Dead Man Talking

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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


Moby Dick Essay by Crad Kilodney

Moby Dick Essay by Crad Kilodney

March 2002

Note: this essay is suitable for junior college and college students



Moby Dick is an exciting sea novel about a captain who sails the high seas in search of a giant whale. The whale had bitten off his leg long before, so he wanted to get even. Author Herman Melville may well have been inspired by another sea-going novelist, Benito Cereno, whose novel Cyrano de Bergerac relates the story of an ugly captain with a long nose who sails the seas in search of a beautiful woman he met in the seaport of Paris during the Spanish Inquisition. It was a trip calculated to end in disaster, which embodies the theme that one must not challenge the forces of Fate but accept one’s humble place in a Christian universe.

Moby Dick has the most levels of meaning of any novel in American literature. At least eighteen have been counted by literary scholars at Oxford, Columbia, the U.S. Naval Academy at Acropolis, and many others. However, the three big ones are: a) a tragedy of revenge, b) animal rights, and c) superstition vs. science. It is the latter theme that interests me most.

Mid-way through the novel, Capt. Ahab, our egotistical hero, walks on the plank at night and asks the universe “whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and, by opposing, end them?” Ahab hopes to slay a supernatural whale by the application of modern weapons, such as the lance, spear, harpoon, and similar artillery. But his faithful first mate, Starbuck, a devout, church-going man, recognizes the danger, for he knows well that Moby Dick is no ordinary whale but a force of evil. During a crossing of the Line of Capricorn, a vision appears on the mast in the form of St. Elmo’s fire, an electrical phenomenon conjured up in olden times by the monks of the Order of St. Elmo. The vision of a satanic pentagon warns Starbuck to try to avert disaster. However, Ahab is stubborn, like the ancient Hebrew king of old whose name he took, and he is determined to get his revenge on Moby Dick.

Mysterious events along the way prove that superstitious forces are at work: a sailor falls into the sea and does not rise to the surface; the sun stands still for many hours; the wind dies down to nothing; birds fly confused in all directions; Queequeg, a South Pacific Indian who is an expert whale-killer, sees death in a pattern of bones; and a large piece of cheese disappears, causing the captain to lock up several innocent sailors by mistake.

The captain has bribed his men by offering his favorite gold coin as a reward to the sailor who is the first to harpoon Moby Dick, which overlaps another level of meaning, which is capitalism vs. morality, one that is not within the scope of this essay but deserves investigation at another time.

In the final climax, the whale appears, and it is as white as a snow-capped mountain, causing many experienced sailors to go faint and fearful. Half of them want to run away, but the others are hypnotized by the whiteness of the whale so much that they are willing to obey the commands of their captain wherever he leads them, even to the bottom of the sea. The boats are sent off, and Ahab himself gets into one, hoping to snare the prize himself. The whale, however, seems to be reading his mind, for just when Ahab is about to strike, it goes under the water. Ahab’s use of science will not do him any good now, for he is up against a demonic force of religious proportions. Starbuck knew that long ago, but now it is too late for him. He says to himself, “All our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death,” which symbolizes the futility of human educational experience against the overwhelming odds of natural forces of universal evil.

The whale surfaces and causes mayhem, sinking all the boats. The captain is dragged down in its bloody jaws, and an evil color shines in the clouds overhead, representing the supremacy of evil over the rational Christian mind.

Only Ishmael, the narrator, survives to tell the story, a clever narrative device used by Melville and other best-selling authors, which adds drama to everything preceding.

Readers and scholars continue to analyze this profoundly deep and complex story which offers endless speculation as to its true meaning. This essay, it is hoped, has selected an appropriate aspect of the book and illuminated some relevant insights to explain it.




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


What to Do About Girls Who Give Out Fake Numbers by Crad Kilodney

What to Do About Girls Who Give Out Fake Numbers by Crad Kilodney

April 2002



Some of you girls think you’re very clever. You meet a man in a bar, and when he asks you for your phone number, you give him a fake one because you don’t like him. You could have told him no in a polite way, but you don’t know anything about manners. You don’t care how that nice man will feel when he calls the number you gave him and ends up with Mohammed’s Grocery, or some Tamil terrorist named Venmugalingam Thambapillai, or a voice mailbox for a company that rents forklifts, or, worst of all, a number that isn’t even in service.

