I can’t find it on any map, but I don’t think Twitter HQ is anywhere near Hapscomb’s Texaco or even the city of Arnette, which was Ground Zero for the flu pandemic that destroyed most of mankind in Stephen King’s The Stand. But a group of people have taken to the micro-blogging service to re-enact the masterwork of the horror novelist.
Seizing on the potential similarities of the H1N1 virus and the book’s “Captain Trips”, a number of Twitter accounts have been created over the past couple of days to play out Act One, 140 characters or less at a time.
I talked to Jarred Schenke, who’s having a blast playing The Walking Dude, Randall Flagg, one of the first role players in this Twitter-drama. “I woke up Monday to all this talk of pandemic flu and decided to have some fun freaking out my friends. Within 24 hours, I had 500 followers.” Today he has nearly 2,000.
Schenke says he knows none of the other role players and that some are taking this interpretation more seriously than him. “I’m playing this thing completely tongue-in-cheek,”says Schenke. Then, in true Randall Flagg fashion, he predicts “We’ve got a short window to do this. Either the flu fizzles out or we all die.”
Schenke is quick to point out that he’s not affiliated with Marvel or Stephen King and that this exercise is all in good fun.
And it is fun, watching a truly viral improvisation blossom before your eyes. Here’s hoping that following Randall Flagg on Twitter isn’t the same as following Randall Flagg to Las Vegas.