(from The Art of the Short Story)
So, in a certain department serves a certain official—not a very prominent official, it must be allowed—short of stature, somewhat pockmarked, rather red-haired, rather blind, judging from appearances, with a small bald spot on his forehead, with wrinkles on his cheeks, with a complexion of the sort called sanguine. … How could he help it? The Petersburg climate was responsible for that. As for his rank—for with us the rank must be stated first of all—he was what is called a perpetual titular councillor, over which, as is well known, some writers make merry and crack their jokes, as they have the praiseworthy custom of attacking those who cannot bite back.
I am being held against my will in a comfortable apartment in St. Louis and being forced to read stories and listen to the same Fake Project song again and again. (This is much better than my captor’s DMX phase, to which I awoke yesterday.) On top of the indignity of required reading while on vacation, I am being forced to state in no uncertain terms that this story is brilliant, from the tiniest phrase to the overarching plot, and moreover I’m being coerced into affirming the brilliance of the recommendation as well. Thank you wise captor for making me read a story you know to be so excellent that I dare not disagree. This story is all over the web. If you too are being forced to read it, go Google Gogol.