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...Read the full recap
Host: I'm surrounded by file after file of ideas, stories, poems, and fragments of novels put away over some 40 years. I go through them constantly and whichever story, poem, or play cries the loudest to be born gets written. But I've often wondered, if someone said to me "Your stories or your life?", would I save my life or my stories? And so "The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone" was born.
John Oatis Kendall: I did it. It's true. I brought him to slaughter. Dudley Stone, you monster of perfection. You sublime writer. Damn your eyes that saw, your soul that knew, your hands that wrote. Shall I confess? Shall I tell you how I enticed him to destruction and cut short a life?
Dudley Stone: Your motive for murdering.
John Oatis Kendall: I have a list.
Dudley Stone: Read it.
John Oatis Kendall: You have written too many books.
Dudley Stone: True.
John Oatis Kendall: All of them excellent.
Dudley Stone: Agreed.
John Oatis Kendall: How do I hate thee? Novels. Not only novels, but poetry. Not only poetry, but essays, huh? Not content with that, stage plays. What more, sure, why not? Screenplays. Lectures on city planning. Transportation. Architecture. Recordings, tapes. Is there no end to you? You are a flood tide, an upheaval, an unnatural force of Nature. You shrink us all to pygmy size. Pissfire ants. No more of it, no more!
Dudley Stone: Now you must hear my reasons for letting you do bloody murder. The grand tour. All the books I promised myself to read but never read. All the symphonies yet to be heard. All the films as yet unseen. Spices waiting to be snuffed. Beef joints, ham hocks, waiting to be devoured. Tapestries yet to be woven. Sculptures to be shaped. Paintings waiting to be painted. Sons and daughters to be advised. Grandchildren to be raised. Far countries to be flown over, to be walked through. Hang gliding yet to be tried. Tides yet unswum to be swum. All of it around me, free and vital. Beckoning. Waiting.
Dudley Stone: Let me share my secret with you, Mr. Kendall. Writing was never life to me. It was mustard and gallweed. Fidgeting words on paper. Experiencing vast depressions of heart and soul. I was spent, finished, ready to fling the past.