I was having lunch with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi at Opera Plaza Sushi in San Francisco about six months ago, and she said to me, “Every so often, I need to get away from it all.  I want to go where nobody knows me, where I can relax and have a change of scenery.  So I go to Filadelfia, Paraguay.  It’s a wonderful place!  You should go.”  So I did.

    Filadelfia is still very much off the beaten track.  Almost all Paraguay tourism is concentrated in the capital, Asuncion, and I certainly won’t knock it.  It’s a great place to buy luxury goods cheap (because they are smuggled in), and the hookers are hot.  But Asuncion is not the exotic Paraguay.  To see that, you have to go to Filadelfia.

    There’s only one bus a day between Asuncion and Filadelfia.  It’s an all-day trip, departing in the morning and arriving in the evening, so pack your lunch.  And keep your eyes peeled for celebs in disguise, because more of them are following Nancy Pelosi’s example.

    As you head north from the capital, you’ll see the scenery change from farmland and grassland to the deciduous scrub forest of the vast Chaco Boreal, which makes up the entire western half of Paraguay.  This is a land where cowboys rope steers and shoot rattlesnakes (or vice-versa), where weird desert cacti burst open with hundreds of deadly tarantulas, where people speak the strange Guarani language (which only they can understand), and toothless hags cut the throats of chickens to cast spells on their enemies.  Unknown creatures leave mysterious tracks in the sand, homosexuals are hanged from gibbets, rowdy men indulge in eye-gouging for sport, and packs of wild dogs howl under the full moon.   So, it’s kind of different.

    When you arrive at the bus depot, you’ll be aware immediately of the German influence that governs the whole town of Filadelfia.  The depot is designed in the Sonntags Geschlossen style of architecture, which was so favored by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, and which finds its finest recapitulation in the Greyhound Bus station in Sudbury, Ontario.  In front of the Filadelfia bus depot, which is (not surprisingly) located on the Avenue Hindenburg, you will see the only statue of Fred Astaire in the world.  Astaire was actually German (born Fred Austerlitz), and his father was born in Linz, Austria, not far from Hitler’s birthplace in Braunau am Inn.  The two families were acquainted, in fact.

    An old bus marked “Westin Filadelfia” is ready and waiting to take new visitors to the only hotel in town.  Hotel Manager Michael Czarcinski (not related to Kazimierz Czarcinski, who opened the first ear wax clinic in Poland, in the city of Cracow, in 1959) personally greets every new guest.  The hotel is never full enough to make him happy, and he is the town’s number one tourism booster.  “We’re not actually affiliated with the Westin hotel chain,” he admits.  “I just stole their name for the hell of it.  I mean, what can they do to me?”  He hints slyly with a wink that he has good enough connections in the capital that no one would ever be able to give him any trouble.

    The Westin Filadelfia is not a bad place.  Quite cheap — only $35 a night.  There’s no TV or air-conditioning, but there are flush toilets, and the maid service is diligent.  (For a few dollars, the maid will tuck you in at night, if you get my meaning.)  The furniture is of high quality.  It’s made locally by the large German Mennonite community that dominates life in Filadelfia.

    The Mennonites started arriving in the 1920’s and built themselves a fine settlement, which is on the outskirts of town.  They live communally, and their economy is based on farming and handicrafts.  Another influx of German immigrants followed in the 40’s, and a lot of them are still alive in their eighties and nineties.  So, Filadelfia is very much a German town in every respect.  The only other significant population is the local  indians, the Guarani, who mostly work as servants or as street vendors living modestly off the tourist trade.

    Werner’s Tavern is open late for new arrivals wanting a good dinner, and it’s all good German food, washed down with the local beer, Fila, which is brewed by the Mennonites.  Werner’s is really the only place to hang out in Filadelfia.  Werner Missgeburt, the owner, is a big, jovial fellow who tends the bar and likes to laugh and tell coarse jokes.  He likes to say that he never has to throw anyone out of his establishment, because it’s easier to let them stay and die of old age.

    Werner’s is cheerfully decorated with Nazi war memorabilia, including a half-size replica of a Stuka dive bomber.  This is where the old Germans gather every night to sing those good old patriotic songs of the Third Reich — although they all insist they were never members of the Nazi party or involved in any atrocities.

