I Killed Sanjay Gidwani

August 28, 2008

    One of my critics once said that I was so unread and so insignificant as a writer that I could confess to murder in print, and no one would notice or care.

    Well, there’s only one way to find out.

    In 1995 I helped my landlord kill a tenant who refused to pay his rent, and we disposed of his body.  His name was Sanjay Gidwani (a.k.a. Samir Gidwani), and he lived next door to me.

    Gidwani was a hard-core con artist.  He moved in, paid rent for a couple of months, and then simply stopped paying.  He knew that under Ontario’s housing laws the landlord would have to give him an eviction notice, after which it would take three months to evict him.  So he would get three months rent-free and would probably leave the day before the sheriff arrived.

    The landlords were Yugoslavian — the parents and their two grown sons.  Decent people.  They didn’t deserve to get screwed.

    “What can we do?  The law protects the tenant.  It’s politics,” said Mike, the older son, as we were talking it over in the basement.  “We’re going to lose two thousand dollars altogether when you add in the sheriff’s fee.”

    “Well, it makes me mad.  I have to pay rent, and he gets three free months.”

    “I know. It sucks.  But it’s worse for us because it’s a real loss of money.”

    We were the only ones in the basement at the moment.  The family had another building to look after as well, so they were at one place or another but not according to any rigid schedule.  The younger son, Peter, had a regular job, but he would come to my building from 4:30 to 6:00.

    I said to Mike, “We should beat the crap out of the guy.”

    “My mother would have a heart attack.  In the old days my father would have thrown the guy out physically, but my parents are getting old, and they don’t want confrontation.  And you know Peter’s a marshmallow.”

    My eyes were wandering over all the old junk.  The basement was like a museum.  It had a human presence, and I liked it.  I was staring at a sharp letter opener, and a thought came to me.

    “We could kill him,” I said.

    “What do you mean?”

    “I mean the two of us could kill the guy and dispose of the body when nobody else was around.  They’d never know.”

    Mike laughed.  “Are you serious?”

    “Sure.  That guy has no roots.  He could be in the country illegally.  No one’s going to come looking for him.  And besides, he doesn’t deserve to live.  A guy like that is a full-time crook.  His whole life is about ripping people off.”

    “We couldn’t get away with murder.”

    “Listen,” I said, leaning closer.  “I’m the smartest tenant you ever had.  I have an I.Q. over 150.  I graduated from the University of Michigan when I was twenty.  Bachelor of Science.  Plenty of people stupider than me have gotten away with murder.  If I think of a plan, it will work.”

    Mike sat back in his chair, hands gripping the arm rests.  He looked up at the ceiling.  His eyes were narrowed in thought.  After a minute, he said, “Okay.  But only if you absolutely guarantee that we’ll get away with it.”

    “We will.”

    And I came up with an excellent plan.

    The most important thing was to decide where we would dispose of the body.  When gangsters killed somebody in this city, they would either bury the body at a construction site or dump it into the harbour at the foot of Cherry St.  But we didn’t have any access to a construction site, and I didn’t like the harbour.  Instead, Mike would scout around the suburbs and find an undeveloped lot with a “For Sale” sign on it — a lot covered with tall grass.  Plan B was a second, similar site.

    We would kill Gidwani in his apartment on a weekday afternoon, when the other tenants were working.  Mike would be the only family member at the building.  He would get a trunk and bring it up to my apartment in advance. (Gidwani was small enough to fit into a trunk.)  I’d be home listening through the wall to make sure Gidwani was home.  Then I’d ring down to the basement, and Mike would come up and knock on Gidwani’s door.  He’d want to talk to him on some pretext.  When Gidwani opened the door, Mike, who was very strong, would push his way in, with me right behind.

    Now, I won’t pretend that I was cool about it.  I was so nervous I had to take a tranq.  And the whole business proved to be very clumsy. The guy was fighting and yelling, and we were trying to pin him down so I could choke him.  It must have taken ten minutes of choking before he was dead. The last words he uttered were “I’ll pay!”

    We had to destroy all of Gidwani’s I.D. and plastic.  I took care of that.  I also kept his keys.  Mike got whatever money was in his wallet.

    We brought in the trunk, wrapped the body in an old blanket, and jammed it into the trunk.  Then we took the trunk next door to my apartment, where it would stay until late in the evening.  Mike went back downstairs.  He would go home at his usual time and then come back here around 9 p.m., when it was dark.