Well, your number’s up, Sweetie, because this is what we’re going to do to you. If you give out a fake number to a nice man, you will be locked up in a motel room and forced to write the following sentence 50,000 times: “I will never again give a fake phone number to a nice man as long as I live.” Of course, you will have to take time off from work or school to write the sentences, but you should have thought of that first. And don’t whine about getting writer’s cramp or I’ll make it 100,000 times instead of 50,000.

After you have written the sentence 15,000 times, you will be allowed to have a visitor for one hour.

After 25,000 times, you will be allowed to order in any food you want, so long as you pay for it.

After 30,000 times, you will be allowed to watch TV for one hour.

After 40,000 times, you will be allowed to go for a walk under adult supervision and get a snack, but you must be back within an hour.

After 50,000 times, you will be finished. However, if you have cheated on the count, or if your handwriting is not legible, you will have to start over again.

If you break any of the rules or try to escape, you will be chained to the desk and have to start over. You will also lose the privileges I mentioned before.

Assuming you have done exactly what you were supposed to do, you will then find out where the man lives that you gave the fake phone number to, and you will write him a letter, apologizing for the mental pain you inflicted upon him. You will pay him $100 to read your letter. If you don’t have the money, you will have to borrow it or save it up from your pay or allowance.

You will also have to write a letter to your boss or principal, explaining why you missed a week of work or school (the exact time depends on you, but a week is probably the minimum for writing 50,000 sentences). If you’re in trouble because of the time you missed, you’ll just have to square it with your boss or principal, even if that means sexual favors.

And speaking of sex, if you would just put out when a nice man is interested in you, instead of being a deceitful bitch, you wouldn’t get into all this trouble with me. It’s really for your own good, so just accept it. Too bad if your hand hurts from so much writing. But just to prove what a nice guy I am, if you absolutely physically cannot finish 50,000 sentences, you can spread your legs for me or suck me off, and I’ll consider your debt to society paid. Just don’t make the same mistake twice, because the penalty goes up exponentially with each additional offense.




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


Percy and Rosalie by Crad Kilodney

Percy and Rosalie by Crad Kilodney

May 2002



Percy and Rosalie are in their fifties now, as I am. I’ve bumped into them downtown for nearly twenty years, since the early days when I was selling my own books on the street. Nothing much has changed with them in all that time. Percy was on welfare for the longest time, then took an accounting course and worked briefly as a bookkeeper, and then got laid off. Now he’s on a disability pension for a chronic back problem and scavenges deposit bottles (something I did occasionally myself when I was poor). He’s not a bad fellow but has never amounted to anything. The same with his girlfriend Rosalie, who is a perpetual student.

Percy used to talk to me on the street about his novel in progress. It started out as a story, which underwent countless revisions, then it had to be expanded to a novel because of the “multiple levels” that required elaboration. It’s an epic novel of action, political intrigue, romance, and “social philosophy.” First it was set in Canada, then in England, and most recently in South Africa. Percy says this is for marketing reasons, to keep it as timely as possible. The main characters are based on real people, although they have been altered for dramatic interest and to protect Percy from legal consequences. Various incidents have been added, deleted, or changed because of all the new ideas piling up in Percy’s brain. There is no completion date as such. Percy doesn’t want to make the fatal mistake of submitting a manuscript that is less than perfect because he expects it to be a blockbuster, provided that he connects with the right publisher.

Percy has never published anything anywhere. When I suggested to him once that he try to publish short works in small magazines that are open to unknown writers, he grimaced and shook his head. “It would be a waste of time.” That was many years ago, and he still hasn’t got one single publication credit to confirm his own opinion of his talent. It’s obvious to me — but I say it for your benefit anyway — that Percy’s problem is that he fears rejection. Therefore, he can never submit any manuscript anywhere. Nor, for that matter, can he ever finish one.

When Percy talks — and he loves to talk — he has the most annoying conversational style of anyone I have ever known. He speaks in analogies that are totally inapposite. One time we were talking about the law of supply and demand, and he used an analogy about three drunken French aristocrats in a restaurant arguing over the last trout in France. This led him on a long, tortuous divagation about social apathy, the prison system, political corruption, and how inventors have their inventions stolen, and by the time he reached a conclusion, I no longer remembered what we were talking about and didn’t want to return to it in any case. I thought, if this is indicative of Percy’s writing style, he has no hope of publishing anything.

