The Old Dude's Ticker Art
Works / Short Stories

The Old Dude's Ticker

The Old Dude's Ticker Art



Vietnam veteran Richard Drogan, plagued by supersensitive hearing following his tour of duty there, is driven to the murder of his roommate who he refers to as the Old Dude. The story is an homage to Poe's story The Tell-Tale Heart.

Only publication was for NECON XX Commemorative Volume in 2000, of which only 333 copies were printed.


In the two years after I was married (1971-1972), I sold nearly two dozen stories to various men's magazines.. Most were purchased by Nye Willden, the fiction editor at Cavalier. These stories were important supplements to the meager income I was earning in my two day jobs, one as a high school English teacher and the other as an employee of The New Franklin Laundry, where I washed motel sheets. These were not good times for short horror fiction...but I sold an almost uninterrupted run of mine--no mean feat for an unknown, unagented scribbler from Maine...

Two of them, however, did not sell. Both were pastiches. The first was a modern day revision of Nikolai Gogol's story, "The Ring" (my version was called "The Spear", I think). That one is lost. The second was the one that follows, a crazed revisionist telling of Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart". I thought the idea was a natural: crazed Vietnam vet kills elderly benefactor as a result of post-traumatic stress syndrome. I'm not sure what Nye's problem with it might have been; I loved it, but he shot it back at me with a terse "not for us" note. I gave it a final sad look, then put it in a desk drawer and went on to something else. It stayed in said drawer until rescued by Marsha DeFilippo, who found it in a pile of old manuscripts consigned to a collection of my stuff in the Raymond H. Fogler Library at the University of Maine.

I was tempted to tinker with it--the seventies slang is pretty out of date--but resisted the impulse, deciding to let it be what it was then: partly satire and partly affectionate homage.

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