    When Mike returned, he parked his pick-up at the foot of the fire escape and then came up to help me carry the trunk.  If someone saw us coming out of my apartment, it would mean nothing, which is why we kept the trunk in my place instead of Gidwani’s.  Carrying it down three flights of narrow stairs (classic Victorian architecture!) was a bitch.  But we did manage it, with the last flight being out on the fire escape.  And no one saw us.  And even if they had seen us, they were all foreigners and deaf, dumb, and blind, if you get my drift.

    We got the trunk onto the back of the pick-up and then headed out to the suburbs.  I won’t say where, except that it was roughly northeast of the city, in an area with a lot of farmland and narrow dirt roads.  Mike had marked his map, and I navigated for him.

    The disposal site was perfect — a large piece of acreage overgrown with tall grass, with a bunch of trees and a dilapidated shed about twelve feet by six feet.  We drove up the access path and parked next to the shed.

    There was nobody around, and we probably couldn’t be seen, but just to play it safe, we killed the lights and just used a flashlight.  We carried the trunk into the shed and dumped the body on the floor.

    “Leave the blanket or take it back?” asked Mike.

    “Take it back.  You’ll wash it tomorrow.”

    We put the trunk back on the truck and drove back to the building.

    There was no way the police would ever identify the body.  Nobody would report Gidwani missing.   

    “I’ve got his keys, and I’ll retrieve his mail every day.  I have a feeling we’ll find out a few things,” I said to Mike.  “Now, we’re going to do absolutely nothing for one week, understand?”

    “Right.”

    “Next week I’ll tell your parents that Gidwani’s apartment has been quiet and I think he’s gone.  I’ll suggest to them that they check on him.”

    “Yeah, but they’re going to find all his stuff there.”

    “Doesn’t matter.  The guy packed one suitcase and sneaked out, get it?  Whatever he left behind was stuff he never paid for anyway.”

    “But why would he leave early?”

    “Who cares?  He’s gone.  Your parents are landlords, not detectives.”

    Mike laughed.  “You’re some guy, you know that?  You really figured this out.”

    “I told you I would.”

    And things worked out exactly as I expected.  When the old folks came up to check the apartment, Mike’s mother opened the fridge and smelled the container of milk.  It had gone sour.

    “That proves he left,” I said.

    “What are we going to do with all this stuff?” asked Mike’s father.

    “Keep it or throw it out.  It doesn’t matter.”

    “You want to keep something?”

    “He’s got nothing I need.”

    So the place was emptied, cleaned up, and rented to somebody else.  Peter, the marshmallow, said, “I hope that guy doesn’t come back and sue us for throwing his stuff out.”

    “Yeah, right.” I said.

    As I had predicted to Mike, nobody ever came looking for Gidwani. 

    Mail continued to arrive for him, and the new tenant simply left it on top of the mailboxes, and I swiped it.  All of the mail I collected confirmed my worst suspicions about the guy.  He had applied to Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, but he never intended to go.  He merely used the acceptance letter to get a $14,000 student loan from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, plus a $2,000 personal loan.  He had two cell phone accounts with Rogers — one as Sanjay Gidwani and one as Samir Gidwani.  He got a good deal with a lot of free minutes, which he used up. He made small payments initially and then stopped paying.  Rogers was sending him notices about his accounts, but they probably wouldn’t cut him off for several months.  Gidwani had also stiffed the Hudson Bay and Canadian Tire.  A collection agency was sending him letters, but that was all they’d ever do.  Nobody chases after a debtor any more.  Companies just write off the loss.  CIBC is like every other Canadian bank.  They would just write off the $16,000.  To the guys on Bay St. it’s just an accounting entry, not their own money.

    Gidwani also had a mutual fund account with Toronto-Dominion Bank with a total of about $100.  I believe he was merely using it to get credit elsewhere.  TD continued to send him regular statements for ten years, even though I kept returning their envelopes, marked “MOVED. NOT FORWARDABLE. RETURN TO SENDER.”  Stupid bank.

    There are a lot of Sanjay Gidwanis in this world — rotten bastards who have gotten away with shit all their lives because nobody ever had the nerve to smash their heads against a wall.  Whatever society tolerates, it gets more of, get it?  What we need is a lot less tolerance, and liberals be damned!

    Am I a bad guy?  No.  Gidwani was the bad guy.  He got what he deserved.

