Dead Man Talking

Crad Kilodney's archives

The New Answering Machine by Crad Kilodney

The New Answering Machine by Crad Kilodney

October 1999

The New Answering Machine was invented for lonely, suicidally depressed people who rarely find messages on their answering machines. If you do not get a nice message for an entire week, The New Answering Machine will create a virtual message and record it overnight so you will find it when you get up in the morning.

When you install The New Answering Machine, you simply dial a number linking you to a computer and follow the prompts to indicate your gender, sexual orientation, and other details. A heterosexual man, for example, will receive sexy, romantic messages from female voices and messages of encouragement, flattery and good cheer from male voices. No two messages are alike, and no two voices are alike. In this way, the lonely, suicidally depressed person is assured that he will receive a message every week that will make him feel better, and they will be varied and interesting.

In development trials with a group of subjects, it was established that recipients of these messages did not mind that they were fake. Over and over again, lonely, suicidally depressed participants said that the virtual voices were sweeter and kinder than real voices and that their messages were more pleasant and sincere than anything that had been said to them by real people, either over the phone or in the so-called real world. Skeptics have been very surprised and now concede, perhaps reluctantly, that the virtual messages produced by The New Answering Machine reach a level of kindness and civility no longer found in human society.

A poignant testimonial comes from Richard G. of Toronto, one of the first purchasers of The New Answering Machine:

“I live alone and have no friends. There is no one I can talk to. I used to be in terrible emotional pain. Every time I set foot out of doors, I felt surrounded by stupid, ugly people. If I tried to flirt with an attractive woman, she would ignore me. People would only be polite if I was buying something; otherwise, I seemed not to matter to anyone. The city seemed like a cesspool of vulgarity, incivility, and abnormality. No one remembered my birthday. No one wrote me letters. The people I used to know had all drifted away.

“On two occasions I attempted suicide. The first time, I cut myself and had to go to the hospital to get sewed up. They told me I had done a stupid thing and not to do it again. The second time, I took a bunch of pills. I got sick and threw up and lay in bed for two days. Many times I just cried. I longed for some sort of comfort.

“Then I bought The New Answering Machine. After a week of no real messages, I awoke to find the message light flashing. Excitedly, I played back this message: ‘Hi, Richard. This is Elizabeth. Just thought I’d let you know I’ve been thinking about you. I feel like getting into bed with you. It would be wonderful. We’ll get together soon, okay? Here’s a great big hug and kiss from your sweetie-pie…Mwah!…Love ya!’

“After another week, I found this message: ‘Rich! This is Ben! Hey, don’t let things get you down, man! You’re a cool dude! You rule! You’ve got brains, you’ve got talent! Everyone here says you’re the best! You’re our hero! We’ll stay in touch, okay?’

“I was so happy to get these messages I never thought about suicide again. Sure, I knew they were virtual, but then I thought, they sound so real, maybe they are. In any case, I knew I could look forward to a nice message no matter how rough a week I had. This is the best invention ever!”

The New Answering Machine has its critics, of course — the predictable motley crew of social workers, psychologists, and other politically correct twits — but what have they ever done for the lonely, suicidally depressed except criticize them for being lonely and suicidally depressed?

The New Answering Machine is the answer to millions of prayers. It is the boon of the Millenium. Maybe it’s right for you or someone you know.

Production is not yet able to keep up with demand, and stores are chronically sold out or unable to obtain stock, so be persistent. Go to all the stores in your area. Keep asking for The New Answering Machine.





All material at  is copyright © by Crad Kilodney. All rights reserved.


Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9

— Crad’s new writing is now at



The Power and the Passion by Crad Kilodney

The Power and the Passion by Crad Kilodney

February 2001

Buck pushed away from his desk and stood up, rubbing his back. It was his chair. It was a bad chair. Not ergonomic. Not good to sit in for a long time. Almost everyone else in the office had a modern chair that was easy on the back. Why shouldn’t he have one, too? Didn’t he rate?

He had been stewing about his chair for months. He imagined confronting the office manager, demanding a new chair, pounding his fist on the manager’s desk, startling him into submission with a power never before displayed. Buck Larson! Remember the name! Now get me the best chair you can find! And he’d get it. And fast, too. And more than that, he’d get respect.

He paced back and forth in his cubicle, getting up his courage. Yes, today was the day! No more thinking, just do it! He’d demand a new chair!

Adjusting his tie, he walked to the office manager’s open door and knocked. “Mr. Blaine?”

“Yes, Buck, what is it?” said the office manager, looking somewhat harried behind his desk cluttered with papers.

“Ahem…I have something important to talk to you about…if you have a moment, that is.”


Buck stepped into the room and stood in front of Mr. Blaine’s desk. “It’s about my chair. It’s very uncomfortable.”

“It is?”

“Yes…um, you see, it hurts my back.” He gestured with his hand. “Could I possibly get a new chair…so my back won’t hurt…if possible?”