    Former President General Alberto Stroessner used to come up to Filadelfia occasionally and drink beer with the Germans.  They all remember him as a good friend, and there are plenty of framed pictures on the walls of the tavern to prove it.  “All the Guarani girls flirted with him,” says Werner.  “And he had his pick of them.”

    The Guarani women are actually quite lovely for indians.  They have big breasts and make money posing bare-breasted with tourists for photos.  It’s actually a pretense.  They don’t normally go bare-breasted, but the tourists assume they do and routinely pay $5 to be photographed next to a half-naked woman with big knockers.  (This is the sort of free-enterprising initiative Canadian indians could learn from, except that they’re all so seedy-looking no one would want to photograph them — with or without their clothes.) 

    The Guarani also have a fake festival for tourists called the Beer Festival, which takes place several times a year.  The highlight is the beer bottle dance, in which a woman balances a stack of ten beer bottles on top of her head — one on top of the other!  Of course, they’re attached to each other, but it’s still an amazing balancing act.  Indian musicians also play bogus indian music, and vendors sell beans and rice, as well as a stew made with capybara, which is a giant rat.  (I didn’t get to try it, but the Krauts said it was pretty good if you have plenty of beer to wash it down with.)

    As I mentioned earlier, celebrities have occasionally been seen in Filadelfia.  They pretend to be ordinary tourists and usually go unrecognized since there’s no TV.  Jack Black, Teri Hatcher, Cindy Crawford, Bono, Peter Tork, and Pete Wentz have all been spotted in the past year, according to Michael Czarcinski.  But they all register under false names, so there’s no proof on paper.

    So what would attract such people to Filadelfia?  There isn’t much to do.  “It’s just a different sort of place,” says the hotel manager.  “They can hang out with the Germans and drink beer and eat schnitzel.  They can go riding on a horse.  Or they can rent a gun and go outside the town and do some shooting, although there’s nothing out there you’d want to stuff and put over your mantel.”

    Czarcinski has a brainstorm for a tourist attraction, however — a sort of theme resort set up like a concentration camp.  “You come for a week, let’s say, and you have to sleep on a bare pallet and live on starvation rations.  They put you to work doing something arduous and beat you if you don’t cooperate.  And there would be a fake gas chamber — just a lot of smoke, that’s all.  We could even make things kinky by tying the women to racks in their bras and panties and whipping them.  But the Mennonites are against it, and they have the most power around here.”

    The Westin has some mysterious permanent residents, who occupy the top floor.  I was told they were ex-Mennonites who left the community and fell in with the old Krauts.  They have laptops and wireless Internet in their rooms, and they do things with money, but they won’t say exactly what or for whom.  So I suspect there is some sort of deep, dark secret in Filadelfia the world doesn’t know about.

    One of the old Krauts in the clique at Werner’s claims to have participated in a secret Nazi polar expedition in 1938-39.  He was an 18-year-old seaman aboard the research ship Schwabenland, commanded by Capt. Alfred Kothas.  The expedition explored parts of Antarctica and brought back valuable scientific information.  He showed me a naval patch with the words “Deutsche Antarktische Expedition” and the outline of Antarctica with a flag marking a region called “Neu-Schwabenland.”  The Schwabenland carried two flying boats called the “Boreas” and the “Passat.”

    Much to my delight, another Canadian writer arrived during my stay in Filadelfia.  Lorette Luzajic, of Toronto, was on a promotional tour for her new book, Weird Monologues for a Rainy Life (irreverent ramblings from the end of the world).  The hotel manager had invited her up from Asuncion in the hope of injecting some culture into Filadelfia, as well as promoting the place for tourism.  However, he had conveniently neglected to tell her that there was no bookstore or library in town.  But everything worked out fine anyway.  When she went over to Werner’s and the old Krauts found out she was of German ancestry, she immediately became everyone’s “girlfriend.”  All the old buzzards took turns having her sit on their laps, and they all told her how beautiful she was and treated her like a goddess.  She sold every copy of her book that she had brought with her and wished she had brought more.  (Find out more about Lorette and her book at www.thegirlcanwrite.net.) 

