I was going through some boxes last night and I came upon a couple of paperpacks that each had a hole through the center. It reminded me of going with Mr. LaSalle to a science fiction convention in the mid-80's in California...maybe San Diego?
Anyway, Mr. LaSalle was always getting requests to come to conventions. He would usually be on a panel about "the state of science-fiction" or something else pretentious and appropriately pompus for a big room full of man-boobs and home-made Star Trek uniforms. At this particular convention they asked that he also spend an hour at a booth signing autographs...never his favorite thing to do. In all the years I had known Mr. LaSalle I think I had seen him sign four, maybe five autographs, period. It made his hand tired, and since that was also his drinking hand, he wanted to be sure that it could perform when called upon.
Well, after about fifteen minutes of signing books (and one slightly overweight young man's chest) and snarkily answering questions about details of some of his long-forgotten works ("Mr. LaSalle, in Harvest of the Timewhores was the psychic computer's death caused by the radioactive corn or was the Slutician's atomic shotgun really loaded the whole time?"), he was at what you might call "the breaking point." It was then that a kid laid down a copy of Never Again, Forever and said that it read a bit like a Harlan Ellison story. I like to think that the young lad meant that to be a compliment.
*Now I don't imagine that I need to go into any of the history between Emerson LaSalle and Harlan Ellison on this page. If you are a fan of Mr. LaSalle then you are well aware of his feelings about Mr. Ellison and a certain pop singer. I only know Mr. LaSalle's side of things, and he only told them to me when he was truly, truly, self-soilingly drunk. But if even half of it was true then it would be hard not to side with our beloved Mr. LaSalle. I mean, seriously, an entire barrel of snake urine? I hardly think that was necessary.
At the instant the boy mentioned Ellison, Mr. LaSalle bellowed about suffering fools no more and he stabbed his hook down on the kid's book. "There's your *explative* autograph, you *explative* sucking little *explative*!" I thought for a moment I might have to tackle Mr. LaSalle to save the kid from some horrible mutilation. The kid was able to get free of Mr. LaSalle's grasp and he ran crying from the room. From that point on, for the rest of the hour, he refused to speak to any the fans in attendance and would merely stab whatever was placed in front of him, including a couple TV show props, a sandwich, and one fat kid's hand.
That was the beginning of the LaStabbe (his preferred method of autograph for the last 20 or so years). And in case you are wondering, he stabbed every single book himself. No handing a hook to a staffer or a secretary to stab for him. Nope, he personally stabbed each and every book that was sent to him right up until he passed. He would ususally stab right through the center, but he occaisionally would stab it in a character's butt or a woman's breast as a joke. Oh, and he always stabbed copies of Peel My Death in Fire through Captain Thundersteele's left eye (an obvious pun).
Just thought you might like to know that.