In an alternate universe not very far away, there lived a happy version of the horror fiction genius Edgar Allan Poe. This version of Poe, let’s call him Happy Allen Poe, still wrote about ravens, but his raven greeted the morning with cheerful tunes and slept peacefully at night.
Happy Allan Poe wrote the Tell-Tale Heart, but this time the man trapped in a wall was rescued when his heart beat so loudly it caught the attention of a female investigating officer. Freed, the man married the policewoman who made his heart beat so loudly, and the criminal who’d walled him in (now reformed and rehabilitated) was best man at the wedding.
It’s startling and maybe just plain weird how quickly horror can be transformed into joy.
In A Cask of Amontillado, things are different from our familiar version. Fortunato and the narrator end up holding a wild party of eating, drinking, dancing and telling bad bar jokes.
In the end, even Happy Allen Poe had to die. But unlike our Poe who cried “Lord help my poor soul,” this Poe was more upbeat. On his deathbed he said: “I cheerfully surrender my soul to God or Nature or whoever is there to accept it.”