Rosalie has never worked at what you’d call a normal, steady job, so far as I know. She is taking courses to become a social worker or social work administrator. She has been taking these courses for most of the time that I’ve known her — at least fifteen years. At one point she was planning to go to England to seek work because they were hiring more there. A year later, that plan was dropped. I forget the reason. Whenever I bump into Rosalie in the food court in the mall, she’s writing in a notebook, looking seriously studious. There is apparently no end to the courses required for qualification, to say nothing about those that are highly desirable even if not strictly required. When will she be through with all this school work? “God only knows!” (When I was in college in the Sixties, I knew the exact date I’d be finished and had it marked on my calendar.)

Rosalie looks so shabby. She can’t afford clothes. Her only income is from an inheritance she received, which she put into a bank certificate to earn interest, and she just rolls that over year after year. Now, with interest rates at rock bottom, her income is next to nothing. You’d think she’d look for alternatives, but she doesn’t know the first thing about financial matters. I tried to explain a few things to her about investing, and although she seemed interested, it was clear to me that she just didn’t get it. Now I mind my own business. Rosalie would be a disaster as an investor. “It would take many years of study,” she assured me.

Why is Rosalie a perpetual student? Perhaps you’ve already figured her out. She lacks self-confidence. She doesn’t think she’s smart enough. In fact, she doesn’t think she’s smart at all. She’s afraid to go out in the working world and be tested. She’s afraid she will fail and be exposed as an incompetent. If Rosalie had really wanted to be a social worker — or anything else — she would have qualified long ago. Her endless preparation for a career she will never have is a device for avoiding the world until she’s old enough to collect an old age pension. Nobody’s going to hire a new social work graduate in her fifties, so why do her teachers encourage her? Well, that’s another story.

The city has many Percys and Rosalies — born losers who pair up and limp along through life toward some mirage on the horizon that will never get any closer, and who will never rise above the level of marginal poverty they occupy. Separately, they would die; together, they can muddle along indefinitely with their weaknesses and illusions. It would be unkind of me to tell them bluntly what I’m telling you, so I don’t. After all, they’ve never said an unkind thing to me, so why should I hurt their feelings? Let them live their lives the only way they know how, and may God have mercy on their poor, pathetic so




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


Apartment Building Rules by Crad Kilodney

Apartment Building Rules by Crad Kilodney

February 2003


  • For those unfamiliar with flush toilets, they are used for personal relief only, not for disposal of food waste. If we have to pull chicken bones out of your toilet, we will kick your brown ass back to Bungalunga, or wherever the hell you came from.
  • Organic waste and non-recyclable garbage are to be enclosed securely in plastic bags and put in the garbage bins in the back. In this country, you do not leave your garbage in the hallway for persons of a lower caste to take it away for you, because there is no caste here lower than yours.
  • The blue bins are for recycling glass, metal, and plastic. This applies to containers and packaging only, such as jars, cans, and plastic jugs. It does not apply to broken glass from your car, computers, TV’s, coat hangers, pieces of machinery, or junk your kids brought home.
  • The grey bins are for recycling newspapers, cardboard, or anything made from wood-based fiber. Is Styrofoam a wood-based fiber? Is there such a thing as a Styrofoam tree? And don’t put in cartons of food with the food still in them, or pieces of broken furniture, moron.
  • What you cook is your business, and frankly, we’d rather not know what kind of disgusting slumgum you eat. But if it smells like dead dogs, you’d better not open your door to vent the smell into the hallway, or we’ll kick your dumb ass back to Fungolia.
  • Don’t slam your fucking door or play your music too loud.
  • Don’t throw beer bottles from the balcony, because we can trace the pieces back to the apartment they came from by rocket science.
  • The clothes washers are the ones that are connected to the water taps. The dryers are the ones connected to the air ducts. We realize this is hard for you because you don’t have such things in Boogaland. If you’re not sure, ask a white person. And another thing: don’t come to us and complain that the washer or dryer ruined your clothes and you want us to pay for new ones. Anybody tries that scam with us, we kick his ass back to Zumbawumba.
  • Any druggies caught in the stairwell will have the shit kicked out of them, no matter how cold it is outside.
  • If you fall behind in your rent more than one month, we get to fuck your wife, girlfriend, or daughter. Otherwise, we just break in when we feel like it and bust your ass.
  • We are responsible for the repair and maintenance of your apartment, but don’t come to us for lightbulbs and fuses. You can buy them across the street at the Paki bargain store. If you could afford the plane fare from Jigazooga, you can afford a fucking light bulb.
  • If we see too many guys with beards going in and out of your place, we will assume the worst and report you to the relevant authorities. And don’t stick any sign, emblem, flag, or picture in your window that is even remotely related to terrorism, or we won’t even bother to report you; we’ll just beat the crap out of you and ship you back to Moolahgoolah in a box.
  • If you hear the fire alarm, follow your nose and see if there’s an actual fire or just somebody’s cooking that set off a smoke detector. If it’s a real fire, dial 911 and try to remember where you live. If it’s a false alarm, forget about it. Mike in 4A has the key to the alarm box and will reset it, which you could never figure out how to do in a million years. If you’re totally in a panic, call Immigration and say you’ve changed your mind and want to go back to Gujaluga.
  • If your children are unruly or destructive, they will be given flying lessons from the roof.
  • Nude sunbathing is not your constitutional right. We will decide on a case-by-case basis who is allowed to do it.


