polite even to those he robs, and utterly refuses to believe that Jack is going to die from the gunshot wound he received while covering him and Homer, and he did everything he could to keep Jack alive.
- Most Writers Are Writers: It's a Stephen King book, at least several of the protagonists had to be writers of some kind.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Escobar in "In the Deathroom". His day job is Chief Minister of information, and he sometimes gives the English portion of the weather report on the city's television station, often hamming it up and acting like a buffoon. In actuality, he personally oversees torture sessions of his government's enemies like "a Central American Himmler", according to the protagonist.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: "1408" and "Riding The Bullet".
- It's specifically mentioned that whatever entity dwells in room 1408 is not, and never was, human.
- Our Vampires Are Different: "The Little Sisters of Eluria" has a very different example. The "Sisters" drain blood using strange insects they control and can't go near a person who is holding a talisman that Roland finds in the village.
- Satan: "The Man in the Black Suit"
- Parasol of Pain: Steve fights off Guy in "Lunch At The Gotham Café" with an umbrella.
- Serial Killer: The "Axe-Man" in "L.T's Theory of Pets."
- Spooky Painting: In the story "The Road Virus Heads North", a writer buys a painting of a intensely creepy man in a car, but the picture keeps changing...
- Torture Technician: Heinz in "In the Deathroom". Turns out that he can't stand the sight of actual brutality and is overcome with terror when Fletcher manages to grab a gun and kills the other interrogators. Fletcher then kills him with his own torture device.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Diane in "Lunch at the Gotham Café". You would think that even after her husband just saved her life from a psychotic waiter, even after she treated him very coldly, not to mention demanding a divorce, would at least warrant a "thank you" from her!
- You Got Murder: Richard in "Everything's Eventual" delivers his Brown Notes by E-Mail.