The Rock Bottom Remainders Final Swan Song

This week on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, the literary rock band, The Rock Bottom Remainders, played their final performance. Following the death of Kathi Kamen Goldmark, who founded the band with some really famous authors—Stephen King, Amy Tan, Scott Turow, Dave Berry and many others—20 years ago, they had their final concert at the American Library Association convention this past June.


The outsized personality of the band has always been Stephen King. A biography about him quoted a band member saying that if the tour bus ever crashed and everyone died, the headlines would say, “Stephen King and 30 Others Dead”.

The first guest being interviewed was Stephen King, promoting his newest book, “The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel” (the eighth book in the series). This book better be good. Like many readers of the Dark Tower series, we were finally relieved to finish the series with book seven. The circular ending that links the seventh book to the first book was an interesting but not satisfying ending for a great quest.


He talked about a short story called “The Lady’s Room,” where husbands are left stranded outside as their wives disappeared inside and were helpless to do anything about, that he left unfinished because he couldn’t figure out what went on inside the lady’s room.

Seriously, the literary master can’t finish this story? His mother never took him in the lady’s room when he was a small child?

Having been forced many times by my mother into the lady’s room at Gemco in the early 1970’s, sometimes kicking and screaming as she took my hand to force me through that sinister door, I know exactly what goes on in the lady’s room.

  1. For little boys, your eyes must always be on the worn black-and-white floor tiles to avoid seeing fat bearded ladies do makeup and/or smoke cigarettes.
  2. You must turn your back on your mother to study the flaking lead paint on the stall door before she can mount the ivory throne.
  3. You MUST ignore all sounds as a tentacle monster from deep inside the toilet bowl sexually assaults your mother. If you cry or throw a fit, a squishy thing will press you flat against the stall door.
  4. You exited the lady’s room in a daze, wondering if your mother was still your mother and not a monstrosity in disguise.
  5. Unless you become a writer as an adult, you will NEVER EVER REMEMBER what happened inside the lady’s room and stand around clueless when your wife takes your little boy into the lady’s room.

If Stephen King can’t finish a story like that, I might as well. Heck, I might even submit it to The New Yorker and win an O. Henry award.