by Crad Kilodney



All material at Dead Man Talking/  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



In Praise of Meatloaf by Crad Kilodney

In Praise of Meatloaf by Crad Kilodney

August 2002


What is the food that represents American culture? What is the food that separates the civilized man from the barbarian? What food is the true test of manhood and womanhood, the food loved by all true he-men and she-girls? What is the food that is always in good taste and always tastes good? What is the food you would eat for the rest of your life if you could only eat one food? That food is meat loaf.


Mom made it for you, and it was good, wasn’t it? You ate it in the school cafeteria, and even though you made jokes about it, you have to admit everyone ate it, right? Indeed, what would America be without meat loaf?

Let’s not take meat loaf for granted, however. Our culture is under attack from all directions. Ugly foreigners have brought their strange foods to our shores. Vegetarians are attacking meat in all forms. And radicals can’t leave well enough alone; they want to transform what is comfortable and familiar into something bizarre in the name of experimentation. We must draw a line in the sand and say “Stop!”

Do you know how to make proper meat loaf — American meat loaf? If not, I am happy to give you my recipe, based on one from a classic American cookbook.

You will need a large mixing bowl and three medium-size aluminum loaf pans. Your ingredients are as follows:

2 pounds of medium-lean ground beef (if your supermarket doesn’t have medium-lean, just buy one pound of medium and one pound of lean)

2 cups of bread crumbs (ready-made from the supermarket are fine)

¾ cup milk

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 onion, chopped small

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon black or grey pepper

1½ teaspoons dry mustard (the secret ingredient!)

1 or 2 tablespoons of dry parsley flakes (optional)

With your washed hands, you will combine all the ingredients in the mixing bowl and blend thoroughly until the mixture is uniform. But before you do this, grease your aluminum loaf pans lightly around the inside with a little vegetable oil. Pack your mixture into the loaf pans to make loaves of approximately equal size. The pans will not be full. It’s better that way. Do not press the mixture down too much. You want a bumpy, uneven top in order to make a nicer crust.

The oven should be set for 350°F. Put the loaf pans on the middle rack. Bake for 40 minutes, then turn on the broiler (top element) for another 5 minutes to char the top and give it a nice crust. (Keep your eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.) Remove the loaves and let them sit for a couple of minutes before you slice and serve. If you’re careful not to pierce the aluminum pans, you can reuse them several times. If any leftovers are going into the freezer, slice them into convenient portions first.

Now, there are many variations to meat loaf, but this is a good standard recipe that always pleases.

Canadians have no idea what meat loaf is supposed to taste like. I have found only mushy and tasteless meat loaf in restaurants up here. And there’s one restaurant up north somewhere that advertises their “famous” meat loaf seasoned with sage, of all things! Can you imagine anything more disgusting? Gag! Somebody educate these fools! You never, never, never put sage in meat loaf! Sage is absolutely incompatible with beef, and if you ever see such a thing on a menu, best to walk out. The one and only aromatic seasoning for meat loaf is dry mustard, got it?

What should you put on meat loaf? A little ketchup is okay, but don’t overdo it. (The Loblaw’s supermarket chain has a “President’s Choice” frozen meat loaf that is a tasteless meat loaf drowned in ketchup. Don’t make this mistake at home.) Really, the best thing to go on your meat loaf is an unpretentious brown gravy or mushroom gravy (not chicken gravy!).

Serve your meat loaf to your guests and you will know who’s okay and who isn’t. Girls who don’t like meat loaf are useless in bed and bad companions generally. Men who don’t like meat loaf are unmanly, un-American, and definitely untrustworthy.

Make your home a meat loaf home, and everyone in it will be happy and healthy. And please invite me to dinner. I long to see a lovely house with a front lawn and a backyard. I want to see several happy children at play. I want to see a perfect blue sky and smell the flower garden. I want to see the American flag flying in front of the house. And just when my empty stomach can wait no longer, mom will call everyone in for a meat loaf dinner.

Publisher’s note:

     I invoke my publisher’s privilege to comment that Crad neglects to say what one should serve with meat loaf. Mashed potatoes, asparagus, and applesauce, with rhubarb pie (no ice cream please — why do so many Americans put ice cream on top of their pie?) for dessert. And lots of whole milk to drink. If you are inviting me to a meat loaf dinner then that is what I would prefer. If you are inviting Crad then I guess you will have to ask him what he prefers. His phone number is below.



by Crad Kilodney

All material at Dead Man Talking/  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 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.

by Crad Kilodney

All material at Dead Man Talking/  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

Letter to Jenny by Crad Kilodney

Letter to Jenny by Crad Kilodney

August 1999

Tuesday, May 6, 1997

Dear Jenny,

In the Classical World, all emotions were recognized as a part of the human condition. All had their place in the garden of life. This is why Classical art retains its appeal – at least to some people.

In the Modern World, however, negative emotions are not permitted to exist. They are regarded as forms of illness, and those who feel them are sick people in need of therapy.

Unhappiness is the most inexcusable negative emotion. The unhappy person is dysfunctional. He is not in control of his mind. In the Modern World there is no reason to be unhappy. People create their own unhappiness. It is their fault. It is a weakness of character. All unhappiness is automatically invalid. The invalidation of unhappiness eliminates the necessity for sympathy, empathy, and comfort and thereby makes the Modern World so much simpler.

Anger is another negative emotion that marks the social criminal. Anger is un-Modern. It is an expression of helplessness. If people simply asserted themselves, there would be no occasion to be angry.

Hatred is a waste of time, a squandering of energy. To hate is to relinquish control of your life to others. For Modern People, control is the most important thing.

Loneliness scarcely deserves comment as it is so obviously un-Modern. There are approximately 6 billion people in the world. The solution to loneliness is to go out and meet some of them. In fact, you don’t even have to go out; you can meet them by phone or computer network.

Fear is only felt by cowards. Modern People don’t recognize fear. There are various martial arts you can learn. Move around in packs. Confront the source of your fear and it will instantly evaporate.

Jealousy is sick. Modern People don’t feel jealousy because they don’t need anyone. [See “Need.”]

Need is sick. The Modern Person is autonomous. He can remove anyone or anything from his life as easily as taking out the garbage. Modern Man revels in his independence. The only things that are really “needed” in the Modern World are the right clothes and high-tech gadgetry.

Pain is only felt by the thin-skinned. Modern Man never feels pain. His nervous system has been deadened to it. What do you think drugs are for anyway?

Shame and guilt, which are closely related, are the products of authoritarian moral structures. The Modern World is completely amoral; therefore, there is nothing to feel ashamed or guilty about. Modern Man makes his own morality and constantly revises it to fit changing circumstances.

Failure is only felt by those who haven’t tried hard enough. You have only yourself to blame. Modern Man never fails. He is always successful in his own way, even if it is not evident to others.

Inferiority is a product of an obsolete conception of the human race, based on inequality. The Modern World is based on absolute egalitarianism. Every human being in the world is exactly equal to every other human being. Small differences are attributable to environment.

People who feel negative emotions simply refuse to be part of the Modern World. They are maladjusted. They are their own worst enemies. With so many self-help courses available, designed to purge negativity, no one has any excuse to walk around with negative emotions, just as no one has any excuse to be dirty with the availability of soap and water.

Modern People are always positive. They know that if they want something badly enough, they go out and get it. If something needs to be changed, they change it. The human race would make better use of its time and energy if all negativity ceased to exist.

Don’t let negative people sap your energy! Kick their butts! Tell them to get out of your life!

Negative people, like those with contagious diseases, should be quarantined and isolated from the rest of society.

