McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern Issue 27, expected out early this summer, will feature a new Stephen King short story, “A Very Tight Place.” Here’s what King had to say about his inspiration for the story, “Let me give you an example. There’s a story that’s written, it’s been accepted for publication by a magazine. It’s called ‘A Very Tight Place.’ And we live part of the year down in Florida, and I have a walk that I go on every day, that’s fairly isolated. Which is good, because people don’t bother me or anything. I get a chance to read a little bit, to think a little bit. And one day while I was on that walk, I saw one of these Porta-Potties. You know what I mean? They stand up, and I thought you know what? There’s nobody around … the house that it belonged to was under construction, and the workers had all gone home for the day, and I still had a mile to go to get home, and I thought, you know what? I’m going to go in there and I’m going to take a leak. That’ll be good. Why not? It’s there. I’ll get comfortable.
“And I did. I went in, and the thing had been undercut, not a lot, just the tiniest little bit. So that when I stepped into the Porta-Pottie, I could feel this thing rock a little bit on its base. And I thought to myself, you know, if … if one of those things fell over on its door, and a person was inside, that person would be in trouble. And immediately I’m thinking Poe, ‘The Premature Burial,’ I’m thinking about all the buried alive stories that I’ve ever read, and I’m thinking, but I’ve never read a story about anyone trapped in a Porta-Pottie. And there are so many interesting things that you can do with people who are in tight places, people’s feelings of claustrophobia are easy to bring out. I’m not a particularly claustrophobic person myself, but I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is wonderful!'”
To subscribe: McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern