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The simple man

by TheMulticoloredCyr


Mr. Halabi was a very simple man indeed. He got to work on time every day. He did his job well. When he got home he didn’t waste his time on unimportant activities like painting or knitting, instead, he continued to work. He was a successful lawyer. He had plenty of money to retire in a few years. He was rather well off.

But to that well off forever in this ever-changing world is a rare thing indeed. Mr. Halabi had just received a new case, a man accused of murdering his wife and kids, when his comfortable little life was disturbed. He was leaving the courthouse when it happened, briefcase in hand after a successful case, when his life became much less simple.

It was no unusual occurrence to have police cars out in front of the courthouse. Someone had to take those sentenced to jail to their place after all. So Mr. Halabi was unperturbed when he walked past the unassuming police car at the end of the line on the way to his own car. He paid no attention to the man in the back seat. And he was caught off guard when the door slammed into his side.

Mr. Halabi toppled to the ground. His briefcase skidded under a brown SUV. The man from the back seat stepped out of the car and ran up the steps of the courthouse. It wasn’t until later that Mr. Halabi would realize that that man was the one he had just finished sentencing to prison.

Mr. Halabi scrambled to his feet and tried to get to his car. Then he heard the gunshots. He remembered a similar sound the day he had decided to become a lawyer. Those gunshots had ended his mother's life. He knew many of the women inside were mothers like his. Who had sons like him. Who had dads like his. And he turned on his heel and rushed inside.

Mr. Halabi used to be a very simple man. But as he jumped in front of a bullet to save a woman he had never met before. He became a very complicated man indeed.


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Points: 225
Reviews: 2

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Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:56 pm
HiddenMask says...



First off, love that first sentence. It's very simple (Aheh) but gets the point across. The wording immediately piqued my interest, and made me wonder why you mentioned this fact, what's going to happen to him, and whether or not he'll be the same by the end of this story. There were a few oddly phrased sentences that weren't quite clear ("But to that well off forever in this ever-changing world" Is a slightly mangled sentence), but overall this was told in a very clear and precise tone. However, we get no mention of whether or not he has a family, or what his home looks like. Perhaps one or two more of those clear sentences at the beginning to define his character a bit more would have been helpful.

The point where it gets a bit less clear is when he's hit by the car door. I wasn't sure whether this was BEFORE the case, or after the case, which may be due to me not paying enough attention, but perhaps you could have added a few more sentences that perhaps clarified what had recently happened, or even just a few * * *. We need know time has passed between the narrator MENTIONING the case, and the case having HAPPENED. You said he recently "received a case" and then quickly skip to after the case without much in the way of scene break or obvious transition. There wasn't much description of where he was vs where the police cars were, and where the actual courthouse was. Also, this is more nitpicky, but wouldn't the policemen standing outside of the car or in the car have tried to stop the murderer? We also never a get any information particularly frightening or interesting about the murderer. We don't know whether him heading into the courthouse is a really, really bad thing, or what.

The writing for the more immediate and action-full scene could've been a bit more immediate, I think? And perhaps a more.... emotional or long pause before he turns back? There didn't seem to be much gravity in his decision. The ending seemed a bit rushed personally, maybe taking a bit more time to delve into the other people inside of the building, going home, unarmed and unsuspecting to an attack. Maybe noting that the man convicted had already been in prison for other murders. Then his decision would feel more important, with more stakes.

Overall, good, the last two lines "Halabi used to be a very simple man. But as he jumped in front of a bullet to save a woman he had never met before, he became a very complicated man indeed" were fantastic and clean, and definitely linger in the reader's mind. It got a bit mangled in the middle, but came out very definite. I liked it, and the ending was very well written, it felt like the beginning of a book! Overall, great.




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Points: 225
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Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:56 pm
HiddenMask says...



First off, love that first sentence. It's very simple (Aheh) but gets the point across. The wording immediately piqued my interest, and made me wonder why you mentioned this fact, what's going to happen to him, and whether or not he'll be the same by the end of this story. There were a few oddly phrased sentences that weren't quite clear ("But to that well off forever in this ever-changing world" Is a slightly mangled sentence), but overall this was told in a very clear and precise tone. However, we get no mention of whether or not he has a family, or what his home looks like. Perhaps one or two more of those clear sentences at the beginning to define his character a bit more would have been helpful.