    And as for my critic, he can go fuck himself.

    Copyright@ 2008, by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.  E-mail: crad166@yahoo.com

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    This story may be true, or it may be fictitious.  I refuse to say.  But I’ve been wanting to tell it for a long time, so here it is.

    Many years ago I worked for a company that had stock trading on a stock exchange.  It may have been in the U.S. or Canada, but for the sake of the story, I will say the U.S.

    This company was doing excellent business and found itself sitting on a lot of cash.  As a rule, companies don’t like to sit on piles of cash.  Cash is working capital, and they want to do something with it.  The President called a meeting to discuss this very matter, and I happened to be at the meeting.

    “We have a number of choices,” said the President.  “We can buy back shares for cancellation.  We can raise the dividend.  We can acquire another company.  We can invest new capital to expand the business.  Or we can park the money in T-bills indefinitely.”

    “My first choice would be to buy back shares,” said one of the others.  “Except that the stock price is pretty high right now.  And if we announced a buyback, it would go even higher.  So I don’t know if that works for us.”

    “I agree with you,” said the President.  “I would love to buy back shares, but I’d prefer to see the stock twenty percent lower.” 

    I rarely spoke at meetings, but this time I did.  “So the trick would be to make the stock go down — at least temporarily — so you could buy it back on the cheap.”

    The others laughed because they thought I was joking.

    The President said, “And how would you do that?  Without violating any securities regulations, that is.”

    “There is a way, if you want to hear it,” I said.

    “We’re all ears,” said the President, smiling skeptically.

    And here was the plan: the company would hire a shredding truck to come to the building at midnight.  They would keep the truck on the property for two or three hours but would only be shredding some waste paper of no importance.  Someone would either have to see the truck on our property or at least find out about it in order for the rumor mill to get going.  Now, it was possible someone might see it, because there were a few smart guys out there who would follow a shredding truck.  But to make sure the word got out, I would drive by the property and take photos.  The photos would be sent anonymously to several business reporters, as well as an outfit that did research for short-sellers — i.e., digging up dirt on companies in trouble.  Then we would wait for the phones to ring.

    The Chief Financial Officer was to leave two days after I mailed the photos.  He was to take an unscheduled vacation for two weeks and not tell us where he was going.  He was literally to be out of touch.  Cell phones had not been invented yet.

    The President chuckled and looked around the table.  Everyone else chuckled in sympathy.  Then he suddenly looked serious and said, “That could actually work.”  All the chuckling stopped.  “I’m going to think about it,” he said.

    He thought it over for a week and then decided to do it.

    The shredders came, shredded some paper, and then sat around having coffee and playing euchre with the night crew.  They thought it was odd, but they were told their time had been paid for and not to worry about it.

    I took pictures, got them developed, and mailed them out.

    Somebody took the bait.  No one who hadn’t been at the meeting had been told about the shredding truck, so when the calls started coming in, the secretaries and assistants could say honestly they knew nothing about it.  And the night crew wasn’t around in the daytime.  The President, playing his role perfectly, calmly told callers that the shredding truck had only shredded routine scrap.  Then why call them at midnight?  So they could get in and out of the parking lot easily! 

    The callers then asked to speak to the CFO.  They were told he was on an unscheduled vacation, but nobody knew where.  It was true, but who would believe such a thing?

    Now the rumor mill was churning in overdrive.  There was undoubtedly some big trouble at the company, incriminating documents had been destroyed, and the CFO was involved!  The more the President denied that there was anything wrong, the more convinced the rumor-mongers were that there was.  The business media were now generally alerted, and the stock started to drop.  In five trading days it was down 27%, and the CFO was still not back.

    The company was buying back its stock on the open market, and the President told the inquiring media that the company was merely supporting its stock in the face of false rumors.  No insiders had sold, he pointed out.  But that didn’t satisfy the short-sellers or those who were dumping out of fear.

    The SEC asked the company for an explanation for the sudden drop in the stock, and the President replied truthfully that it was because of false rumors, nothing more.

    Normally, when a company intends to buy back a large amount of its shares for cancellation, it is supposed to make what is called a “normal course issuer bid.”  But we hadn’t done that.  So if we cancelled the shares as we bought them, the SEC might have something to say about it later.  My suggestion to the President was that we simply return the shares to the treasury and sit on them.  Then after a year or so, we could cancel them because we didn’t need them.  What could the SEC say?  Nothing.