Mr. Blaine shrugged. “Take it up with Charlie. He’s the purchasing manager.”

“Oh…I see….Yes, of course….I’ll do that….Thank you.”

Buck left Mr. Blaine’s office. He stood in the hallway, looking in the direction of Charlie’s office. He thought about Charlie Stone. A big man. Rather grouchy. Always going on about “hammering expenses into the ground.” How would he approach Charlie? It troubled him. He’d have to psych himself up. Yes, he’d have to work on that, psyching himself up little by little over the next month….Maybe three months…or more, if necessary.

Terry, the brunette with the huge tits that bulged beneath her tight sweaters, walked past him, ignoring him as she always did. He stared at her from behind, imagining what she looked like naked….Someday he’d have her…after he got his new chair, his power chair…and his back had some time to get better…so he could really nail her good…all night, if he wanted to….Yes, he would fuck her, thought Buck.




All material at  is copyright © by Crad Kilodney. All rights reserved.


Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9

— Crad’s new writing is now at



How the Tobacco Industry Should Retaliate by Crad Kilodney

How the Tobacco Industry Should Retaliate by Crad Kilodney

August 2001 Extra

As a smoker for 36 years, two things piss me off: first, the relentless war against tobacco, which has become increasingly a war against smokers themselves; second, the docile way in which the tobacco industry obligingly bends over to be butt-fucked like a juvenile baboon.

From the very beginning, the tobacco industry has misunderstood what it is up against: the anti-tobacco forces will not stop until tobacco is completely extirpated from North American culture. So it is pointless to try to meet them half-way. Big Tobacco should stop trying to be conciliatory and recognize that a state of war exists.

Here, then, is a war plan for the tobacco industry in the U.S. and Canada.

I. Solidarity

All tobacco companies in the U.S. and Canada must close ranks and act together as allies, not competitors. Survive together or perish one by one.

II. Embargo

Two states and one province should be chosen for a total embargo of tobacco products. (My nominations: California, Mississippi, and British Columbia. They’ve been unusually hostile to tobacco.) The immediate effect will be to deprive these governments of tax revenues. This is, after all, primarily an economic war. The direct and indirect losses of revenue will be damaging. In addition, a bootlegging industry will spring up that will be impossible to stop, largely because every cop will be moonlighting as a cigarette smuggler. But many people will not be able to get any smokes at all, and cases of violent withdrawal rage will be widespread. The anger of smokers will be directed against government officials, because they’re the ones who have been treating smokers like shit for years.

The embargo will not mean that tobacco companies will distribute more products to neighboring states and provinces. Just the opposite. They will reduce their production by the amount that would normally be distributed to the embargoed territories. Predictably, neighboring states and provinces will have a large part of their quota siphoned off by bootleggers.

III. No More Payments

The tobacco industry should refuse to pay another dollar in any tobacco lawsuit — even settlements previously agreed to. This will be a major blow to those jurisdictions, like New York City, that have “securitized” future payments into so-called “tobacco bonds.” Of course, the various governments will attempt to freeze the bank accounts of tobacco companies, but there will be very little cash left in those accounts because the companies will have deliberately depleted their cash by buying back their own shares and debt securities for cancellation. What will the government do then, seize the manufacturing plants? What will they do with them? But more to the point, if the entire tobacco industry is shut down indefinitely, the economic consequences — especially in the U.S. — would be enormous. Not only is the tobacco industry the biggest taxpayer in the U.S., but retailers and distributors will go out of business, and farmers and tobacco workers will swell the welfare rolls. Federal and state budgets would be wrecked, the U.S. dollar would be hit, the financial markets would be hurt, and you’d probably have inflation and a recession. Smokers would take out their rage on the government, but plenty of non-smokers would be angry, too.

IV. No More Corporate Sponsorships or Charity

Tobacco companies sponsor major public events, including sporting and cultural events. These events are important to local economies. (Benson & Hedges should have cancelled their annual fireworks festival long ago and told Toronto City Council to shove their smoking by-laws up their asses!) The latest trend now is for charities to refuse donations from tobacco companies for ethical reasons. Okay, cut off all charitable contributions! Let the anti-smoking crackpot groups make up the difference!

V. No More Advertising

A cessation of tobacco advertising will have serious consequences for print media, which need the revenue. Print media also generate editorial opinion, of course. That editorial opinion will target government.

VI. No More Self-Denigration

Enough apologizing already! Quit feeling and acting so guilty! And don’t have anything to do with “education” programs to discourage people from using tobacco. There are no “victims” of the tobacco industry — just people who lack moderation and common sense. Most smokers don’t get sick from smoking — only those who smoke too much.

VII. Attack Your Critics

I love this one. In logic we call it the ad hominem argument — the personal attack. And nobody deserves it more than the anti-smoking zealots. Ridicule them. Insult them. Puke all over them. My brilliant idea: do limited production runs of collectible cigarette brands named after the most obnoxious anti-tobacco politicians. (Hey, Imperial Tobacco, this one’s for you! Rock Specials, featuring a cartoon caricature of our fuckhead Health Minister, Allan Rock! What’s he gonna do, threaten to sue you? Let him!)