    Filadelfia has a sister city in the U.S.  (Would that be Philadelphia, by any chance?)  You guessed it!  Mayor Michael Nutter told me, “We don’t have no Paraguanians here in Philly, but they’re welcome to come over, as long as they pay their own way.  We’ll take ’em out for some good Philly steak sandwiches.”  This arrangement was made by Michael Czarcinski, of course, in the hope of stimulating tourism.  He told me, “When you publish your article, the tourists will really start pouring in.  Then maybe I’ll have enough clout to push that concentration camp idea through.”  Okay, good luck with that!

    Recommended vaccinations: Rinderpest, Bowen Hutterite Syndrome, Chombley wart virus.

    Copyright@ 2009 by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.  E-mail: crad166@yahoo.com


    Somalia was created by the union of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland, which were granted independence in 1960.  Today, nearly a half century later, it is a showcase for what the modern Negro can do with his own country once freed from the shackles of European colonialism.  And nowhere is this achievement more aptly demonstrated than in the capital city, Mogadishu.

    Civility, refinement, peace, order, safety, courtesy, and cleanliness: these are the qualities that set Mogadishu apart from most other capital cities.  The natural beauty of the sea, the sand, and the surrounding countryside combine with the calm atmosphere of its pretty, tree-lined streets and the graciousness of its people to make it just the place where you can go to decompress, recharge, and feel human again.

    You can choose from numerous little hotels that are cheap and very basic in their amenities, or you can splurge and enjoy the luxuries afforded by the Park Hyatt Mogadishu, which overlooks a harbor usually full of multi-colored sailboats and yachts.  Manager Paul Verciglio runs a highly efficient establishment with a cadre of bellhops resplendent in their original Versace uniforms of emerald green with gold buttons.  You will find fresh flowers (corpse lily, dragon arum, Stapelia, and Huernia) in your room, as well as a little fridge with wine and cakes and a bar stocked with miniatures.

    “It’s a good life in Mogadishu,” says Paul with a contented sigh.  “Much more peaceful than the big cities in Italy, with all their violence and social unrest.  In fact, it’s an extraordinarily quiet city.  At night you will only hear the gently pounding surf and the cuckoos calling to each other.  By day, if you go downtown, you won’t even hear a radio playing loud or a car horn.”

    Another reason for the peacefulness of the city is the curfew on juveniles under sixteen.  They must be off the street by midnight, otherwise they can count on being picked up by one of the many serious-looking officers clad in stunning scarlet uniforms and white pith helmets designed by Gucci.

    Despite its break from its colonial past, Mogadishu is full of Italian influence in its architecture, food, and fashions.  Along the fashionable Via Jamaal Cabdi-Naasir, you will find shops of Dolce & Gabbana, Georgio Armani, and Roberto Cavalli, fine Italian restaurants, and the Globo Cinema, which runs a lot of spaghetti westerns.  But two Canadians have also opened for business.  Twin fashion designers Dan and Dean Caten, originally from Toronto, have opened a store called Dufarr.  They are the prime movers behind Mogadishu’s nascent annual fashion show, which is rapidly developing into an international event.  And now it is rumored that they have struck a deal to bring Victoria’s Secret to Mogadishu with a show this coming December and the simultaneous launch of a boutique.

    Be sure to have a meal at Pelle’s, an Italian restaurant run by Sebastiano Pelle, former head chef at the prestigious La Pergola in Rome.  The best deal is the “Catch of the Day,” which consists of whatever washed up on the beach that morning, served with no-name pasta and sauce. 

    High culture abounds in Mogadishu — live theater, a Shakespeare Festival, ballet, and the Mogadishu Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Coolio (a Negro), which recently recorded a 12-hour compilation of Songs of the Somali Fishermen for Sony.

    Mogadishu’s large metropolitan area is well-served by a fleet of electric buses, whose operators are splendidly clad in pickle green and mustard yellow uniforms designed by H.J. Heinz of Pittsburgh.  But this is a city that was made for walking, so put on your comfy shoes and just walk.  You’ll notice that there is not a scrap of litter anywhere.  These people are fanatics about clean streets, so don’t litter.  It means a $50 fine. 