    The mystery of the shredding truck and the absent CFO might never be explained to anyone’s satisfaction, but eventually the market would cease to care about it, and the stock would recover.   After all, there was no change in the company’s business.  The SEC could sniff the air all they wanted, but they would have nothing on us,  because nobody had told any lies or violated any securities regulations.

    The company saved millions of dollars on all the shares it bought back and eventually cancelled.  But did I get a big bonus for my brilliant scheme?  “Oh, no, we couldn’t do that,” said the President.  “It might arouse suspicion.  However, I will take you to dinner.”

    Copyright@ 2008, by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.  E-mail: crad166@yahoo.com

Cow Five

August 6, 2008

    When you work at Snuj, there’s no fixed timetable for anything.  There are no clocks or calendars.  If you want something, you have to do something to get it.  This kind of purity doesn’t exist anywhere else.

    I made up my mind to go see Ludwig.  Ludwig was black and didn’t speak with any identifiable accent.  It was an unwritten rule at Snuj that you never asked Ludwig about his background.

    “I want Cow Five,” I said to Ludwig.

    He gave me an over-long stare before reaching for the lower drawer of his old wooden desk.  He took out a magazine and handed it to me.  “Now you go to the men’s room and do what you have to do, understand?”

    “Yes.”

    “You just bring back the cover.  The rest can go in the waste basket, understand?”

    “Yes.”

    I took the magazine to the men’s room and…I did what I had to do. I brought back the cover.  “The cover is still clean,” I said.

    “We don’t care about that,” he replied, taking it from me.  He opened another drawer and took out a brown envelope, which was sealed.  “Now you go to Zeugma and ask for Nine Special Ray.”

    “Nine Special Ray,” I repeated.

    “Yes.  Now go.”

    I went downstairs, pausing at the window in the stairwell to look at the Unerectable Dome across the street, a structure that was perpetually collapsing and being rebuilt.

    I walked into Zeugma, where Carney, the albino, sat in a cubicle very much like a subway toll booth, with the added feature of a bell on the counter.  I held out the brown envelope to him.

    “Ring the bell if you want service,” he said condescendingly.  I rang the bell.  “What do you want?” he asked.

    “I want Nine Special Ray.”

    He snatched the brown envelope out of my hand, opened it neatly with a letter opener, and peered inside briefly, frowning.  Then he took a small ledger from a cubbyhole, opened it, and flipped a few pages.  He was still frowning as he scanned a page.  The frown was Carney’s only facial expression.  I wondered if it was a medical condition.  “You do…Solar AB….The string, that is.”

    “Where?”

    “In the Fish Tank, of course.  That way.”  He pointed.

    I went down the hall to a wooden door with faded letters: FISH TANK.  It was unlocked.  It was like a janitor’s closet with a chair.  I sat down.  A tangled mass of strings hung down from a high shelf.  Each one had a tag.  The rectangular tags were Neon, the round ones were Fruit, the triangles were Solar, and so on.  There was another closet called Beggar’s Dream with other tags, but don’t ask me about that.  So I had to look for a Solar AB.  I found one.  I yanked the string, and a key fell down from the shelf.  A gold key.  Irish Knights.  But we had other names for them.

    I went to the other side of the building to what was called the Insensorium, or “Sorry.”  I knocked at the open door.  There were a half dozen guys dressed as leprechauns, all with their feet up on this big table, smoking clay pipes.  “Whut-choo got?” said one, talking like a ghetto black, although he was very pale.

    “I have a Solar AB.”

    “You going for Cow Five?” asked another.

    “Yes, that’s right,” I said firmly.

    The leprechauns chuckled and made some remarks in a dialect only they understood.  Bunch of assholes.  Older guys with no degrees, no technology, just years of seniority.  Not one of them ever saw Cow Two, I’m sure.  The oldest one got up, picked up a large wooden mallet, and stood in front of this large copper plate on the wall.  He struck the plate with much force.  The others went Ooh! and Ahh! with fake reverence.   Then the one who had struck the plate said in a loud ceremonial voice, “Voola One-Two-Three!”

    “On the roof,” someone else explained, although I already knew that.

    The elevator only went to Six.  After that you had to climb this long ladder, which was always greasy and slippery, and the handrail was loose besides.  I came up onto the roof.  It was an asphalt roof that was always too hot in the summer, so the company wisely sprinkled dirt on it, which was guaranteed to make a mess of your shoes.

    There was this large pigeon coop set close to a wall, and set into the wall was a bank of boxes like safe deposit boxes.  There was very little clearance between the coop and the boxes, so you had to squeeze in to get to your box, and it was hard to read the numbers as well.  I managed to find Voola 123 and put my key in, hoping it would work, because very often the leprechauns would give you the wrong box number, and you’d have to go back down, and they would claim it was an honest mistake or you heard them wrong.  Ha, ha.  Very funny.  But fortunately my key fit.  I opened the box and pulled out a small gold brick.  Pretty damned good.  You got a gold brick, that was good.

    I had to take the brick down to Ludwig.  Before I could say a word, he said, “Carmody,” and pointed toward the end of the hall.

    Carmody was dressed in a blue uniform like a bellhop.  He guarded the Gasworks.  There was actually no gas in the Gasworks.  It was just an old traditional name that went back to the time when Snuj was called something else.  Carmody unlocked a metal door and led me down a long gangway to a basement that was poorly-lit and smelled like oil.  There was a lot of low, throbbing machine noise that came from these chambers behind the walls, but you couldn’t actually see the machines. 

    Royster was in charge down there.  I think he lived there because I never actually saw him come to work or leave.  He was supposedly a mechanic, and he was dressed like one.  But rumor had it that he was the one who actually controlled Snuj.  He was said to have the entire 800-page Code Book memorized.

    Carmody said to Royster, “He’s all yours, Sir.”

    “Yes.  Fine,” said Royster.  Carmody went back up the gangway.  Royster said to me, “Come this way, please,” and he led me through a maze of passages.  “Watch your head.  Low ceiling,” he warned me.  We reached an area referred to humorously as the Un-Stable, which smelled like animals.  There was a row of stalls screened individually by canvasses, which were rigged like shower curtains.  He led me to the one at the end.  “This is it.  Congratulations,” he said, shaking hands with me.  Then he left.

    I took a deep breath.  Was this for real, or was it just a dream?  Would this be the happiest moment of my life, or would I be cruelly disappointed?  I pulled the canvas aside, and there it was…Cow Five….It was tied to the wall with a rope and was chewing contentedly on something.  There was a decal on its side like that of a racehorse — a white 5 on a background of green and gold.  I almost couldn’t believe it.

    “Four years of college just so I could stand here now,” I said out loud.  “But it was worth it.”

    “Moooo…” said the cow.

    Copyright@ 2008, by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.  E-mail: crad166@yahoo.com

Ukrainian Chrome Hunger

August 5, 2008

    Ukrainians are hungry for chrome.  Do you know why?  No, not because they want to drive American cars from the Fifties.  They’re hungry for chromium complex supplements — those magical compounds that help metabolize sugar.  Ukrainians are world-famous for eating gooey pastries loaded with sugar.  They say it makes them happy.  Okay, fine with me.  You’d need something to be happy about if you were a Ukrainian.  These peasant slobs live in a loser country symbolized by Chernobyl.  They have no culture.  The Catholics are all bastards (Orthodox not so bad).  They have no identity, everyone hates them, and to the rest of the world their country is just a colored patch on the map with no geographical features.

    Recently I spoke to Dr. Yuri Gorbiuk of the Ukrainian Institute of Nutrition, who told me, “My people are a mess.  Their diet is awful.  So we need lots of chromium.  Some Ukrainians even suck on the metal.  How about sending us lots of free pills?  Come on, be a pal!”

    In their desire to save money on chromium pills, the Ukrainians ordered a shipload of cheap generics from China, which turned out to be bogus, and what do you think happened?  A thousand people died of poisoning.  That’s what happens when state-controlled booze is overpriced.  People try to save money on everything else.

    The government’s latest bright idea is to get our mining companies to explore for chromium in the Ukraine.  That way they can make their own pills. Sure, just go drill holes in the ground and find chromium.  As if it were that simple.  It so happens that there are no primary chromium producers anywhere in the world.  Chromium is a by-product of nickel mining.  They do have some nickel mining, but where is the chromium going?  It’s going into the pockets of corrupt government officials connected to organized crime, that’s where.  The average person always gets screwed.

    The only hope for Ukrainian women is to go to the West and work as strippers.  They look pretty good until they pass 30, then they morph into slabs of fat.  It’s in their genes.  You don’t see slim Ukrainian women over 35, except the girlfriends of gangsters.