Yes, it’s a PR war, so make it a PR nightmare for the other guy.

VIII. The Counter-Cultural Attack

Why stop at the usual warning labels? Let’s do this thing totally rad. Create new brands with names such as “Death,” “Skull,” “Toxin,” “Nuke,” “Satan,” and “Murder” — all with appropriate artwork. First, the Goth set will snap them up; pretty soon, they’ll catch on all over the place. You won’t even have to advertise. The media will do it for you.

IX. Individual and Collective Protest By Smokers

Okay, admittedly, this sounds vaguely Leftish and boring, but all you have to do is use your websites and make a few suggestions to plant a seed. The best ideas will come from smokers themselves. Personally, I think people should refuse jury duty on the grounds that they can’t go without smoking in a courtroom for hours at a time. Bars that have been forced to adopt no-smoking rules should refuse to serve the city councillors who voted for those laws; even better, they should post pictures of the councillors (old campaign posters would do nicely!) along with the sign “These jerks will not be served here!”

X. The Objective of the War

You’ve won when governments stop trying to sue you, tax you to death, or call you murderers, and when tort law is reformed to protect the tobacco industry.

If the tobacco industry acts as one entity, it can flex its economic muscle and get North America’s health Nazis to back off. And that’s just what it should do. Tobacco is a legal product, and smokers are not social criminals.

(Note from the management: We are too shy to e-mail this item ourselves to tobacco companies and media outlets, but we don’t mind if you do.)



Crad is not only happily addicted to his pipe, but he was also happily addicted to Hoyle’s “Battling Ships,” which he would play on my computer in Toronto. He won about 75% of the time.


All material at  is copyright © by Crad Kilodney. All rights reserved.


Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9

— Crad’s new writing is now at



Follow-up on The Shadow (May, 2000) by Crad Kilodney

Follow-up on The Shadow (May, 2000) by Crad Kilodney

August 2001 Extra

Last May I reported on the remarkable case of The Shadow, whose junk-filled apartment I photographed for posterity. Carl, as he is properly known, had been renting two apartments — one to live in and one to store junk — and had decided to move into the junk apartment after it was cleaned out, sometime in the Fall of 1999. He gave up the second apartment, as I learned later.

Around the beginning of July, 2001, one of the tenants on Carl’s floor complained of a foul smell that seemed to be coming from Carl’s apartment. When the landlords investigated, they found Carl unconscious in an apartment that had once again been turned into a hell-hole of filth. (“It was even worse this time!” my landlady swears.) His leg was gangrenous, and he was in a diabetic coma. The bathroom was stuffed with garbage bags full of empty pop cans — all sugar-sweetened, no less. Predictably, the apartment was crawling with roaches.

He was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital, where his leg was amputated. To everyone’s surprise, he lived. What’s more, he insisted he could move back into his apartment once he got an artificial leg. However, the landlords had reached the end of their rope with Carl and were not going to go through such a horror again. They obtained a court order to evict him. He will end up in a nursing home, where he will get the supervision he needs.

In the recycling bins, I found a lot of packages addressed to Carl (he used to order all sorts of merchandise that he never used). I found a brand-new wallet and decided to take it. It was conveniently monogrammed with a gold “C.” I’m sure glad Carl didn’t die, because I’d feel uneasy about carrying the wallet of a dead man.





All material at  is copyright © by Crad Kilodney. All rights reserved.


Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9

— Crad’s new writing is now at


Why I Love Tobacco by Crad Kilodney

Why I Love Tobacco by Crad Kilodney

September 2001
Tobacco is the greatest plant that God ever set upon the earth. No other plant has given more people more delight. It is as American as apple pie and Thanksgiving. Tobacco is comfort, pleasure, tradition, and civility. It is a gift of Nature.

As I write these words, I’m enjoying a pipeful of Sail Green, a popular, inexpensive tobacco I can smoke all day. If you want to give me a present, however, treat me to MacBaren’s Plum Cake or Latakia. Yes, I smoke cigars, too. I like good, cheap American cigars — White Owls, Phillies, King Edwards, and Wolf Brothers Crooks (soaked in rum and dipped in wine, or is it the other way around?).

I took up smoking as a 17-year-old college freshman in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1965. My first pipe was a simple, sturdy Comoy King’s Cross, which cost all of $5. A small package of pipe tobacco cost less than 50¢. You could buy perfectly acceptable cigars for a dime. Many an evening I would stroll over to the Union with a neighbor from the dorm and buy a few.

In the 60s, it was considered very cool for a college man to smoke a pipe. (We all wanted to look smarter than we really were.) Pipes were fragrant, and you didn’t inhale. In fact, I have never been an inhaler in all my 36 years of smoking. My lungs are clear, and I have the X-rays to prove it.

In the 60s, no one made a fuss about smoking. Second-hand smoke? The term had not even been coined. If the room got too smoky, you opened a window. I was never once told that I couldn’t smoke in someone’s home. You could smoke at work. You could smoke on an airplane. You could smoke in some classrooms. Michigan’s undergraduate library allowed smoking.

When I was a child, cigarette cases fascinated me. We had several old ones lying around. No one in my family used them, but I came to love them as beautiful objects. So, too, the fancy lighters with no flints or fuel, which just sat around the house. They were familiar household objects that were decorative. Cigarette commercials on TV were among my favorite commercials. I miss them. And cigarette vending machines were everywhere. So many brands to choose from! And when you got up the courage and no adults were paying attention, you’d nervously drop two quarters into the slot, pull a handle, and walk away quickly, the sweat pouring down your brow!

All these things were normal. They were part of the American way of life.

Of course, everyone knew that smoking too much could kill you. Our gym teacher lectured us about it. But who was ever influenced by his high school gym teacher?

My father was a heavy smoker of Pall Malls and died of emphysema at 66. He was determined to smoke. The fear of illness would never have deterred him. He didn’t stop until he was already diagnosed. It never would have entered his mind to sue the American Tobacco Company.

I never inhaled an entire cigarette, but I smoked them sometimes anyway. When I first discovered roll-your-owns in Houston, Texas, I sat in my apartment all day smoking Bugler tobacco until my fingers turned yellow.

In my literary career I produced 32 books and numerous other works, and they would never have come into being without my two stimulants of choice — caffeine and tobacco. All real writers smoke. That’s my bias, and you won’t disabuse me of it. Tobacco is the thinking man’s vice. It’s a natural mood regulator: when you’re hyper, it calms you down; when you’re depressed, it picks you up.

So many great people were smokers: Gen. George Patton, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Albert Einstein. (Hitler, on the other hand, didn’t smoke.)

My old boss at Exposition Press, Ed Uhlan, chain-smoked Kents all day long. Our Vice-President, Ben Paskoff, always had a pipe in his mouth. I smoked all day at my desk. It was the best place I ever worked, with the smartest, most interesting people.

I associate tobacco with reading and books, especially old books. My heart leaps when I see old movies featuring rooms lined with books. Proper homes always had studies or libraries, and men’s clubs always had smoking rooms with comfortable chairs. This was the way a man’s life was supposed to be: sitting in an armchair, smoking a pipe, and enjoying a good book. Such venues still exist, but there are fewer of them.

And even the humblest of men anywhere in the Western world have sat across a chess board, blowing smoke at each other and pondering their next moves. From the lowest social stratum to the highest, tobacco has been entrenched in our civilization. It is part of our heritage.

I know that I was meant to smoke because I’m sure I smoked in my previous life. I must have had a fine reading room lined wall-to-wall with books, no shortage of ashtrays and lighters, and a rack of at least a dozen pipes. I sat in my favorite arm chair night after night, enjoying a pipe and a fine, old book. And if I was brave enough, I might have picked up a handsome fountain pen and some paper and tried to write a story, essay, or poem. But I would never be satisfied with the results. And so I prayed to God to give me another life on earth, so I could have the literary career I craved so deeply. Meanwhile, I steeped myself in books with strong, cloth-bound covers, letterpress printing, and elegant engraving, preparing my soul for my next lifetime. I think most likely I was a minor scholar at some northern university where the winters were long and snowy and perfectly suited to quiet evenings at home with my pipe and my books. And every night, before my housekeeper went to bed, she would see the light on under the door of my library and knock and poke her head in. “Professor, would you like anything before I go to bed?”

“No, thank you, Martha,” I replied, blowing a little cloud of Latakia above the pages of a particularly amusing novel. “I have everything I could possibly want.”




All material at  is copyright © by Crad Kilodney. All rights reserved.

Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9

— Crad’s new writing is now at

My Alien Encounter by Crad Kilodney

My Alien Encounter by Crad Kilodney

June 2001

I used to scoff at stories of alien encounters. Not any more. This is my story.

I was driving on a rural highway north of Toronto one evening a few months ago. A large bluish light appeared in the sky to my left. As it got closer, my engine died. The light came to rest on the ground. It was…a flying saucer! Two figures floated down from the bottom of the hull. They walked toward me. I was terrified. My body was strangely frozen. They looked sort of human but short, and they had large, bald heads and big eyes. They were dressed in silvery suits.

My car door was locked, but they opened it with a touch. “Do not be afraid,” they said to me telepathically. “You will please come with us.”

“Don’t hurt me!” I pleaded. “I don’t want to be experimented on!”

“You will not be experimented on,” they replied.

They held me lightly by the arms, and I seemed to float with my feet off the ground. When we got to the ship, we floated up through an open hatch. I found myself in a brightly-lit room. Everything was white, smooth, and clean. They had me sit in a soft seat.

“My name is Zor,” one of them said.

“My name is Bax,” said the other.

“So it’s true,” I said. “All those stories of people being taken away.”

“We have only borrowed humans for short periods for scientific study,” said Zor. “No one has been harmed. Our study of Earth people is nearly complete. Soon we will go on to another planet. However, there is still one thing we must learn about your people, something we have not yet been able to understand. It is a mystery to us. We want you to enlighten us.”

“Oh, I see,” I said, much relieved. “What do you want to know?”

“Please explain to us about the Gay Pride Parade,” said Bax. “We do not understand it. We have visited hundreds of inhabited planets and have never observed such a thing before.”

“The Gay Pride Parade?…Oh…well….I’ll try my best to explain it.” The two aliens stared at me in rapt attention, eyes unblinking. I collected my thoughts for a few seconds. “Well, to begin with, we have two sexes, male and female.”

“Yes, we know,” said Zor.

“Yes, of course…um…yes….Well, you see, some humans prefer to have sexual relations with their own sex.”

“We are aware of that,” said Bax. “It is a common trait among partly-civilized species.”

“Oh…okay…if you say so.”

“It is a genetic defect,” Bax continued. “That is the cause in every case. Did you not know that?”

“Uh, well, not really, although I believe you if you say it is.”

“Trust us,” said Bax. “We have a thorough knowledge of human biology.”

“Okay, fine,” I said. “Now, the term ‘gay’ is slang for homosexual.”

“We already know that,” said Bax, sounding a tad impatient.

“Good…Uh, and I suppose you know what pride is?”


“And I suppose you know what a parade is.”

“Yes, we know what a parade is,” said Bax with a hint of exasperation. “But we do not understand the concept of a Gay Pride Parade.”

I was momentarily stumped myself. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to seem stupid, so I forged ahead. “Okay, well…you see, gay people want to show everyone how proud they are.”

“Proud of what?” asked Zor. “That they practice non-reproductive sex with their own gender?”

“Well…not exactly…It’s more like….” I had to pause to think. I stroked my chin reflexively for a few seconds. “I’ll tell you what it really is. It’s purely political.”

“Do you mean political power?” asked Zor.

“Yes, that’s it. It’s all about power. Gays used to feel powerless, but over the years they’ve organized themselves to get power, and now they have a lot of it. So they have a parade every year to demonstrate their power.”

“What power do they have if they are a minority?” asked Bax.

“Well, no one wants to offend them.” The aliens looked at each other in obvious bewilderment. “You see, in my city and lots of other cities, there are enough gays that they can cause trouble if they don’t get their way. They can force the highest public officials to act sympathetic, even if they’re not.”

“But why is a parade necessary?” Bax persisted.

“They insist on it, so they get it,” I said. “Of course, they pretend it’s just a happy celebration, but it’s really a show of strength.”

“Now it is clearer,” said Zor, nodding. “You see, Bax, it is how they measure their increase of power.”

“Right,” I agreed.

“Ahh,” said Bax, nodding as well. “However, if they engage in deviant sex, do not the rest of your people recognize that this is abnormal?”

I took a deep breath. “Most people don’t know what’s normal or abnormal any more. I guess it’s like propaganda. Over time, you get used to it, so you just accept it. I guess our social values have changed. It’s considered a bad thing to call anyone abnormal.”

“So what you are telling us, in effect, is that a minority of your population that suffers from a genetic defect causing them to have sex with their own gender are able to gather in large numbers once a year in your city to demonstrate their political power, and the majority do not object?”


“Are they not aware that the male deviants insert their penises into each other’s anuses, and the females suck each other’s vulvas, and they reject child-bearing?”

“Of course, they’re aware.”

Bax shook his head in amazement.

“What is a chutney ferret?” asked Zor.

“A what?”

“Chutney ferret. What does that mean?”

“Oh, God….I don’t want to tell you in words. You’d better just read my mind.” I imagined it.

“Oh, how disgusting!” the aliens exclaimed.

“Sorry, but you wanted to know.”

Bax opened a drawer and took out a magazine. It was a gay magazine titled Sailor’s Delight. The cover showed a man wearing only a white sailor’s cap. “Why is this male wearing a headpiece?” he asked.

“It’s a sailor’s cap. It’s a standard part of a sailor’s uniform.”

“He means the oceanic military force,” Zor explained.

“Military force!” said Bax, alarmed. “Earth forces have nuclear weapons! The deviants control the military forces?”

“I didn’t say that,” I interjected quickly. “It’s just that, um…well…the, uh…male deviants…are sexually excited by military paraphernalia and symbolism.”

“Are they in the military forces as well?” asked Bax.

“Oh, absolutely.”

Zor and Bax looked at each other. Their eyes were blinking, which I had not noticed before. I detected a telepathic buzz between them. They were clearly disturbed.

Bax turned to me. “We are deeply concerned about your planet. It is in danger. I don’t think your people realize the danger.”

“Yes,” said Zor. “This Gay Pride Parade is a very ominous phenomenon. Is there no way to stop it?”