    Head for the city’s Central Park, which features spectacular fountains modeled after those found on the palatial estate of Benito Mussolini, and meticulously groomed plots of foxglove, water hemlock, titan arum, and Jimson weed.  It’s the perfect retreat for poets.   Indeed, the Toronto Star once informed its readers that the Somalis were the poets of Africa.  You’ll see them sitting on the benches, scribbling away.  I met Mogadishu’s Poet-in-Residence, Yusef Qanees.  He showed me his latest poem, titled Epiphany:

    The steam from a cup of tea

    sets frogs a-singing

    in the pool of blood behind my typewriter.

    The richest neighborhood is the ultra-chic Wagberi district, where a number of new stately homes have sprouted up.  Robert Pattinson owns one.  Others are owned by Jennifer Aniston, Annie Duke, Michael Vick, and Gene Simmons.

    Mogadishu has joined the growing trend in Third World countries of pairing up with a “sister city” in the U.S.  Mogadishu is now the sister city of Miami, whose Mayor, Manny Diaz, explains why: “Both cities begin with ‘M.’  Both cities are on the ocean.  And both cities consist mostly of minorities.”  Making the arrangements was difficult because Mogadishu tends to be “in and out” of mayors.  Fortunately, a prominent citizen, AbdiRisak Isse, took it upon himself to make the deal, since he manages the Coca Cola bottling plant, a position of even higher prestige than Mayor.

    Mogadishu’s future is indeed bright, thanks to its proximity to vast deposits of silicon dioxide, which one can literally scoop up by the bucketful.  And foreign capital is eager to invest in this grand, exotic city, kissed by the warm waves of the Indian Ocean, where porpoises and sperm whales frolic without a care.

    As I was leaving my hotel, the bellhop, upon learning I lived in Canada, asked, “Do you know Michael Ignatieff?”  I said I didn’t know him personally.  “He looks like a big, stupid dung beetle,” the bellhop continued.  “I want to step on his head and crush it like the dung beetle he is.  I feel so sorry for Canada.”  I tipped him generously.

    Recommended vaccinations: encephalitis, yellow fever, Buerger’s Disease.

    Copyright@ 2009 by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.  E-mail: crad166@yahoo.com

A Knife In The Back

February 19, 2009

    I am a social oddity in that I have a knife sticking out of my back.  It doesn’t hurt, except a little now and then.  The doctors are in agreement that it would be too dangerous to try to remove it.  Left where it is, it is not life-threatening.  It is merely an inconvenience and an embarrassment.

    You want to know how I ended up with a knife in my back.  Who put it there, and why?  I’m afraid I can’t explain it very well.  It happened in high school.  I was in a crowded hallway, and suddenly I felt a pain in my back.  I turned around, and this guy I didn’t know was walking away quickly.  It might have been him, but I couldn’t be sure.  I was confused.  Nobody around me said or did anything.  It was as if they hadn’t noticed.  I couldn’t reach behind my back to feel what was hurting me.  I asked a girl what was on my back, and she said, “Oh, my God! Go to the nurse’s office!”

    The nurse was not allowed to do anything, so I was sent to the hospital by ambulance.  The doctors took an X-ray and sent me home, with the knife still in my back. 

    The police came to my house, but I was not able to furnish a description of the person who did it.  And there were no witnesses!

    My mother was very upset because having a knife in my back might hurt my college application, and she went to the school to complain, but nothing happened.  My father was habitually drunk and never said a word about it — ever.

    So there I was with a knife in my back, permanently.

    I sleep on my side, so sleeping wasn’t a problem.  The main problem was how to wear my clothes.  If I tried to wear my clothes over the knife, my back would look like a tent, and I didn’t want that.  So instead, I cut a slit in all my shirts and outerwear for the knife to stick through.  That was better.  Over time, I learned that certain colors and patterns would make the knife “blend in” visually and be less noticeable.

    When I go out, it’s surprising, but very few people say anything about the knife.  Maybe they’re just not paying attention, like the students in the hallway.  Some people laugh because they think it’s a novelty item I bought in a joke store.  Others have said it’s disgusting or in poor taste.  And others have accused me of seeking attention or — still worse — having a self-pitying attitude.  I don’t get into discussions or arguments with people any more.  I’ve found it’s best to keep my mouth shut.

