Find today’s 1841 story here: http://www.chekhovshorts.com/stories/133.html
Today’s story is a black comedy. The premise is simple, a cuckolded husband plans to purchase a gun to kill his wife, her lover, and himself. Chekhov pens some of his most graphic lines as Fyodor enters the gun shop “...but already in imagination he saw three bloodstained corpses, broken skulls, brains oozing from them, the commotion, the crowd of gaping spectators, the post-mortem…” The problem is choosing the right gun for the deed and the longer he thinks about it and endures the salesman’s banter the more changes his mind about the configurations of who he will kill and who he will let live. Chekhov tips his hat to the comedic twists when he names the gun shop “Schmuck and Co.” Schmuck has been a Yiddish dirty word for penis, but has evolved to mean idiot over time. I’m not exactly sure what it meant in Russia in the 1880s, but I’m sure it wasn’t positive. Also, it is funny that when the Smith and Wesson is offered to him, the price is “too dear” for a man wanting to commit murder-suicide. What else is he going to spend with his money after his brains are oozing away? I enjoyed the freshness of this dark comedy, especially since Chekhov has had a few recent suicide stories that ended on down beats.