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The Offing

by TheGatherer


The Offing

A therapist receives an unusual victim.

The therapist opens the door, and a man comes in, sits in front of him and answers his question.

“What brings me here will certainly upset you, but it shall be done!”

“Say it once and for all, little guy!”

“Okay, listen up. I’m here to kill you.”

The therapist dissolved into laughter.

“You are already! Oh wait… For real?”

“Well, umm… yeah.”

“But…” He bends over the table, and invites the man to do so as well. “Do tell me, mister. What is, say, the reason then?”

“Look, sir. You have been utterly unpleasant with a lotta people. You hardly ever stop in front of the crosswalk, if ever. You evade your taxes — as you can see, there’s a hell lotta people who wanna ditch ya.”

“Hmm and that is your solution? Murdering me?! Couldn’t you all just think of a better way to solve this — I mean, me? Sorry for sticking my nose in this, pal… but don’t you… think it is going — I don’t know — a little too far?”

“Of course! Violent, sadist, as you prefer — but, please, please understand this is the most appropriate — and actually helpful — way.”

The therapist leans back on his chair and lets out a long, deep sigh.

“You know, it’s funny how things went in today, I had a client claiming, in his clear delusion, having been followed by a police officer who was spying on his most secret vices and guiltiest pleasures — ones like singing in the shower and idle chattering with the neighbourhood.

“Then I had one who tried to stop paying. And by the end of the afternoon I had heard from my wife we’d just been burgled. TV, internet, landline, all gone!”

“I see. Not the best day to pass away…”

“Not really, indeed.”

“And then, sir, why not? Death doesn’t mark an appointment in one’s diary, a time or place — unlike your dearest customers. I must say this to you — you’d do a favour to mankind if you…” The therapist watched the gesture tentatively. “Can you understand this?”

“Yeah, yeah…”

“Right! There’s nothing else keeping me here, then.”

The mister stands up and holds out his hand in front of the therapist. The therapist gazes at it with suspicion.

“That’s it?”

“My work here’s done, now. The rest is up to you.”

The man left the room and the therapist sat back in his thoughtful chair. He grabbed his glass of water and drank from it, thinking to himself, “That poor chap came here with just the thought of convincing me to off myself. What a fool!” However, he doesn’t hold that thought for long, as he clutches his throat tight, looks astonishingly to the glass he had just placed on the table and falls right upon the ground.


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254 Reviews


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Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:02 am
Omnom wrote a review...



Yo, Gatherer! Happy Review Day, and a late welcome to YWS! So, a few disclaimers before I begin. First of all, this is all just my opinion. Don't take it too harshly. Second, I review as I read, so if I point out something that is discussed later on, just please excuse it.

The therapist opens the door, and a man comes in, sits in front of him and answers his question.


I'm all about introductions and this is weak. It's straightforward and doesn't really set me in the mood to get interested in the story, which is what introductions should do!

“What brings me here will certainly upset you, but it shall be done!”

“Say it once and for all, little guy!”


This starts out sounding comedic? I don't know if you are intending it to be that way, but it really does. Like, why would the therapist call the man "little guy?"

The man left the room and the therapist sat back in his thoughtful chair. He grabbed his glass of water and drank from it, thinking to himself, “That poor chap came here with just the thought of convincing me to off myself. What a fool!” However, he doesn’t hold that thought for long, as he clutches his throat tight, looks astonishingly to the glass he had just placed on the table and falls right upon the ground.


So this does seem a little comedic even until the end. However, as a mystery, it doesn't hit the mark. There's little suspense and it all seems like a game. So, the man poisoned the glass of the therapist, but upon reading back I see no indication of the man ever doing that. The only time he would be close to the glass is when the therapist and he leans forward on the table. Also, there's not a mention of the glass whatsoever before the ending. A good mystery sets up the feeling of suspense, and while there can be humor, it's humor that's done with a backdrop of tension. In a good mystery, there's also hints to the ending (which with the classics, usually ends in a murder like this one) scattered all throughout the story. That's not the case here. You did not tell us that there was a glass, nor did you give any notion of the man poisoning the cup before-hand. There's no indication of any that this man is trying to kill the therapist other than what he said. In mystery, the actions of people speak much louder than the volumes.

Mystery's hard to do on paper, granted. It's much easier to show mystery on television because there's a lot more senses that can be manipulated than on paper. However, it can be done, it just needs very well thought out writing. This does not seem like a mystery, because there's no mystery behind it. There's very little suspense because there's too much humor in the story.




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Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:55 am
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herbgirl wrote a review...



Hello! herbgirl here for a review!
This was an interesting idea for a story. Just having a person walk up to you and tell you you're better off dead, and they're there to help you with that. I also liked the ending, I felt the abrupt and somewhat unexpected death of the man was a good way to end the story. However, while I liked the idea, I felt you could have communicated it a lot better. The story seemed, to me, extremely light-hearted, too light-hearted for a story where a man is accused of being a terrible person and is then murdered. I suggest giving the therapist more emotion. Add a few of his private thoughts, for example:
-Does he really think he deserves his death?
-What does this man he meets look like, does he instantly think of him as a cold blooded killer?
-Does he brush aside the accusations, thinking they really mean nothing?
-Since he's a therapist, how does that part of his brain react?
I could go on, but I think you get the point. There are a lot of things the therapist could be thinking during this story, and I think you could elaborate on them, and by doing so your idea would become much better developed and turn into a wonderful story!
I also noticed a few strange phrasings, especially during the dialogue. For example, "You are already!" This doesn't make a lot of sense. This statement implies that the therapist was expecting a murderer, just not so soon. There were a few other instances throughout your story similar to this, I would recommend reading through your story again, perhaps imagining the characters as people you know. Would those people ever use expressions like that in a conversation?
Finally, your title bothered me a bit, too. I can understand what it was meant to mean, that somebody was being "offed" as in being killed, but the word "offing" actually means, "the more distant part of the sea in view." You could keep the title, assuming people will understand what it means to you, or you could adjust it to a word or phrase a little more appropriate.
Anyways, sorry if that review sounded a little harsh. It's just that you have a very good idea here, and I don't want the opportunity to make it amazing to be wasted. Good job!
herbgirl




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Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:06 am
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Gardevite wrote a review...



Yooo, Team Mystic!

So I'm just gonna run through this, give my opinions and do a little rap up at the end.

him and answers his question.
The character hasn't been asked a question yet as far as we know. Maybe you meant to say "answer his questions" which makes more sense, but with the singular "question" it makes me think of a singular, specific question that hasn't been asked yet.

ones like singing in the shower and idle chattering with the neighbourhood.

“Then I had one who tried to stop paying. And by the end of the afternoon I had heard from my wife we’d just been burgled. TV, internet, landline, all gone!”
Not sure if this is grammatically correct. You never closed your first quotation before beginning a new one.

his thoughtful chair.
[/quote] The chair is thoughtful? Maybe "he sat back in his chair, pondering/thinking/etc.

OK so overall, I like your story. I was a tad confused 'till o saw you marked it as "satire". Even with that, I feel it should be marked as a comedy, rather than satire. Satire is directly poking fun at something.

I feel like your descriptions are lacking, you could expand this story by being a tad more descriptive, which would also, in turn, add to the story itself. Especially with the wall of dialogue. I kept getting lost in the dialogue, not knowing who was speaking. Using more description could help avoid that problem.

I like the ending, but I didn't understand that the man was saying the therapist should kill himself. Perhaps make that a little clearer? Also, the twist at the end feels a bit anti-climatic, I think it needs a bit more buildup.

Otherwise, I liked your story. Keep writing!





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