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Today, I am going to listen to a radio play called The Jewels of Kali from The Hall of Fantasy! Once upon a time in my little youth, I watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. And lo! there was Kali and I was like, "yay religious representation in a mainstream movie!," but I didn’t actually say that because I was like 8 or something—but then someone got his heart squooshed and people were eating monkey brains and everyone was like, "oh my god do you eat monkey brains too?" and I was like, "what the fuck Indiana Jones!" Years later, I am fascinated with how people are fascinated with Kali. My illustrious acquaintance wanted to know why Jesus never appears in fantasy stories like Kali and various "exotic" deities do, which is such a racist thing to say, I can’t even. I apologise for my racist friend and while I will not actually cut ties with him over this, I will definitely speak to him a lot less and gaze coldly but meaningfully at him from time to time, to really drive the message home.

Ok, let’s get this started because no one is here right now, and it will be so embarrassing for me if someone heard me listening to this. Take it away, Kali!

The Jewels of Kali from The Hall of Fantasy (June 1953)

We are going on a trip into the supernatural! With some dude!

Someone is screaming now

Something has happened to Sheldon!

Who is Sheldon!

Sheldon is dead rip Sheldon

Now some other dude, probably not Sheldon, is saying something to Kali

He’s using that weird inflection people resort to when dealing with non-English things. Like saying peace they shall not have

One by one shall they die

Upon my head shall be shame if come in right now someone verily verily

Someone just said KAAAALEEEEEE like really I’m not even kidding

Dramatic organ playing. I love me some dramatic organ playing. And when gongs go off for no reason

Now some dude (so many dudes in this story wow!) is saying some other dude called George? Idk, anyway he invited them to a cabin on the lake. This is not so interesting

So the dude who is not George is saying that Elaine and him knew Kettridge was going to be there

Who is Elaine!

Who is Kettridge!

Who is the dude who is not George!

Kettridge apparently went to India and now I guess he’s called everyone over to see his vacay pics

Kettridge in an auto!

Kettridge beside an auto!

Kettridge in front of an auto!

Kettridge and the auto driver!

Anyway they are headed to the cabin now

The Storm of Incredible Coincidence looms darkly above them

I don’t think you can write a story like this without including a storm that looms darkly above everything, I think something happens to you if you don’t

So this dude, like the first one, not Sheldon who is dead but the other guy, the one who is not George, is Lloyd. In case anyone was interested

Lloyd has met Kettridge once. And yet he is tootling down with Elaine under the dark bosom of an impending storm to see dude’s India pics

It must have been a first meeting fraught with emotion

Lloyd doubts if Kettridge will remember him.

This should be a fun get-together

Kettridge was part of an expedition like the one that found the tomb of King Tutankhamen but this one was in India so it’s different

What if white dudes back in the day went to India and other places to just hang out and not bother anything

Well we wouldn’t have this great radio program. Or colonialism. And who doesn’t like colonialism!

Ok it seems like members of the expedition have been dying off and now there are only two people left.

Maybe it was all that Indian food! Or the lack of toilets! HAHAHAHAHAHA

God, that’s funny.

So glad I was able to work those in

Some say everyone’s dying because a curse is following this expedition

How come curses always follow these expeditions and not rabbits? Or lemmings. Or large pieces of fruit

Like I think it would be super interesting if an expedition to a foreign land was relentlessly pursued by a large melon

The storm of incredible coincidence has broken and a dude is saying they apparently are going to meet Death up there in the cabin. I think we can all agree that a great time is going to be had by all

They have arrived at the cabin and look! It’s George! HAI GEORGE!

The dudes are making plans to go fishing. And they are having coffee. Like that previous thing, this is also not that interesting

Kettridge apparently believes in Kali’s curse and that everyone who was in the lost temple is going to die

What is a lost temple anyway? Who lost it? And if they found it does it mean it’s still lost? Or no?