    I tried some chromium complex pills for a while, but I couldn’t tell any difference.  The FDA and the Canadians say the stuff is unproven.  It’s merely believed to be an aid in sugar metabolism.  Well, so is hockey.  But you don’t see any Ukrainian hockey players in the NHL, so draw your own conclusions.

    There are some who say just enjoy life.  If you want to eat fattening Ukrainian pastries, go ahead if that’s what you like.  This is an inclusive society, and it’s politically incorrect to ridicule the obese, even if they are miserable sons of bitches.

    If you have some spare chrome from old cars and want to recycle it, just send it to any Ukrainian business in the Yellow Pages, and they will automatically pass it on to their church  to send to some chrome-collection charity in Kiev or Dnepropetrovsk or some other dismal place.  It’ll probably end up in the pocket of some gangster, but that’s not your fault.  You’re doing it because maybe some of that chrome will actually go into pills and help some girl get slim, and then maybe she’ll come over here and be a stripper, and maybe you’ll go see her show, and afterwards you might make a date and get laid.  (Or I might.)

    It’s what you might call a hope, if not a good plan.

    Copyright@ 2008 by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.  E-mail: crad166@yahoo.com

    This is a story about Cornmoko, the Hot Clam from Fort Lee, New Jersey, boys and girls.  But don’t tell your parents about it, or there could be trouble.  And always write the name “Fort Lee” in full; don’t abbreviate it “Ft. Lee.”  It’s disrespectful.  The same goes for “New Jersey.”

    Cornmoko, the Hot Clam from Fort Lee, New Jersey, was a mollusc who was into rubber.  But he was a person because all species are equal.  Therefore, his interest in latex rubber and bondage was automatically validated.

    Cornmoko had this black girlfriend from Hoboken named Lola, and she was a bitch.  Sorry, but that’s what she was.  Let’s tell the truth about other people, okay?  So Cornmoko had to tie her up and whip her because she was such a mouthy black bitch.  She worked as a cashier at the Delite Supermarket, at 420 Washington St.,  in Hoboken, and she was such a goddamned motormouth that a white customer blew a head valve and screamed at her, “Will you shut up, you nigger!”  Then there was a big scene because a white person just called a black person a nigger, which is not allowed, boys and girls, okay?  The owner, who was white, was not sure who was at fault.  If a white customer who shopped there for ten years with no problems suddenly went ballistic, there had to be a reason.  And the owner really didn’t like Lola because he knew she was a motormouth, but he didn’t want to do anything politically incorrect.  Now, by coincidence, he happened to know Lola’s boyfriend, Cornmoko.  They went back a long way together, and the owner looked up to him as a great guy.  So the owner told Cornmoko, “Hey that girlfriend of yours, Lola, sure is a big mouth.  I don’t want to fire her, but I’m just telling you she’s burning some of my customers’ asses.”

    “You did the right thing to call me,” said Cornmoko, who was all too familiar with Lola’s big mouth.  “I’ll straighten her out.”

    That night after they had drinks at a bar, Cornmoko took Lola back to his place and gave her a few slaps, pushed her on the sofa, and tied her up.  “You need to learn some manners, bitch!”

    “Whut-choo-mean, you fried clam?” said Lola.  “Fried clam” was her favorite put-down.

    “I’m gonna teach you about manners in the workplace, that’s what I mean!”  So he pulled down her pants and whipped her black ass, and then he gave her a good butt-fucking.

    So that was one adventure of Cornmoko.  There were some others that I don’t have time to tell you about.  Like, for instance, he caught a drug addict stealing a jar of pickles from a bargain store.  And he returned a man’s wallet after the man dropped it on the subway.  And another time he went into the Hudson River and gave suicide counseling to a contaminated mackerel that didn’t want to live any more.

    Cornmoko is a well-known Hero Clam in New Jersey (some parts), and he is a role model for you.  You should be just like him — firm but fair.  And you should get a $5 bill out of mommy’s purse and send it to me.  (Anything larger than $5, and she’ll probably notice, so just a 5 is okay.)  Just mail it to Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, Greenwin Square RPO, Toronto, Ont., M4W 3S9, Canada.  Don’t tell anyone.