“Not a chance,” I said. “The gays have way too much power, and they get more very year. They change the laws, they dominate the media, and they crush their enemies.”

“But surely you do not approve,” Zor appealed to me. “We detect that you are normal.”

“Of course, I don’t approve. But what can I do?” Then I had a flash of inspiration. “You could help us! You could save the Earth!”

“How?” asked Zor.

“Destroy the Gay Pride Parade!”

Bax sighed. “It is not in our ethic to harm other intelligent beings.”

“But this is a special case, don’t you see? I’m pleading for help on behalf of the Earth — at least, the normal population! Isn’t it better that a few thousand should be eliminated to spare billions of others?” The aliens appeared to consider the matter. “They’ll control the nuclear weapons before long!” I pressed. “Soon they’ll be on the moon, and Mars! They’ll spread throughout the universe! It’s just a matter of time!”

Another telepathic buzz of alarm passed between the aliens. I sensed some legal terminology as well — something about a “Special Order.”

Zor turned to me. “When is the next Gay Pride Parade in your city?”

“The first weekend in July, if you’re familiar with our calendar.”

“Yes. We will make our preparations for then,” said Zor firmly. “Do not go near the parade. Stay in your home. You will be safe.”

“And when you’re finished, will everything be…okay?

“Everything will be…quite normal,” said Bax, smiling.

“He has made a joke,” Zor explained. I smiled. “Now we will return you to your vehicle.”

Bax took a little wand from his pocket. “You will not remember –”

“No, it’s all right,” said Zor, pushing Bax’s wand away. “This subject is intelligent, and he has been extremely helpful.”

I was led to the hatch and, as before, we floated down, and I was floated across the field with the aliens holding me gently. I was returned to my car. Zor closed the door and then leaned in the window. “Although your people are only partly-civilized, we appreciate some aspects of your culture. Your television show Star Trek is very popular on our planet. It is considered extremely humorous.”

“Captain Kirk is the most famous Earthman on our planet,” added Bax.

“I’ll tell William Shatner if I ever meet him,” I said cheerfully.

“And we like your females with artificially enlarged breasts,” said Bax. “We hope…um…you will have excellent reproductive intercourse with many of them until your hair has turned grey and has fallen out.”

“He has made another joke,” explained Zor, “although his expression was imprecise.”

“That’s okay. I appreciate it.”

“Your vehicle will operate normally when our ship departs,” said Zor.

The aliens left me, and I watched them walk back to their ship and float up through the hatch. Within a minute, the craft rose gracefully and flew off into the night.

Well, it’s June now. I’ve got my eye on the calendar. I’m crossing off each day with growing anticipation. It won’t be long now.





All material at  is copyright © by Crad Kilodney. All rights reserved.


Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9

— Crad’s new writing is now at


Joe and JoAnne by Crad Kilodney

Joe and JoAnne by Crad Kilodney

July 2001

Joe and JoAnne had had a quarrel in bed — something embarrassing, by which I mean sexual. Joe had felt so demoralized he didn’t sleep at all. He was depressed all the next day. After dinner, he told JoAnne that he was going to bed early because he was exhausted. However, JoAnne informed him that they were going out to visit some friends of hers. “I’m too tired to go out,” said Joe.

“If you want to keep this relationship, you’ll go with me.”

“What do you mean?”

“Do it to please me,” said JoAnne, knowing her choice of words would hurt Joe just the right amount.

So Joe agreed to go, despite his exhaustion. JoAnne’s friends turned out to be four unfriendly single women and two insipid, effeminate men. The conversation was academic and soon turned to feminism and the oppression of women by the male sex. Joe sat silent and passive, not comprehending that JoAnne had brought him to be scrutinized by this cabal. When Joe was asked something directly, he could only shrug and say he didn’t know or had never thought about the matter. He felt woozy and desperately needed to sleep. Despite his valiant efforts to stay politely awake, he finally told JoAnne he needed to lie down for a while.

“Is there a guest room?” he asked his hostess.

“Yes, but it’s strictly for the cats,” she replied ungraciously.

“Cats?” he repeated dully, his eyelids already drooping.

“Yes. They’re entitled to their space,” said the hostess. “There’s a sofa on the back porch, if you want to lie down there.”

Joe nodded and made his way unsteadily to the back porch. The sofa was a foot too short for him, but he lay down anyway and tried to get comfortable. It was chilly, and he thought of asking for a blanket but was too tired to get up again.

So Joe fell asleep and dreamed that he was lying in a squalid hotel room with no heat and a snowstorm going on outside. He wished JoAnne would bring him a blanket to show him that she loved him, but she didn’t. After a while, he was awakened by JoAnne, who pushed him on the shoulder and said, “Come on, get up. It’s time to go home.”

Joe mumbled his apologies to the others on the way out. The only thing that stuck in his mind was the unsmiling faces of the women and the smirking grins of the men.