SO MANY QUESTIONS

Something just howled I think so a dog

Apparently there is a curse on anyone who defiles the lost temple of Kali. WELL DON’T DEFILE IT THEN GOSH

They took Kali’s jewels and are like yeah nbd wtf

Someone said KAAAAALEEEE again

Is it supposed to be funny when they do that?

No sry that sound was apparently a “dog out in the rain”

I think Kettridge has finally arrived BE INTERESTING KETTRIDGE

Elaine quietly said that she didn’t think that sound was a dog and Lloyd said calm down, calm down DON’T GET HYSTERICAL ELAINE GOSH

So this one another guy died and now only Kettridge is left from the expedition BAI KETTRIDGE

The other guy, the one another one who died just now, gave Kettridge his share of the jewels because he thought maybe that way he wouldn’t die

Seems like a dick move no?

It’s also a dick move to steal jewels from temples, just sayin

Again that fellow shouting KAAAALEEEE wtf KALI ISN’T HERE SHE WENT HOME

Kettridge says he’ll probably be dead in the next few hours. Good to know!

Kettridge is now going to tell us everything that happened

I am scared

Now I’m bored

The lost temple is apparently sitting in the centre of a valley

How can it be lost if it’s bang in the middle of a hecking valley

Again with this fellow—KALI ISN’T HERE

What if he’s actually saying Molly? Or Ollie?

“We took the jewels and left the temple” DON’T DO THAT SHIT WTF

“All of us felt that we’d done something wrong” THAT’S BECAUSE YOU DID DO SOMETHING WRONG OMG

Oh this is where Sheldon dies HAI SHELDON BAI SHELDON

So there was an imprint of a rope around the necks of all the dudes that died

Someone said something that sounded like... Fancyguy’s rope?

It probably isn’t Fancyguy

It should be Fancyguy obviously

So Kettridge feels Kali worshippers and/or Kali are chasing him ARE WE SUPPOSED TO FEEL BAD FOR YOU

This guy shouting Ollie all the time is super annoying wow

Oh that’s apparently the cry of the priests of Kali! Who knew!

White people are always being terrorised by things like this LEAVE WHITE PEOPLE ALONE

Ok I think they are going outside now because that seems like the smart thing to do

They saw someone!

No one’s there!

They found some rope!

It’s a Fancyguys rope!

Feel like I should try and find out what that actually is

Google wants to know if I mean Fan Cigars

It’s the sacrificial rope of the priests of Kali!

WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN

Now they have seen a statue of a woman with... forearms?

Four arms! sry

Now a lady is saying Kali comes for you

Is it Elaine? HAI ELAINE

They have decided to get to the cars and run away

Kettridge pulled a gun on them and said no you’re all staying with me wtf Kettridge

Someone’s knocking on the door now. Guess it’s Kali

Woah did he just shoot someone?

No he simply shot for fun I think

They have agreed to stay with Kettridge so he doesn’t die alone

Is it weird that this guy is holding people at gunpoint so that he doesn’t die alone at the hands of Kali and/or Kali worshippers?

What am I even saying

They just called Kali the thing—THAT’S NOT VERY NICE

“It’s outside the door.”

“It’s stopped.”

Super rude to keep referring to Kali as ‘it’ imho

Please kill someone so this can be over

Finally.

Oh I’m not even going to recap what they are saying now

What the actual heck

In Conclusion

Despite feeling “that way” about “these kinds” of shows, there have been a few that I enjoyed like anything because let’s face it, sometimes stories like this are just more fun than they are problematic. This was not one of those shows. Also super disappointed that there were no ads to encourage me to smoke or polish my floor.

Bai.



Kuzhali Manickavel's collections ‘Things We Found During the Autopsy’, 'Insects Are Just like You and Me except Some of Them Have Wings' and chapbooks ‘The Lucy Temerlin Institute for Broken Shapeshifters Guide to Starving Boys’ and ‘Eating Sugar, Telling Lies’ are available from Blaft Publications, Chennai. Her work has also appeared in Granta, Strange Horizons, Agni, Subtropics, Michigan Quarterly Review and DIAGRAM. She used to blog at http://thirdworldghettovampire.blogspot.com/.
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