    Howard Johnson’s makes the best fried clams in the world, but I can’t get them here in Canada.  These people are so stupid.  They never even heard of Cornmoko.  He’s a Wonder Clam.  My hero.  And if I bash a certain mouthy black bitch supermarket cashier in the head with a hammer, you’ll understand why, right?

    Copyright@ 2008 by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.  E-mail: crad166@yahoo.com

Ghost Crad

July 30, 2008

    My soul left my body at the time of my choosing — a privilege accorded to some of us reincarnates.  There was a light above me that I was supposed to walk into.  However, I chose not to go.  No one is forced to cross over, you see.  We have free will on all planes.  If a soul chooses to remain on the earth plane, it can.  It becomes a ghost. 

    Some ghosts stay on earth because they are confused and don’t understand that they are dead.  Others have a strong attachment to a particular place.  In my case, I was simply in no hurry to cross over. 

    As I expected, no one came to check on me until my rent was overdue.  (I had always been prompt with the rent.)  My Chinese landlord found my body.  He was upset.  He called his wife and spoke to her in Chinese.  Then he called the police.  My body would eventually be cremated, there being no one to claim it.

    The next day the landlord and his wife came in with a lot of boxes to pack up my belongings.  On my bookshelf, in plain sight, was a large black folder labeled “WILL.”  Impossible to miss.  In it were a copy of my will and instructions to call my lawyer.  The landlord’s wife put it into a box without even noticing what was on it.  Nice lady, but stupid.

    The landlord tried calling a few phone numbers in my telephone-address books, which were a jumble of old and new information, but he could not find any friends or relatives, which I don’t blame him for. 

    My landlords never knew I was a writer, so every form of printed matter was put out with the garbage, including some valuable books and some papers of archival value.  Fortunately, I had long ago transferred almost everything pertaining to my literary career to the university library for safekeeping, but there were nevertheless some items that were thrown out that the library would have wanted.

    My lawyer, Peterson, did not learn of my death for almost a year and then quite by accident.  My will finally got executed, but only after much delay and confusion concerning the transfer of money.

    Once my apartment was emptied, some Chinese workmen came in and replaced the 120-year-old window (something I had asked for and never gotten), laid new carpet, and repainted the walls. 

    I spent my first few days as a ghost wandering up and down Sherbourne St. trying to choke people I didn’t like (mainly white trash druggies and hookers), but it takes a long time to learn how to focus one’s energy to do this. 

    My apartment was rented to a Korean student.  He spoke loudly on the phone and had a high-pitched laugh that I didn’t like, and he cooked smelly food. So I decided to get rid of him.  I was able to do simple things like tipping over small objects in the bathroom.  After a while, he moved out.  I’m not sure whether he was afraid or just annoyed. 

    The next tenant was a black guy I totally disliked at once. I just hated his looks.  I would rap on the walls, which disturbed his sleep several nights in a row.  He was going crazy trying to figure out where the raps were coming from.  Then one night when he was asleep, I managed to open the fridge door.  When he woke up and found it open, he freaked out and moved out right away.

    After him, a plain young girl from the Philippines moved in, and I liked her well enough to leave her alone.  She’s still there.

    Although I lived 22 years in that apartment on Isabella St., I don’t feel bound to it.  So I just wander around, passing invisibly among physical people and not having any meaningful interaction, just as I did when I was alive.  What I would like most is to find some people playing with a Ouija board so I could communicate with them, but Ouija boards are not very popular any more.  Nevertheless, I have a long-term project to go into every dwelling in Toronto, street by street, building by building, until I find someone with a Ouija board.  I have no idea how long that will take.  If I come into your place, don’t worry.  You won’t even know I’m there.  I’ll be in and out in a few seconds. 

    I see other ghosts from time to time, but usually we just pass each other without speaking, which may seem rather odd.  Maybe it’s me.  I was never very social. 

    Overall, ghosthood is an improvement.  I’m not as angry as I used to be.  I don’t have to take pills for my back.  I have no sexual feelings.  I don’t have to eat, drink, or sleep.  I look pretty good, like in my thirties.  And I never get bored.  I can get into any movie for free.

    I think the biggest reason why I’m hanging around on the earth plane is that I want to see my posthumous fame unfold.  And it will.  Believe me.  The university librarians are slowly sifting through all those packages I gave them that were not to be opened until my death.  The university inherited a lot more money than they ever dreamed they’d get from a poor sod who used to stand on the street peddling his own books.  There’s nothing like a six-figure legacy to create some buzz in literary and academic circles.  And my will stipulated that all my copyrights would be automatically relinquished to the public domain.  Some Chinaman will decide to make some money by pirating all my old books — except that it’ll be legal — and there’ll be all these bad translations of Crad Kilodney selling like chop suey all over China.  (Then the Canadian publishers will want to publish me!)