When they got home, Joe could barely get his shoes off before collapsing on the bed. “Don’t even think of sex!” JoAnne spat at him, but he was already sinking into unconsciousness.

The following morning Joe learned that all of JoAnne’s friends had agreed that he was an insensitive male and that his falling asleep was a calculated act of hostility. They had strongly advised JoAnne to dump him or he would “drain all her life-energy.”

“So, like, you’re breaking up with me, is that it?” asked Joe, bleary-eyed over his instant coffee.

Yes, exactly. JoAnne had done a lot of painful thinking. The pain of this thinking was Joe’s fault, of course. Joe did not feel like having another argument with JoAnne. He felt that he might preserve a modicum of dignity by packing his things and moving out without the slightest fuss. “And another thing…” JoAnne baited him several times as he was moving his belongings, but each time he held his peace and let her have the last word.

So Joe moved to his aunt’s until he could get another place for himself. He was sad and lonely, but break-ups are usually non-fatal events, whose effects wear off in time.

Now, I know you will not let me end the story here. You want to know what happened to Joe and JoAnne afterwards.

Joe threw himself into his work as a way of restoring his morale. He was given a difficult and urgent assignment and performed so brilliantly that he was rewarded with a promotion and a big raise. He began dating a lady in another department whom he had known in high school. She was sweet and kind — just the sort of lady Joe had always needed. They got married a few months later. Today they have two little girls and live in a beautiful house in a good neighborhood and are completely happy.

JoAnne was consumed with contempt for Joe long after his departure — partly because he had not given her the satisfaction of a heated argument. She started hanging out at a reggae club and let herself get picked up by an unsavory Jamaican named Nat. He took her home and had rough sex with her. “This is the way we do it in my country,” he explained. “If you don’t like it, you can find somebody else.” She was fascinated with him and stayed. The physical abuse escalated. She accepted Nat’s view that if it didn’t feel like rape, it was no good for him. She definitely wanted to be good for him, so she submitted to every degradation. Even so, he cheated on her, leaving her hurt and confused. When she confided in her feminist friends, they were somewhat concerned about the physical abuse and encouraged her to be mindful of “cultural factors in male sexuality,” as well as the “historical victimization of people of color.”

Nat asked JoAnne to co-sign for a $15,000 loan so he could go into business. He wanted to open a record store. She signed gladly. This was followed by numerous personal loans to help Nat get by until the business grew. The money came from cash advances on her credit cards, and she was soon maxed out. Then, without any warning, Nat skipped town, leaving JoAnne on the hook for the $15,000 loan.

Today JoAnne is fat and lives alone. She thinks all men are rotten. She tried having sex with women but found that she could not get along with any of them for very long. I wouldn’t call her a stereotypical feminist, however, because although she buys lots of books on feminism, she never manages to finish any of them. Every year in April, when the new phone directory comes out, she looks up Joe’s name to see where he’s living. She does this out of morbid curiosity, hoping to see him listed on a bad street in a poor neighborhood. She can’t bear the thought that he might be happily married with a family. She wants him to be miserable. She wants him to be the victim of every conceivable misfortune. She wants him to call her out of the blue, to beg to be taken back, to crawl to her on his hands and knees, and admit he was wrong.





All material at  is copyright © by Crad Kilodney. All rights reserved.


Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9

— Crad’s new writing is now at


Darlie by Crad Kilodney

Darlie by Crad Kilodney

December 2001

“Life is hard. People disappoint.” So read the tag line on an article in the National Post. The article was a poignant memoir of depression by an American writer I’d never heard of before. I’ll just call her Darlie. Her photo reminded me of Marlene Dietrich. She was a thin, beautiful, very German-looking blonde, with dark, brooding eyes, and in her forties. I must make friends with this lady, I thought. She’s a kindred spirit.

Knowing only that she lived in Brooklyn, I searched the Internet for her phone number. I found her listed under her full name, which rather surprised me. With a few butterflies in my stomach, I called her, expecting to get an answering machine. However, she answered the phone herself. I explained how I’d read her article in the Post and wanted to send her a gift, and would she give me her complete mailing address. After a moment of hesitation, she gave me the apartment number and zip code to go with the street address in the directory. We couldn’t talk for more than a minute because she was bathing her daughter. Nevertheless, I was very happy to have spoken to her.

The next day I went to The Bay and picked out two lovely necklaces — an amethyst and a lapis lazuli. They were on sale, so this was not anything extravagant.

I wrote her a nice, friendly letter and enclosed a photo. I didn’t tell her I was a writer, only that I’d had a bohemian past. I didn’t want this to be a friendship between writers. She’d be the writer; I’d be the “civilian.” My letter was not too intense or too personal. It was a “get-acquainted” letter, designed to make a good impression and elicit a reply. When I mailed her the gift, I was sure I’d hear back from her within a short time. I imagined a beautiful friendship blossoming between us.

