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The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone - Recap

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Famous author Dudley Stone arrives at the premiere signing of his most recent book. He's unaware that a man, John Oatis Kendall, is watching him. Kendall finally takes out a gun and approaches Stone, picking up a book as he goes. He approaches Stone, who recognizes him as a fledgling writer and asks if he wants a signing. Kendall hands him a note saying that he's there to kill him and starts to draw his gun. Stone asks him for a moment and writes in the book, then walks away, Kendall reads what Stone has written: a message saying to come and kill him the next day. Stone hands him a glass of champagne and offers him a toast, and Kendall assures him he'll be dead the next day.

Twenty years later, the members of the Dudley Stone Annual Memorial meet to discuss how Stone disappeared and has been rumored to be seen across the world ever since. They wonder what he might have done if he had lived. Kendall is there, a guest of honor, and says that Stone died 20 years ago, and this year he is there to celebrate Stone's murder. They have no idea what he's talking about, and he asks them to drink to him for destroying a living legend. When they refuse, Kendall drinks to himself and explains that he was 32, a writer who had lost hope, and went to see Stone.

Twenty years ago, one day after the signing, Kendall goes to Stone's home by the beach, takes out his gun, and goes inside. Stone is waiting for him and cheerfully greets him. He invites him in and introduces Kendall to his wife, Sara. They're celebrating Stone's 40th birthday and Stone asks Kendall to make a wish. They talk privately and Stone asks how Kendall plans to eliminate him. Kendall is surprised at his casual attitude but Stone says he doesn't see a threat. He invites Kendall to continue and the man places a gun out on the table. Stone tells him he's been waiting for someone to come to him with murder in their face, and he'll now happily let Kendall kill him.

Stone puts the gun in Kendall's hand and tells him to do it, and Kendall asks why he's so willing. In response, Stone asks why Kendall wants him dead and the frustrated writer explains that Stone has written hundreds of books, poems, essays, and plays. He throws Stone's books on the floor and insists that he's too productive, while he's been unable to do anything in seven years. He admits that he loves Stone's work, but the only way he can achieve any success is to kill Stone before he publishes his next book, rumored to be his best one yet. Sara briefly looks in, interrupting Kendall. Stone says that he's fine and then tells Kendall why he wants to die. He takes him through the house, showing him all the books he wanted to read but never has, all the films he has never had a chance to watch. Stone explains he wants Kendall to die so that he can be reincarnated to a new life to his wife and children. He's tired of being the champion, and wants Kendall to help him.

Stone asks to choose the weapon that will make him dead and Kendall agrees. The writer takes out all of his works to come, all of his notes. He then ushers Kendall out to the nearby cliffside and invites him to throw everything into the ocean. When Kendall hesitates, Stone starts throwing pages and goads Kendall on. Kendall finally goes on and the two of them throw the only copies of all of Stone's works into the water, laughing. When they're done, Stone asks if he's finally dead. Kendall draws the gun, but then admits that he's dead.

In the present, Kendall finishes his story and makes a phone call. At his home, Stone steps away from a party and answers. Kendall tells Stone where he is and asks if he's stayed dead. Stone informs him he has only written stories in his head, but Kendall gives him permission to start writing again. Stone realizes that now that Kendall is a success, Kendall no longer needs him dead. Stone hesitates but Kendall insists and tells him to come alive again. The former writer starts to type, but looks up to see his family in the other room. They look in at him and Stone pauses, and then picks the phone back up. He tells Kendall that he hated writing, and that he was getting worse. If Kendall hadn't killed him, Stone's own writing would have. He thanks Kendall for saving him by protecting his secret, and is grateful that he got out at the top of his career. He asks if Kendall enjoys the company he has, and if he has any young writers. Stone thanks him for the murder and wishes that he could do the same for Kendall.

After Stone hangs up, Kendall goes outside. In his study, Stone types six words and then looks at his wife and goes outside to be with his family. On the paper are the words "The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone.' A wind springs up and blows the page, and all of Stone's papers, into the ocean.

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