The writer and the critic

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
This story is about a lonely man, who tries to write to be happy.

Submitted: December 06, 2016

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Submitted: December 06, 2016




A critic let a writer in. The critic was about fifty-two, and he disliked when whoever came to visit him. But he admitted the writer. The writer was about forty, but he looked much older for his age. He wrote unsuccessfully for a long time, and he succeeded only that he was published in some magazines. One friend advised him to order an article in a critic. He was looking for a critic for a long time; the critic who would agree to write a positive article about his works for a modest fee. 

The critic was the tired and sad man. There was half-empty bottle of whiskey on the table in the living room and a cigar smoking in an ashtray. He took the writer to the living-room and sat him down in a chair, and poured two glasses of whiskey. The writer refused, and the critic drank alone. The writer thought then that he oughtn’t to deny so sharply.

“Now he can do not agree”, he thought.

The critic asked him his name. The writer repeated his name, it was strangely and foreign and the last name sounded funny. The critic asked whether he wrote under a pseudonym. The writer said, no. The critic said that he should take another name. The writer did not say anything.

The room was stuffy, and the evening sun lit living-room through the wide window. The writer noticed a picture on the wall - a small house on the beach - and asked what it was. The critic said that it was a gift of his old friend, the artist from Cuba. The writer noted that he had never been at Cuba. The conversation stalled, and the critic offered another drink. The writer agreed at this time.

After the burning beverage he wanted to eat, but it was uncomfortable to ask, and the critic did not offer and he himself drank without a snack, so the writer said nothing. There was a photograph of the critic with his family on the table next to the sofa. The writer said that he has the beautiful wife and kids. The critics agreed, and then added that his wife had left him three years ago. The writer said that he regrets.

The critic sat on the couch and smoked a cigar, forgetting offer the guests who and so felt uncomfortable. The writer also never received visitors, and disliked to make visits, and, in general, was very reserved man. His tight tie squeezed his throat, and he found it hard to breathe, but he was afraid to offend the critic and sat so, didn’t lose his tie.

The critic cleared his throat and finally asked the writer why he had come. The writer told him about a friend's advice. It was very embarrassing to tell it, and he saw that the critic did not like what he did.

"Your friend is a fool," said the critic.

The writer didn’t say anything, and they sat in silence for a while.

Then the critic asked where he had been published. The writer listed names of magazines in which his stories were published. The critic was nodding and listening. Then he said that he had never heard of him. The writer said that this was not surprising.

The critic asked whether he brought something with you. The writer took from his inside jacket pocket some magazine’s clippings with his stories and gave them to the critic. The critic flipped through them, but did not read. Then he pondered, stood up and walked to the window.

"I think I have read something out of this," he said after a pause.

The writer was very happy and asked what it was. The critics did not remember. He just remembered that this story was about a fisherman whose boat sank during a storm, and he became out of work. The writer said that this story was not here, and that he actually had written this, but he had written it a long time ago. Then he was only twenty-five years.

The critic was looking at like a dawn burning over a city. He exhaling a stream of thick smoke on the glass and said that it was a good story.

The writer said that it was criticized. The critic said that these critics were idiots. The writer agreed.

The critic again sat on the couch. He was very tired, and had a headache, and the summer heat always gave him a feeling of the stuffiness. His shirt was completely wet with sweat, and the writer was whole wet in his tweed jacket, which he did not dare to take off.

The critics said that such stories were rarely being printed, but his voice sounded muffled, as if he were speaking from a bottom of a deep well. The writer did not say anything. Then, nerving, he began try to persuade the critic to write an article about it, but he said awkwardly as always he did when he made his thoughts aloud rather than writing down them.

A sweat trickled down his neck and by the collar, and he whole was as if in a hot oil. The critic heard him absently, nodding, but it was clear that his thoughts were somewhere far away.

The writer did not know that the critic’s wife sued him in court, and now this apartment in which they were - belonged to her and that he lost his job and there was not any place to publish his works, because they thought that he was bad. 

© Copyright 2018 John Arnall. All rights reserved.

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