I went to a bookstore and bought one of her books — an autobiographical novel about her sordid youth. The back cover featured glowing tributes from various review media. Evidently, a confessional novel with lots of sex by a gorgeous, articulate lady who had been a bad girl for a while was just what critics appreciated these days. It was a pretty good novel but maybe not the “tour de force” I was led to expect.

I learned more about Darlie on the Internet: graduate of such-and-such college, writer-in-residence, graduate fellowship, several books, regular contributor to a leading music magazine, currently teaching at a college in the New York area. I felt more than a little intimidated, as if I weren’t in her league. But then, I wasn’t presenting myself as a fellow writer, just an admiring reader who wanted to make friends.

For the next two weeks I thought about Darlie all the time. I believed she would be very touched by my gift and would write back to me. After three weeks and no reply, I worried that my package might not have gotten to her. So I called her again to ask if she’d gotten it. She said that she had several notices from the post office for packages waiting for her but had not yet gone to collect them. Then she cut the conversation short because her little girl was demanding attention. I was a little discouraged by her abrupt manner, but at least I had the reassurance that my package was waiting for her. I still expected to hear from her, and I still expected a beautiful friendship to develop. After all, was she not a kindred spirit? Had she not written a memoir baring her soul? Had she not been hurt by people who let her down?

Well, I never heard from her after many months. Of all the ironies, I thought. Not even a perfunctory note to thank me for my gift. Darlie was, and probably still is, in therapy, by the way, which may explain why she seemed to have no concept of common courtesy. Courtesy is not a clinical issue.

“People disappoint.” Indeed, they do. And you, Darlie, are one of my biggest disappointments.





All material at  is copyright © by Crad Kilodney. All rights reserved.


Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9

— Crad’s new writing is now at


A Story For Accountants by Crad Kilodneya story for

A Story For Accountants by Crad Kilodney

October 2001

Young Mr. Richards, who shared a cubicle with the lovely Trixie, had at last found the ice-breaker he’d been waiting for to try to date her. Holding up the latest Wall Street Journal, he said to her, “Well, Trixie, today’s the big day.”

She looked up from the statement of cash flows she was working on. “What big day?”

“As of today, the new Financial Accounting Standards Board rule change takes effect. Companies will no longer amortize goodwill. Instead, intangible assets will continue to be carried at their original book value unless they become impaired, in which case companies will take the appropriate write-down.”

“Yes, I knew that,” said Trixie.

“It’s a great leap forward for your planet,” Richards continued. “Where I come from, we’ve always accounted for goodwill without amortization.”

Trixie turned her swivel chair around to face him. “What do you mean, where you come from?

Richards put down his newspaper and spoke with dramatic emphasis. “You see, Trixie…I am…not of this Earth….I am from…the planet Elasmognathus!” And so saying, he stood up to show off the monstrous erection bulging beneath his trousers.

Before Trixie could find words to reply, the door across the hall opened. Their supervisor, Mr. Seymour, walked into the cubicle. He glared at Richards. “I heard what you said, Richards. That was a foolish admission on your part.”


“If you are from the planet Elasmognathus, then I am your sworn enemy….You see, I am from…the planet Omblorvats!”


There was a flash of light, and Seymour morphed instantly into a grotesque giant insect. He raised one of his six spindly arms, which held a rod-like gun, and blasted Richards with a bluish ray. Richards burst into flames and within seconds was reduced to a small puddle of steaming, brown goo on the floor. Then, in another flash, Seymour morphed back into his human form. Adjusting his tie casually, he said to Trixie, “You will not mention this to anyone.”

“N-n-no, sir!”

“No one would believe you anyway.” And with that, Seymour turned crisply on his heels, marched back into his office, and shut the door.

Trixie slumped back in her chair, shaking her head in incredulity as she stared at the puddle of goo that used to be Richards. “Holy shit,” she muttered. “And I thought accounting was boring.”





All material at  is copyright © by Crad Kilodney. All rights reserved.


Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9

— Crad’s new writing is now at


Extra (for kids only!) by Crad Kilodney

Extra (for kids only!)  by Crad Kilodney

October 2001

Hi, kids! It’s October, and that means our coolest, most fun day of the year is coming up. That’s right, I mean Halloween! Halloween was my favorite day when I was a kid, and I guess it still is. What could be neater than wearing scary or funny costumes, going trick-or-treating for loadsa candy, decorating your classroom, having a party, telling ghost stories, and enjoying a truly American day?

It’s every American kid’s (and Canadian kid’s) right to enjoy Halloween. Unfortunately, there are some stupid people out there who want to take Halloween away from us. They say it’s satanic or anti-Christian, or some other baloney like that. Well, you know what you should do about such people? You should kill them, that’s what! Not only are they enemies of all kids, they’re also un-American. So stand up for your rights, stand up for Halloween, and stand up for old-fashioned American values. Kill anyone who tries to stop you from enjoying Halloween!





All material at  is copyright © by Crad Kilodney. All rights reserved.


Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9

— Crad’s new writing is now at