Steve Spaulding

Steve Steve Spaulding

Steve Spaulding was found abandoned in a coin locker at Chicago's Union Station by workers for the Transit Authority in September 1970. Also in the locker was a dog-eared paperback copy of The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. Written in green ink on the inside front cover were the letters: A.E.I.O.U. While there has been some speculation about what the inscription could mean, Steve is now convinced it refers to the motto of Hapsburg Emperor Frederick III, "Austria Est Imperare Orbi Universo", which can be translated as either "Austria shall reign forever" or "Austria is destined to rule the world."

Briefly a political cause celebre, Steve was mentioned in a number of speeches denouncing teen pregnancy by then-mayor Richard J. Daley. Well-intentioned meddling by the mayor's office resulted in Steve being placed with a foster family in Serenity, Illinois—the mayor having muttered to one of his aides between mouthfuls of porterhouse steak, "A good, religious family… you know, somewhere out on a farm or something." By fiat, Steve was removed from the family-services loop and placed with the distant relatives of a generous donator to the Democratic Party. Unbeknownst to his benefactors, the faith his new family followed was Immaterial Adventism, a Midwestern sect of less than 100 adherents whose core belief was that the world came to an end in 1844 and the "apparent" world and every one and thing in it were nothing more than an illusion.

In 1988, the Illinois State Police, acting on the requests of concerned relatives (Serenity is unincorporated and does not have its own police department), discovered that every member of the Immaterialist sect except for Steve had disappeared on or about March 15th of that year. Under extensive questioning Steve would only admit that the disappearances were "mighty strange." No bodies have ever been discovered.

Following a number of related legal problems, Steve became a divinity student at Moody Bible Institute on a sousaphone scholarship. In October of his sophomore year, hoping to pick up some extra cash, he volunteered for a series of experimental drug trials involving a new cortical steroid. The trials were shut down by the FDA after several test subjects developed lesions in their pineal glands. Some of the experiment's after-effects precipitated what Steve has since referred to as a crisis of faith. Shortly thereafter, he transferred to the University of Illinois in Champaign, eventually graduating with a degree in English.

Steve took time off after college in an attempt to find his real parents. He traveled extensively in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East by working as a waiter and dishwasher. Steve then returned to Chicago and has since had a succession of jobs in the publishing industry. His published efforts include the novella "The Work of Many Hands," the confessional "Me and Major Tom," and the essay "Narrative in Sport." He is a sometime vocalist with the band Sugar Bush.


Copyright©2002 by Steve Spaulding.

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