    The other day I went into Holt Renfrew on Bloor St. to shop for a tie.  Within two minutes, a security guard came up to me and said, “I’m sorry, but I have to ask you to leave the store.”

    “What have I done?” I asked.

    “I’m not saying that you’ve done anything, but you have to leave.”

    Well, I never make a scene in public, so I walked out without saying another word.  Then I was standing at the corner of Yonge and Bloor, waiting for the light to change, and someone called me an asshole behind my back.  I didn’t turn around.  He called me an asshole again.  Then the light changed, and I crossed the street without looking back.  This sort of thing doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

    Now, if you’re expecting me to turn this into a moralistic social commentary, forget it.  I don’t have anything wise or profound to say, although others think they have something wise or profound to say to me.  I’ve been told that there are people with knives in their backs, knives in their heads, or even worse conditions, but they still lead happy, productive lives.  I guess that’s possible.  I’ve also been told that it’s all “mind over matter.”  If I obsess about it, then it’s a problem; if I don’t, then it isn’t.  Huh.  And some people have suggested various self-help therapies, such as yoga, Dianetics, or some Chinese thing I can’t pronounce.  But what relevance do any of these things have to me?

    If you had a knife in your back, what would you do?  Tell me.  Actually, I only want to know if you really do have a knife in your back.  If you don’t, then I don’t want your advice.  Can we leave it at that?  Good.  Thank you.

    Copyright@ 2009 by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.  E-mail: crad166@yahoo.com

Gardening For The Disabled

February 4, 2009

    Even if you are, like, totally fucked up and in a wheelchair, you can still garden, okay?  Millions of disabled people assume they can’t, but that’s only because nobody told them how, which is what I intend to do.

    Now, the first thing is to plant seeds.  Wait until after it rains and the ground is soft.  Take a long stick (like a broomstick) and your seeds, and wheel yourself out to the backyard.  Just sort of poke the ground a lot with the stick to break up the dirt, and then throw the seeds.  Then move the dirt around with the stick and try to cover the seeds so the birds don’t eat them.  Another way of planting the seeds is to pour them all over your clothing, then fall off the wheelchair and roll around on the ground.  The seeds should stick to the wet dirt.  Then you can sort of cover them up with dirt and somehow crawl back into your wheelchair.  I don’t know if this actually works, but you can try it.

    The second thing is to tend the garden now and then, like watering it and squashing bugs and stuff.  Of course, the more times you go out, the more chances there are for you to get stuck, and if you live in a neighborhood like mine, nobody pays attention to somebody screaming.  So maybe you should just stay inside and hope for the best.

    The third and last thing is to harvest your vegetables.  (If you planted flowers, that was stupid, because you could have grown them indoors in pots and left them on the window sill.)  Now you have to go out and dig up those vegetables, because you can’t expect other people to feed you forever, right?  Okay, so go out and just try to dig them up.  I don’t know how you’re going to manage a shovel.  Probably you could take one of those claw-like tools (I don’t know what they’re called) and tape it to the end of your long stick and try to yank the vegetables out of the ground. 

    Lincoln’s first Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, was the first notable American to garden from a wheelchair.  Lincoln was not interested in that, so instead he went to a theater and got shot, which was bad.

    Another point to mention, while I think of it, is never wheel yourself near where a movie is being made, because if you have an accident and can’t get up, everyone will think it’s part of the movie, and they’ll just leave you there.

    Being in a wheelchair heightens your other senses, so you have no excuse not to garden.  If you are allegedly disabled but not in a wheelchair, you don’t need this article and should not be begging for sympathy.  You are a social parasite pretending you can’t garden when you can.  You don’t deserve that disability pension, but your crooked doctor wrote a letter for you, and now Joe Taxpayer is stuck.

    For those others to whom the above criticism does not pertain, I hope I have helped you improve your life as a disabled person in some small way.

