The Unfinished Stories of Richard Allen Garston
The stories had been stored in boxes. A ledger indicated that there were 3,283 of them, plus more than five thousand fragments, some of which had been codified to identify their relationship with other manuscripts. Since none of the stories were complete, who is to say whether the five thousand fragments were not in themselves stories? That would make more than eight thousand stories.
Richard Allen Garston died in 1975 at age forty-seven, burned to death in a fire. There was no autopsy performed, for there seemed to be no call for one. No one appeared to benefit from his death. The last eighteen years of his life he had been a recluse, his source of income unknown. None of his works were ever published. If he was one of our century’s great authors we’ll never know, for his manuscripts, annotated and filed in boxes, were burned by his brother.
I discovered, or became aware of, Richard Allen Garston through a writer’s group in Bedminster, New Jersey in the spring of 1990. The chief propagator of Richard Allen Garston mythology was a certain Horace Keane who, to everyone’s dismay, never missed a meeting. Actually, it’s a wonder the group didn’t utterly disband and reconvene elsewhere. Keane was a science fiction writer whose ideas were, I suspect, completely plagiarized, though no one would dare make the accusation to his face. Most writer’s groups are a little too nice in that way.
You will note that I’ve not called it “our group” because I only attended sporadically, and that for no more than six or eight months. The only function of these details is to share with you the events that set me on my quest.
Keane was one of the old-timers of the group and, as already noted, the regular attender. To describe this man, or any of the others, would be a diversion from my main story so I will not take us down that path other than to say that the purpose of the group was to read to each other what we were working on.
When I first began attending the meetings, Horace Keane’s stories and references to Richard Allen Garston appeared to be so exaggerated that I…