The point where it gets a bit less clear is when he's hit by the car door. I wasn't sure whether this was BEFORE the case, or after the case, which may be due to me not paying enough attention, but perhaps you could have added a few more sentences that perhaps clarified what had recently happened, or even just a few * * *. We need know time has passed between the narrator MENTIONING the case, and the case having HAPPENED. You said he recently "received a case" and then quickly skip to after the case without much in the way of scene break or obvious transition. There wasn't much description of where he was vs where the police cars were, and where the actual courthouse was. Also, this is more nitpicky, but wouldn't the policemen standing outside of the car or in the car have tried to stop the murderer? We also never a get any information particularly frightening or interesting about the murderer. We don't know whether him heading into the courthouse is a really, really bad thing, or what.

The writing for the more immediate and action-full scene could've been a bit more immediate, I think? And perhaps a more.... emotional or long pause before he turns back? There didn't seem to be much gravity in his decision. The ending seemed a bit rushed personally, maybe taking a bit more time to delve into the other people inside of the building, going home, unarmed and unsuspecting to an attack. Maybe noting that the man convicted had already been in prison for other murders. Then his decision would feel more important, with more stakes.

Overall, good, the last two lines "Halabi used to be a very simple man. But as he jumped in front of a bullet to save a woman he had never met before, he became a very complicated man indeed" were fantastic and clean, and definitely linger in the reader's mind. It got a bit mangled in the middle, but came out very definite. I liked it, and the ending was very well written, it felt like the beginning of a book! Overall, great.




HiddenMask says...


Whoops the site glitched - I accidentally entered this two times. Sorry about that!



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Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:12 pm
SnowMonkey says...



Man this was a great read! The ending was stellar. :)




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Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:05 pm
Dreamworx95 wrote a review...



Hello MulticoloredCyr, I hope I can offer some constructive feedback for you!

"Mr. Halabi was a very simple man indeed" - this is a very direct and engaging line.

"When he got home he didn’t waste his time on unimportant activities like painting or knitting"

- My advice to make this more concise and easy to read: cut "his" and maybe instead of "unimportant" you can say "frivolous" and then end the sentence, starting the new sentence with "Instead, he..."

"He was rather well off." - Cut "rather"

"disturbed" - I think "disrupted" would be a better term.

"He was leaving the courthouse when it happened, briefcase in hand after a successful case, when his life became much less simple." - the last part of this sentence is redundant, restating the previous sentence. Maybe just cut it down to "He was leaving the courthouse when it happened" and then jump right into the action.

"Someone had to take those sentenced to jail to their place after all."
-Also a little redundant and wordy. Try "Someone had to take the sentenced to jail after all."

"So Mr. Halabi was unperturbed when he walked past the unassuming police car at the end of the line on the way to his own car."
-Wordy. Try cutting "at the end of the line on the way" and just leave it at "he walked past the unassuming police car to his own." I also don't see the significance of the word "unassuming" because it implies there's something special about the police car itself, but reading through the rest of the piece, there isn't. I'd cut it.

"He paid no attention to the man in the back seat. And he was caught off guard when the door slammed into his side."
-He paid no attention to the man in the back seat. Suddenly, the door slammed into his side.

"The man from the back seat stepped out of the car and ran up the steps of the courthouse."
-The man jumped out of the car and ran up to the courthouse.

"Mr. Halabi scrambled to his feet and tried to get to his car. Then he heard the gunshots."
-Then gunshots fired into the air.

"He remembered a similar sound the day he had decided to become a lawyer."
-The sound of gunfire triggered a memory. The memory of the day he decided to become a lawyer.

"Who had dads like his."
-Who had dads like his mothers or dads like him?

Nice little flash, overall well-written and easy to read. Nice cliff-hanger. The only major crit I have is the redundancy of some words. Otherwise, I enjoyed.

Thank you for sharing!






Thanks for the tips! I'll admit to having been in a bit more of a wordy mood than usual when this was written, and I didn't really feel like trimming off the access when I went through for the quick edit (where I basically fix the most glaring issues and nothing else), so I'll work on these things when I go through it again.




"Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it."
— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein