As part of the Deal Me In Short Story Reading Challenge, I turned over another card in my reading deck. It came up clubs. Clubs means Chekhov.
The story I picked at random was “The Chameleon”. That was a lucky choice, because a little humor goes well on a dreary day.
In “The Chameleon”, a police superintendent comes across a man chasing and catching a puppy who has bitten him. The superintendent asks whose dog it is, and the spectators have a difference of opinion about it.
When it seems the dog belongs to the General, the superintendent abuses the man who was bitten. When it seems the dog is a stray, the superintendent sympathizes with the bitten man and promises to strangle the dog.
The dog survives.
The story is small, short, and obvious, but so nicely written it made me laugh. At the same time, I realized that the poor dog’s life depended on its belonging to someone the official wanted to toady up to. So it was scary and sad at the same time it was funny.
That’s Chekhov for ya!
A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: Write about somebody trying to curry favor with the powerful.