Anyone else enjoy this short story? I thought it was a very vivid, succinct story. I wish SK went into a little bit about what the gray ooze was and where it originated but sometimes a little mystery is just what a short story needs. I particularly liked the scene where the old guys bring the beer to the father's house and violence ensues.
Hmmm...I wonder which would be harder to take down? A demon-possessed laundry folder or an old man blob?
The first time I ever read Gray Matter I was not aware of that age-old adage about how the only thing beer leads to is more beer -- or its simple truth.
Over time I came to understand how a certain kind of guy -- in his extremity -- might just go ahead and drink whatever was in front of him, no matter his reservations or the potential consequences. It's been a while since I've read Gray Matter, but it seems to me that different sorts of readers could have wildly varying interpretations of a story in which a "monster" comes out of a can of beer.
I have to say, I didn't necesarily see an IT connection here, nor do I think it is necessarily required (it is fun to think about, though).
However, the paragraph about the spider, to me, is almost a perfect example of pre-flash flash fiction (I am assuming here that the term "flash fiction" was not widely known before the popularization of the Internet, although I do think paragraph-length stories have been with us for a long while). That brief paragraph, almost a story in its own right, is one of the best examples of yarn-spinning I've ever read. Go and read it again...see how it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and how it exists in a sharp, precise structure of storytelling symmetry. Sure, King probably didn't realize, or go out of his way, to produce such an awesome little burst of self-contained fiction, but he did nevertheless. You could literally pluck it from the tale it resides in and watch in amazement as it would continue to thrive, like a weird heart that could go on beating after being extracted from a creature's circulatory system. I really like that little gem.