« How I Spent My 35th Birthday | Main | The Pulp Is Still Alive »

March 3, 2005


When I was 10 years old, I wrote a short story about how the Russians invaded Scottsdale, Arizona, killing my grade-school principal, P.E. coach, and all the bullies who'd given me a hard time. My family escaped the takeover, barely, when my next-door neighbor flew over our house in his helicopter just when Soviet tanks began to roll down the street.

This story obviously wasn't true. My neighbor flew a Cessna, not a helicopter. I even turned it in for an assignment. I guess the difference between 1980 and 2005 is that I didn't go to jail for writing fiction.

Eighteen-year-old William Poole, a junior at George Rogers Clark High in Clark County, Kentucky, is being held in county jail after police discovered, in his journal, a short story that he'd written about zombies attacking a high school. Poole faces a second-degree felony terrorist threatening charge. "My story is based on fiction," he says. "It's a fake story. I made it up. I've been working on one of my short stories, (and) the short story they found was about zombies. Yes, it did say a high school. It was about a high school over ran by zombies."

It's entirely possible that Poole might be trying to work an angle here. A report in the local newspaper says that police suspect he was trying to organize a gang to stage an armed takeover of the school. And he was tipped off to the cops by his grandparents. The situation, as they say, is developing.

But at the moment, a teenager in Kentucky is in jail for the crime of writing a zombie story. When you sign on to his school's Free Speech Message Board, all you get now is a rendition of "Taps." Someone should follow through on this story, or give me a freelance assignment so I can follow through on this story.

The irony is that in 28 days, Poole will wake up in his jail cell. The town will be deserted. Or so he'll think....