I repeat, negative emotions are not permitted to exist in the Modern World.

Crad Kilodney

All material at Dead Man Talking/  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

Psychic Susan, and Why I Won’t Talk to Her Any More



Psychic Susan, and Why I Won’t Talk to Her Any More

May 1999 by Crad Kilodney

Davewon’t speak to Susan any more, and neither will I, although for a different reason. Dave is convinced Susan is a witch, and he blames her for breaking his favorite chair. It seems they were having a phone conversation, and it was getting unfriendly. Dave was sitting on a beautiful antique chair at the time, and it simply broke underneath him for no apparent reason! We both know that Susan is psychic, so it’s not too big a stretch to believe she broke that chair by psychokinesis. Of course, she would never do such a thing on purpose, but Dave loved that chair so much he won’t forgive her.

Many years ago Susan had a dream about a horse race at Woodbine. She saw the names of the first and second place finishers. When she got up that morning, she checked the racing page of the Sun, and, sure enough, there were two horses with those names listed for a race at Woodbine. She debated whether to go to the track and wager but eventually decided not to. As it turned out, those two horses finished first and second, and she would have cleaned up.

In addition to our literary roots, one interest Susan and I have in common is the stock market. Once in a great while, she makes a bet on call options. A call option locks in a price at which you can buy a stock for a certain period of time. Under the right circumstances, you can multiply your money many times — say, turn $100 into a couple of thousand. One time Susan had a hunch about Inco, so she bought some calls that were dirt-cheap because they were “out of the money” (i.e., not yet profitable for the holder to exercise) and getting close to their expiration date. Inco made a big move, putting the stock above the exercise price of the option. That meant that for every penny the stock rose, the option rose, too. Susan followed the stock closely, wondering, Should I sell my calls now, or should I hold on? She ended up selling right at the top and made a bundle.

She did the same thing with call options on Coca Cola. “How much did you make?” I asked her. She laughed and said, “I’m not telling!”

Around September of ’98, I was talking to her on the phone. “I’ve been thinking about ATI Technologies,” she said. “I like it a lot.” ATI is a very volatile stock. The company makes accelerators for computer graphics, but don’t ask me what that means. Anyway, at the time, the stock was around $15. I generally don’t buy calls; I sell them on my own stocks to pocket the premiums. So I didn’t make a bet on ATI. A couple of weeks later, the stock sank to $12. I thought, Ha! Susan finally got one wrong! But no, she was right. The stock moved back up in November. In late January it topped out at $27.90. If I’d bought, say, some January 20 calls (allowing the holder to buy ATI at $20 any time until January expiration) back in September, they would have been cheap because they were $5 out of the money. I’d have made a killing if I’d listened to Susan.

I used to like Susan a lot. She’s very smart, she has a great sense of humor, and she has a natural magnetism that men find sexy. The only problem is that she’s severely phobic. More specifically, she’s sort of agoraphobic and also phobic about having visitors. She lives five blocks away from me and has been to my place once in eleven years. (She can’t go east of Church St. or she gets a panic attack.) I’ve been to her place maybe four times but only when I happened to bump into her close to her building. I’ve tried numerous times to invite myself over there. “No, I just can’t,” she says. “I can’t handle it. But we can still talk on the phone.” This really pisses me off because I get lonely and want some company.

One time she said she was out on a boat on Lake Ontario. I said, “If you can go out on a boat, why can’t you visit me?”

“That’s different. I can be on a boat, but I can’t go into a strange building or I get a panic attack.” Go figure.

She used to work part-time in a bookstore near her place, and she was okay sitting in the basement shrink-wrapping magazines. But if the boss sent her to the bank to make a deposit, she’d have a panic attack on the way and have to turn back.

She’s been like this for seven or eight years now. I believe her sex life is limited to English cucumbers. However, the fact that she’s unsociable and unfuckable is not why I won’t speak to her any more.

On January 2nd, I had a back spasm. If you’ve ever had one, you know what they’re like. You’re in pain, and you can’t move. This was my sixth one. I knew exactly what medication I needed. I was able to get a doctor to come to my place and write me a prescription, no problem. I just needed someone to take it to the drug store. There was no one I could call who would be home in the middle of the day but Susan. “Susan, I can hardly move! Please get a prescription filled for me!”

“Oh, no, no, no, I can’t! You know my problem! I just can’t go to your place!”

