Ah, could I have one, too?

Yes, that was the famous horror novelist Stephen King who was spotted on a visit to remote Alice Springs, Australia, one day earlier this month. And, given his fame, you'd think he'd be used to being approached by complete strangers about signing autographs. But the encounter in the Outback didn't go the way they usually do. In fact, it nearly landed him in trouble with the law for an act of vandalism. It seems King, who was vacationing, couldn't resist entering Dymocks', a local bookshop, or, once inside, to go looking for where his own works might be displayed. Once that was accomplished, he also yielded to the impulse to whip out a pen and scrawl his name on six of them before leaving. A customer, however, witnessed what had happened and alerted store personnel. As manager Bev Ellis put it: "When you see someone writing in one of your books, you get a bit toey." So she trailed the intruder across the street to a supermarket and confronted him. "He was very nice, charming," she said, and acknowledged that he is, in fact, King. But even though he hadn't introduced himself in Dymocks', it all turned out to be OK, because "Lots of authors ... come into the shop and check if their books are on the shelves. If they are, they'll often sign a few copies." As for the books that King autographed, one sold right away. The others will be donated to charity auctions for fundraising purposes.

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