Coming in at a few words over 1000 is a story that lives up to it’s name: http://www.chekhovshorts.com/stories/006.html
I feel we’re not getting Chekhov at his top form here. He is a 22 year old medical student writing a several quick stories in a popular Russian magazine called Oskolki (Fragments) to pay for school and support his family. In today’s reading we have the case of the obsessed apologist. The lowly civil servant (whose name is similar to worm) will stop at nothing to make sure that his apology to a “splattered” general is understood, even if it means the death of him. Punchline! There was something in this story that reminded me of Nikolia Gogol’s The Overcoat, (a meager civil obsessed with something that brings about his demise) but only if you squint really hard after several shots of vodka.
Obsessed apologist indeed. The anxiety felt by the main character after having “splattered” a general fuels a obsessive need to express an apology. His persistence is his only endearing quality and we can assume that he is as diligent in his job as a government clerk. I felt ashamed for the clerk but ultimately not remorseful of his death. My mind wandered from the main storyline as I invented offenses committed by the other petitioners waiting outside the general’s office. That would make for an enjoyable sequel…the realization that the poor general somehow attracts insults and stupidity.