Charles, the author had just now launched his new book and is eagerly awaiting reviews on his book. So he had created a facebook page exclusively for that.
Just to keep the page moving, he had posted a couple of quotes, dialogues, thoughts from the book and converted into a few facebook posts, the previous day. Today, he was anxiously awaiting the comments from his readers.
“You are the most pathetic writer I have ever read. Your narration skills were so pathetic.” he wrote on his facebook page.
“You are a shitty writer. You write pretty slow. The story moves at a dog’s pace.” he wrote on another post.
He went through the other comments. Most of them from others were good, but the comment from this one reader bothered him.
Charles became furious at the comments, because most of them were personal. At least, he expected some respect from the commentator. But he patiently replied to each and every one of them.
But the reader continuously abused him, belittled him comparing the author’s work to junk.
Then he went to his profile, only to find him write a review on his blog totally bashing the book.
“This man is an annoyance. He is spoiling my new facebook page. And he is spoiling my credibility. It’s time to sort this out. Maybe it’s time to meet him personally.”
So he PM’ed that critic.
The critic responded, then they chatted for a while. They agreed to meet at the author’s place.
That evening, The critic arrived at the author’s place.
“You’re welcome, It’s my pleasure to have you this evening.” said Charles.
“The pleasure is mine.” the critic said.
After exchanging a couple of pleasantries,
“Let’s get down to dining and business. Can we?” said Charles.
The critic nodded and they started having their dinner.
After a few basic questions and discussing their likes and dislikes about different types of food,
“So, do you really don’t like my work?” said Charles.
“No. I don’t. Whatever I wrote on that page are my honest opinions. I hope you aren’t expecting me to change my views just because you are arranging for this dinner.”
“No. I don’t. You can have your opinions. But the only thing that I expect you to do is to delete those comments and pull down your blog post critiquing my book. That’s all I want from you. And it’s strictly business. What do you expect in return?”
“Mr. Charles, I thought your writing was shitty. You seem more shitty than your writing. You want to buy me out and silence my voice. That won’t happen.” said the critic.
“You are insulting me. I am just trying to strike a business deal. That’s how it works in this world. Or at least for me. I bet the offer would be good. Want to hear the deal?”
By now, the critic had finished his dinner.
“No. Mr. Charles. I have had enough. I owe you a dinner at my place. But maybe someday when you start writing real good stuff and also when you are out of your dirty mind. Good bye.” he said and started leaving.
“Is this your final decision?” Charles said.
“Yes, absolutely.” he said.
“Do you want to know what happened to Akilesh?” Charles said.
The critic paused. “The famous critic.”
He thought for a while. “Yeah. He died in a car accident, two years ago. But why are you asking me that?”
“Hmm. It’s related. Let me tell you a little story.”
The critic got a bit curious and waited.
“Once upon a time, there was this writer, always curious to write new things. Maybe, he wasn’t the most prolific writer. But he had good stories to share. Stories that really connected with the people. Then he wrote a story and gave it to 57 publishers. No one entertained his story.” he said and took a pause.
The critic realized that Charles was talking about himself.
“Then finally he got a break. He got a small publisher agree to publish his book. Then he shot to fame. It wasn’t a runaway hit, but it sold a good number of copies. But one guy wasn’t happy with that success. That was Mr. Akilesh. He critiqued me, he ridiculed me, he tore me apart in my facebook page and in his blog. Then the writer got furious. So he wanted to sort him out. So he invited him for dinner.”
The critic listened with intent.
“Then they had dinner. The author tried to talk business with Akilesh. He denied.”
“Then the attacks went personal. Akilesh personally insulted the author. You know, the author is an egoistic chap. He doesn’t like critics. He doesn’t like personal insults.”
“So he took the flower vase and hit Akilesh on his head, instantly rendering him unconscious. Unconscious for life. Then he drove Akilesh’s car and made the entire episode look like an accident.” he said and picked the flower vase in his hand.
The critic’s heart started pounding fast. “No, no. Please don’t. Are you mad? Did you kill him?”
“No, I told you it’s strictly business. I have earned a reputation. I don’t want to get it spoiled by some stupid critic, who have no other work than belittle years of hard work. I will become the number one author, one way or the other.”
Blog post update from the critic:
I tried reading the book for the second time. I believe, I missed out so many things in my first reading. It’s an excellent book. Granted, you might see me as changing my stand. I was a critic. But now, the critic in me is silenced. Or should I say, Charles silenced my critic. Or rather his beautiful and refreshing approach did.
Dear readers, please feel free to comment/critique my stories. It would be of immense help. In case you already don’t know, I am writing this as part of the A to Z short story challenge
Here are the other stories that I have written as part of this challenge :
A – Addiction (A short fiction)
B – Bookmark (A short fiction)
C – Critic (A short fiction)
D – Drip (A short fiction)
E – Escort (A short fiction)
F – Frock (A short fiction)
G – Greed (A short fiction)
H – Hero (A short fiction)
I – Insomnia (A short fiction)
J – Jigsaw (A short fiction)
K – Kick
L – Landline (A short fiction)
M – Minute (A short fiction)
N – Novel (A short fiction)
O – Overtime (A short fiction)
P – Proposal (A short fiction)
Q – Quarter (A short fiction)
R – Revenge (A short fiction)
S – Sunlight (A short fiction)
T – Typewriter (A short fiction)
U – Useless (A short fiction)
V – Vendetta (A short story)
W – Wild (A short fiction)
X – Xylophone (A short fiction)
Y – Yogurt (A short fiction)
Z – Zoo (A short fiction)
Please do take your time to read and drop in your comments. Thanks.