I expected this, but I was still angry. “If my life depended on your getting this prescription for me, I’d be dead!”

She laughed. “Fortunately, it doesn’t. Why can’t they deliver it for you?”

“They can’t deliver on Saturdays.”

“Gee, if I could get someone to go with me, I might be able to, but there’s no one.”

“Thanks a lot. Never mind.” Click.

I ended up dragging myself in great pain to the drug store.

I’ll never forgive Susan for that. To this day, I keep thinking, I’d be dead if my life had depended on her!

She may call me again at some point. She calls about once every six months, always chirpy, as if we’re old chums. Well, next time she calls, I know exactly what I’m going to say to her:

“Listen, you bitch! I could be dead because of you, and if you don’t give me a stock tip right now, I’ll slam this phone down and never speak to you again!”




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 To Serve Gerry Kaufman, Attorney by Crad Kilodney









ll material at is copyright © by Crad Kilodney. All rights reserved. — Crad’s new writing is now at



Gerry Kaufman, an attorney specializing in wills and estates, who practises in Suffolk County, New York, may be considered an exotic food, in the same category as snake, rat, weasel, or blowfish. However, with the right preparation, he can be served to special guests or to satisfy one’s own appetite for revenge. To be sure, the taste is an acquired one and can only be appreciated by those who have been swindled, betrayed, or otherwise mistreated by any despicable lawyer.

Gerry Kaufman is best killed by a bullet to the head. The brain is inedible anyway, owing to chemical contaminants. An alternative method of slaughter is decapitation. The head may then be waterproofed with silicone and used as an amusing doorstep ornament on Halloween.

Laying Kaufman flat on his back, hack off the arms and legs. Then plunge a sharp knife into the upper chest, cut down to the pubic bone, and make lateral cuts to expose the internal organs. These are inedible and should be bagged in plastic and buried in front of the Suffolk County Bar Association.

The remaining meat may be butchered in the same fashion as a beef or hog carcass. The meat is naturally slimy, which gives Gerry Kaufman his peculiar character.

The secret of preparing Kaufman is to cook him in the fat of Carol Apostolopoulos, owner of Angelino’s Restaurant on Jericho Tpke. in Westbury, New York. Chefs call this method of cooking “collusion.” Only such collusion does justice to the exotic tastes of these two foods.

Carol Apostolopoulos has always been considered inedible, owing to the densely packed excrement and putrescent matter inside her. Indeed, biologists have been amazed that such a creature could function and appear outwardly normal. But Carol Apostolopoulos dominates her habitat thanks to her big mouth, vulgarity, belligerence, deceit, and money, and she is “enabled” by certain sub-species, including estate administrators, bank managers, and Greek contractors willing to write fraudulent receipts for home renovations.

Only the fat of Carol Apostolopoulos can be used. One method of preparing the carcass is to insert a hose in the mouth, enlarge the anus with a large incision, and wash out the foul insides with water pressure. However, this is a messy procedure that will ruin your backyard. The better way is to cut the fatty tissue off the carcass carefully. Do not pierce the body cavity. Simply cut off the thick layer of fat, as you would with a whale. Put all the fat in a cauldron and render it down at a moderate heat. Filter the fat through a cheesecloth and save it in containers. It keeps well in a refrigerator and may be taken out as needed. With assorted cuts of Kaufman in a large freezer and an ample supply of Carol’s fat, you’ll have the makings of many meals!

To pan-fry Kaufman, place the meat in a skillet with Carol’s fat and cook slowly over moderate heat until well done. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano.

Roasting also works well. Place a roast-sized piece of Kaufman in a deep roasting pan and lard it liberally with Carol’s fat. Add salt, pepper, and oregano. Baste at regular intervals so that the taste of Carol’s fat flavors the meat thoroughly. Allow 40 minutes per pound at 350 degrees for a well-done roast.

Broiling is less successful as Kaufman can’t take direct heat.

Serve these dishes with anything stolen, such as food pilfered from a federal anti-poverty program that has found its way into Angelino’s. For a beverage, choose any strong red wine to aid digestion.

Don’t be surprised if your pets flee the kitchen and refuse to eat any table scraps you may offer them. Cats and dogs are innocent and have no experience of anything as malodorous and unnatural as Gerry Kaufman and Carol Apostolopoulos.





Crad Kilodney

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

— Crad’s new writing is now at