    Copyright@ 2009 by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.  E-mail: crad166@yahoo.com

    So, you’re going to have a piece of furniture reupholstered, are you?  I’ll bet it’s your sofa, isn’t it?  It is?  Ha, I knew it!  How did I know?  We writers are practically psychic, that’s how I know.  It’s a professional talent, you might say — something acquired after many years of studying people.  Why, I can look into a person’s eyes and see his whole living room.  I’m seeing your living room right now, as a matter of fact.  What a mess!  Don’t you ever clean?  Open a window!  It stinks in here!  I can tell just by looking at your living room that you’re headed for disaster unless I save you.  What do I mean?  Why, just this: you are about to make one of the most important decisions of your life.  You have to choose an upholsterer!

    What difference does it make?  Listen, would you let just anybody pack your parachute?  I should hope not!  You don’t take chances when it comes to reupholstering a piece of furniture either.  You and your family may be sitting on it the rest of your lives (especially if you’re on welfare).

    Now let me show you the way.  Follow me and be safe.  Go your own way and step on a land mine.  Get my drift?  Good.

    Let us open the Yellow Pages and look under “Upholsterers.”  There are many to choose from, but I see red flags all over the place.  Keep a sharp eye out for listings like these:

    Acme Upholstery.  No street address given.  And why not?  Because they move around from place to place!  It’s a fly-by-night operation, don’t you see?  This is the sort of outfit that will lure a person to a fake address and then beat him and rob him!  They don’t pay their bills or their rent either, I’m sure of that.

    Joe Giganto Upholstery.  Never mind him.  He has a fat name.  You don’t want a fat upholsterer, do you?  He’s probably connected to the Mafia as well.

    Metro School of Upholstery.  What do we have here?  I’ll tell you: a bunch of slovenly immigrants who came here without any trade or education, and they think they can be upholsterers.  Are you going to trust a bunch of students?  You’ll be the guinea pig.  They’ll make their mistakes on your sofa.  “Oh, excuse us, please, we are just learning!” 

    Sam’s Upholstery, 443 Shuter St.   Bad neighborhood.  Stay away.  Let somebody who isn’t reading this go and get his throat cut.

    Tim & Damien, Fine Upholsterers.  A couple of homos, for sure.  Too prissy, too fussy, too expensive.  (And don’t rush them!  Upholstery is an art form!  It takes time!)

    Ilie Romanescu.  Gypsy.  Forget it.  Your sofa will come back with bedbugs in it.

    Wong Upholstery and Restoration.  NO CHINESE UPHOLSTERERS, OKAY?  Shoddy workmanship, cheap or even dangerous materials, and they put their garbage in the upholstery, figuring no one will ever know.  Some of them are abortionists as  well.

    Heinrich Zimmler.  Ad says, “In Business Since 1950.”  This guy’s a former Nazi concentration camp guard.  Trust me.  I used to do apartment-locating for Nazi war criminals. 

    Ram Upholstery.  Ad says, “Next door to Ram Bakery.”  I get it.  The upholstery shop is sharing the same building with the bakery.  These guys are Wogs, and their Indian bakery is barely paying the rent, so they’re trying to do a little upholstery on the side.  NO WOG UPHOLSTERERS, OKAY?

    All the others pass the first cut.

    Now you have to go visiting.  Don’t call first.  Pretend you were just walking in the neighborhood, saw the sign, and dropped in.  This way you catch them as they really are.  Look the place over carefully.  You want to see a busy shop, good lighting, good ventilation, a water cooler, a calendar, a sign that says “Fire Exit,” the business license prominently displayed, decals for major credit cards, and a few awards of some sort in frames mounted on the wall.  Workers must not look stoned.  Elaborate tattoos are bad.  No sneakers.  No earrings.  No women.  (This is a man’s trade.)  Classical music playing in the background is good; hip-hop is bad.  How does the place smell?  It should have normal upholstery smells.  Any weird smells and you should probably walk out.  (The clincher is the absence of pets in the shop.  Animals won’t stay where it doesn’t smell right.)  Is the boss single or married?  Never trust a single upholsterer.  There have been cases of serial killers who were upholsterers, and they were all single.  And how do you think they disposed of their victims?  They cut them up into small pieces and stuffed them into people’s furniture!

    Picking the wrong upholsterer can lead to a tragic outcome, as Mr. G. Wilson of 73 The Bridle Path, Toronto, can attest: “I came home from work to find my wife raped and murdered, my valuables stolen, and my house wrecked.  To add insult to injury, my reupholstered sofa was returned with scratches on it, the workmanship was poor, and the bill was far above the original estimate.”