    This is what is commonly referred to as “Immortality.”  For a writer, it’s the only thing worth living for.  But you have to be dead to enjoy it.

    Copyright@ 2008, by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.   E-mail: crad166@yahoo.com

    In the interests of national security, I will call them Edward and Julian Gabacci, although their real names were Leon and Anthony Parducci.

    They were cleaners, but that was just a front they maintained in order to study floors.  They wanted to know everything about floors — what they were, what they did, how they worked, what they were made of, their impact on people, what you could put on them, and so on.  The Gabaccis were research scientists — not in the sense of having formal scientific knowledge, but rather in their all-consuming desire to penetrate the deepest mysteries of the universe.  They were visionaries, wizards, trailblazers, and they would suck the truth out of an enigma like a bilge pump sucking the intestines out of a goat.

    They cleaned the floors of a government building, which housed an organization so secret that it remains unidentified to this day, but one whose intent was as sinister as it was unfathomable.  And it was in this building that Edward and Julian Gabacci stumbled across a terrifying secret, which, if unleashed, could destroy the world, both literally and figuratively.

    It was a container of floor wax that aroused their suspicion.  It was unusual — very unusual.  One might even call it abnormal.  And if that was the case, then it was certainly not ordinary.  There was something in the floor wax itself, something invisible.  Yet, despite being invisible, it was not inert, for it had an effect on whatever floor it was put on.  Edward and Julian could tell through their prodigious powers of the mind that once this particular floor wax was put on any floor, that floor would be physically different in some way.  And someone, somewhere, in this building had to know, too, because they (whoever “they” were) had made a deliberate decision to keep this floor wax in the janitor’s closet, out of sight and inaccessible to anyone who did not have the key to the closet.  But Edward and Julian had the key, and the mysterious “others” knew they had it.  This terrible circumstance was what sealed the fate of the Gabacci brothers.

    Their cousin Otto was the first victim of the “Men In Black” — or should we say, the “Men Formerly In Black,” for they no longer wore black.  They now wore a variety of colors except black, so that no one would know that they were, in fact, the Men In Black.  Otto was found dead in his home, his head still attached to his body, lying face-down.  The coroner stated that it was death by heart attack!  But what did that really mean?  How could Otto have had a heart attack unless something had caused the heart attack — something terrifying enough to scare a man to death?  Or was it  something entirely different?  What made his death even more mysterious was the fact that Otto was not a cleaner like his cousins but a milk truck driver.  He had never even set foot in the building where Edward and Julian worked. 

    After that, events moved quickly, although nothing happened for a week.  Edward and Julian cleaned according to their routine.  But they were being watched by the security cameras on every floor.

    A mysterious black car was now seen parked across the street from the Gabaccis’ house.  It was seen every day, but not according to a predictable timetable, for the Men Formerly In Black were too clever for that.  Edward and Julian knew full well that the presence of the black car was connected to their inadvertent discovery of the unknown invisible component in the floor wax.  That component had to be some kind of chemical compound.  But since it was unknown, could that mean that it came from somewhere beyond?

    The last night that they were seen alive, Edward and Julian tried a daring experiment — one they could not put off any longer if they hoped to learn the truth.  They poured some of the floor wax onto the floor and went over it with a heavy duty floor polisher, which was scientifically designed for that specific purpose.  Soon they would know what they wanted to know, or at least they would begin to know what someone else already knew.  And that someone else — those “others” — saw it all on their security monitors.  They could see what Edward and Julian were doing.  And they understood the threat that they posed.  Edward and Julian could not be allowed to live.  The Men Formerly In Black would see to that.

    Three weeks later, a submerged car was dragged out of the Allegheny River.  Two partially decomposed bodies were found in it.  They carried no identification.  And their fingertips had been burned with acid, so that no prints could be taken.  The police treated the case as an accident — predictably!  No public inquiry would ever be held.  The secret will forever remain a secret.  The world will never know what Edward and Julian Gabacci discovered.

    Maybe it’s better that way.

    Copyright@ 2008 by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.  E-mail: crad166@yahoo.com