Bewildering Stories

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Don W.


A “personality” or “biography” article presumes that one knows who one is. As we shall see, that may not always be the case...

Now that Bewildering Stories has inaugurated “biographies” as a new department we hope readers as well as writers both real and unreal will send us their contributions so that we may all get to know the bewildering people on both sides of the bewildering stories.

I feel I really should submit something. Kenneth J. Crist’s “bio” is fomulated in the classical mode and is a hard act to follow. Come to think of it, though, I do know of a truly bewildering bio; it’s Around Here Somewhere. Stay tuned; it may feature in a forthcoming issue.

As founding conceptualizer of Bewildering Stories — I resist being called “father,” saying, “If I'm the father, where's the ... mother?!” — I feel I should contribute something more than the tidbits you can glean from “First and Last Names” (issue #9). Herewith the result. Every word of it is true. And it may shed some light on the primordial origins of our now-famous webzine.

I realize that the grand public been asking itself for a long time now why I sign myself “Don W.” “Why not ‘Don Webb’?” you surely clamor. “It’s short, easy to type, a nice name... great for ordering pizza.”

Yas. All that is quite true. The trouble is, it’s too nice a name. Oh, I have been called “the don of the Web.” Flattered, I’m sure. But I was one-upped in advance years ago by the old Net joke: “If Umberto Eco were a Mafia don, he’d make you an offer you couldn’t understand.” Umberto Eco and a Mafia don I am not, but that last I can handle.

Too many people already have a piece of my action, although the pizza does tend to arrive intact. A Net search reveals that I am an entomologist, which is an admirable specialty. I am also a writer of occult fiction. I think I’d prefer entomology. However, I have apparently written an “exciting, fast-paced science-fiction mystery novel” that contains some “gratuitous sex scenes.” I am almost tempted to read it.

I am also a famous actor. My dentist went to see a stage play starring Donald Sutherland. Who no sooner made his entrance than she exclaimed, “That’s Don Webb!” Now I know I’m somebody. One can dream. If she’d only compared me to the early Sean Connery, one might envision the following scenario:

Me (suavely): “The name is Webb. Don Webb.”
Lissome babe (yawning): “Written any good books lately?”

Oh well.

I have at least one Doppelgänger, a mirror image of myself. The first time I met myself, I saw me in a parking lot, getting out of a car. I was searching for a slot and, by the time I circled back to confront me and ask me, “Who am I, and what am I doing here?” I had disappeared.

The second time, my parents saw me at a shopping mall. They were amazed, because they had just left me at home. They went up to me and asked what I was doing there and how had I teleported there so quickly. After a pleasant exchange they and I parted ways amicably although in a cloud of mutual befuddlement. Typical me.

The third time I saw me again in a parking lot. This time I was getting out of a pickup truck I don’t have. But again I got away before I could stop and make my acquaintance.

In the meantime, I began getting strange phone calls: ex-girlfriends I never had; credit-card companies; collection agencies... And finally a gravelly-voiced character named Muggsy talking about a past-due loan...

Now hear this: You people out there with my name, clean up our act!


Copyright © 2002 by Don W.