    Such upholstery tragedies often go unreported in the media because the families are too ashamed to talk about them.  But they do happen — far too often.  I asked Toronto Police Chief William Blair about the problem of bad upholsterers.  Here’s what he said: “It’s certainly a sad state of affairs when a minority of upholsterers do bad things that make the whole profession look bad, which it isn’t.  Someday these bad characters will learn that it’s wrong to kill their customers and cheat them and steal from them.  I wish there were some way we could get that message across to them.  I’m not sure what we can do.  I just think somebody should do something to stop it.”

    Until somebody does put a stop to it, you, the consumer, are your own first (and last) line of defense.  Go ahead and reupholster that sofa if you have to.  (If you just suffer with it in its present state, the evildoers win.)  But for God’s sake, take heed of everything I’ve written, and keep your wits about you!

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

    Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the sixteenth installment of our interview series, “Extreme Writers,”  sponsored by the Arts Council of Moose River and by Garbanzo Waste Disposal, where “we treat you and your junk with equal respect.”

    This evening’s guest author is Crad Kilodney.  He will be interviewed by Ms. Agraka X. Pniu, editor of the Knerpie Literary Review.  Ms. Pniu, please begin.

Interviewer:  Mr. Kilodney, where do you get your ideas?

Kilodney:  My ideas?…I…uh…well…I really don’t know how to answer that.

Int.:  How long does it take you to write a book?

K.:  How long?…Well, I…I really couldn’t say.

Int.:  Which is your best book and your worst book?

K.:  Oh…uh…I…don’t know…I…

Int.:  How do you deal with rejection?

K.:  Rejection…I…uh…I suppose I just…carry on.

Int.:  Why haven’t any big publishers published you?

K.:  Uh…I…I couldn’t give you an answer, I’m afraid.

Int.:  Why do you think you have any talent?

K.:  Uh…uh…I have no answer for that…I’m sorry.

Int.:  Don’t you think you would have done better if you had majored in English in college, instead of something useless like astronomy?

K.:  Well…I’ll never know.

Int.:  One critic described your writing as “an almost random assemblage of words and sentences, devoid of meaning and integrity.”  Is that true?

K.:  Oh…uh…I…I hope not.

Int.:  Does the writer have a responsibility to uplift society, or is it all right just to be in it for the money?

K.:  I…I’m afraid I’m at a loss to answer that.

Int.:  You live off the stock market these days.  Doesn’t that negate your entire literary career?

K.:  Well…I have to support myself….Sorry about that.

Int.:  What awards have you won?

K.:  Oh…I haven’t won any, I’m afraid.

Int.:  If you had to live your life over, what would you do different?

K.:  I don’t know…I…really couldn’t say.

Int.:  If you had to be an animal, what kind would you want to be?

K.:  Animal?…Animal…I…I never thought about it…I don’t know.

Int.:  How exactly do you write?

K.:  I…uh…I write with a pen…and paper.

Int.:  Why don’t you get a computer?

K.:  I don’t know computers.

Int.:  Why aren’t you more famous?

K.:  Well…I…I don’t know.

Int.:  Who is your favorite movie star?

K.:  I don’t know…I…I’m not sure.

Int.:  Do you have any pets?

K.:  Pets?…No…no pets.

Int.:  What do you watch on television?

K.:   Television?…Television…Not much….Maybe the weather channel.

Int.:  What would be a good epitaph for your gravestone?

K.:  Oh, god…oh….I…I…I’m feeling faint.

Int.:  “I’m feeling faint”?  That’s rather clever.  I like it.  And I have no further questions, so thank you, Crad Kilodney.

K.:  Oh…yes…you’re welcome.

    This concludes the evening’s activities.  I want to thank Crad Kilodney and Ms. Agraka X. Pniu for a truly scintillating and memorable interview.  Next week, our guest author will be Farouk al-Jawali, author of Herbs of Agony.  He will be interviewed by Prof. Ruta Ghaoutsi-Habib of Munger College.

    Please leave in an orderly fashion through the back door, and be careful exiting the parking lot, as we have no liability insurance.  Thank you and good night.


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