1974-75 Franklin, NC. I was a member of the Franklin High School Library Club. Several local authors were invited to a book fair and as a club member, I was asked to sit in the booth with Manly Wade Wellman (whom I hadn't heard of before)to take the money when he sold a book. There was a stack of a book called "Worse Things Waiting" on the table.
He immediately engaged me in conversation. What a distinguished, charming man he was. He asked me what I was reading and I told him it was Ayn Rand. He rolled his eyes and laughed and said he wasn't in favor of her politics. He asked me to tell him stories of strange and unusual things I had heard about the area I lived in. I told him about a haunted taxicab. He said, well let's write that one up. I gave him all the details I remembered from the story I had heard growing up of a taxi that drove itself and had a murderous agenda.
When it was time for him to go he asked me if he could send me part of the proceeds of the sale of the story when it was published. I told him that what I would like was a copy of "Worse Things Waiting" if that was alright. I gave him my address and bid farewell.
I received a letter and a package from Mr Wellman a few months later. In the package was the book I had asked for, autographed with a reference to the story we wrote. In the letter he told me that he had named the story "The Petey Car" and sold it to be included in a British collection of short stories. He said he named one of the characters after me, using my nickname Lani. (The book and letter were lost many years ago when I left them at home and went to college and my parents moved around).
I would love to have a copy of the book that includes "The Petey Car". I also wondered if the copy of "Worse Things Waiting" that Mr Wellman sent to me might still be out there somewhere?
You can find "The Petey Car" in a couple of Wellman collections. It is reprinted in VALLEY SO LOW: SOUTHERN MOUNTAIN STORIES which I see right now is on Amazon marketplace for some pretty decent prices. That is a RARE book that due to an accident had a very low print run. It usually commands super high prices and so I'm guessing these sellers don't know what they have. I'd snatch that up asap!
It also appeared in Nightshade books 2nd Wellman volume, THE DEVIL IS NOT MOCKED.
WORSE THINGS WAITING I've seen go for between $70 to many 100s of dollars. Check amazon and or ebay. I see there is a copy on alibris.com for $45.
Aug 19, 2011 - 3:41AM
Re: My Morning with Mr Wellman
Daniel: Thank you so much for the info. I'm off to shop and hope to soon be reading "The Petey Car" for the first time.
Mr. Campbell, what a pleasure. No, I haven't come across a copy of "The Petey Car" yet. I do continue to search for one that fits into the budget. My hope is to find a copy of it as it was originally published in SUPERHORROR. I would also be happy just to be able to read the story in any format. My best to you, Sir.