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"We're a lot alike, you and I. You tested me. I tested you. You killed me. Ióoh, no, wait. I guess I haven't killed you yet. Well. Food for thought."
This trope is Exactly What It Says on the Tin
: A character threatens to kill another, but without actually using the words "I'll kill you
." Usually involves the use of an analogy or a hypothetical question. This often allows the maker of the threat to be a Karma Houdini
, since he can claim he never really
threatened the target. Often the person making the threat will avoid naming the threatened person directly. If the threat is made against the other person's family or against his property, that's Shame If Something Happened
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- In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin prepares to throw a water balloon at the resting tiger, only to stop when Hobbes comments, "As if life isn't short enough."
- A more overtly violent example than most in National Security, after Earl pulls over a student driver:
Earl: Student driver, huh? *pulls out his gun* Lesson 12: Man with gun. Get your ass up out the car.
- In Ice Age, Soto does this twice to Diego, his second-in-command charged to bring back a baby so he can eat it alive. When Diego loses it over the falls, Soto snarls at him, "You'd better. Or you can serve yourself as a replacement." He even sends an Implied Death Threat by proxy when he sends two of his sabres to warn Diego to bring back the baby or "don't come back at all!" Something that hints at certain death for Diego, since the tigers pretty much use each other to survive, at least in Soto's pack.
- Fist Of Fury has Bruce Lee (as "Chen Zhen") give one to two Japanese students at a Dojo, all while forcing them to eat pieces of paper with the insult: "Sick Man of East Asia."
Chen: Now you're eating paper. The next time, it's gonna be glass.
- The Third Man: Harry Lime casually opens the door of the ferris wheel while discussing the fiscal worth of human life. Watching him carefully, Holly Martins gets a good grip on the doorframe.
- In the James Bond film Licence to Kill the ruthless drug lord who really runs the local Banana Republic reminds his Figurehead President "Remember—you are only President for Life".
- In the 1986 action comedy Tough Guys the protagonists are marched off by a shotgun-toting hitman.
Harry: Where are we going, friend?
Hitman: We're going up this alley, "friend".
Archie: And then what?
Hitman: And then I'm coming out. Alone.
- Extreme Prejudice (1987). Texas Ranger Jack Benteen meets his childhood friend turned drug kingpin Cash Bailey at the Mexican border. Neither side is willing to compromise, and as Jack turns to leave Cash says, "You know, Jack. I got a feeling the next time we run into each other, we gonna have a killin'. Just a feeling."
- The classic from Slartibartfast in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
"Come," called the old man, "come now or you will be late."
"Late?" said Arthur. "What for?"
"What is your name, human?"
"Dent. Arthur Dent," said Arthur.
"Late, as in the late Dentarthurdent," said the old man, sternly. "It's a sort of threat you see... I've never been very good at them myself, but I'm told they can be very effective."
- One is shown early in Pyramids:
"A noble blood flows through my veins."
"Want it to stay there?"
- Pteppic tries one himself, though he admits it's not very good as threats go, because the Guild didn't really cover that:
Pteppic: I could give you this knife.
Guard: So what?
Pteppic: I could give it to you point first.
- Played with in A Clash of Kings when Tyrion is attempting to get Joffrey to understand that being the king doesn't mean he's untouchable:
Joffrey: The king can do as he likes.
Tyrion: Aerys Targaryen
did as he liked. Has you mother ever told you what happened to him?note
Ser Boros Blount:
No man threatens His Grace in the presence of the Kingsguard
Tyrion: I am not threatening the king, ser, I am educating my nephew. Bronn, Timett, the next time Ser Boros opens his mouth, kill him. Now that was a threat, ser. See the difference?
- A straight example from the next book, Storm of Swords:
Joffrey: You're the monster, Uncle.
Tyrion: Am I? Perhaps you should speak more softly to me then. Monsters are dangerous beasts, and just now, kings seem to be dropping like flies.
Live Action TV
- In the Victorious episode "Rex Dies", while Cat is going on about the catwalk:
Jade: If someone was pushed off this catwalk and hit the ground really hard, do you think they'd live?
Cat: Why are you asking that?
Jade: No reason.
- In a Season 1 episode of NCIS, when Ari holds Ducky hostage in autopsy.
Ducky: I can't wait to weigh your liver.
- In Breaking Bad, Walt gives one to Hank after the latter discovers he's Heisenberg. Hank states that he doesn't even know he's talking to anymore.
Walt: If you donít know who I am, maybe your best course of action is to tread lightly.
- On Dollhouse, Matthew Harding keeps Adelle in line by telling her, "You wouldn't like the early retirement plan." She's seen enough - and frankly, done enough - that she knows exactly what he's talking about.
- Albeit in hindsight he probably meant The Attic.
- And Adelle shuts up a snarky Topher by pointing out that Mr Dominic is responsible for the "termination of unstable employees".
- In Friends, when Joey is trying to seduce a lady, and Gunther keeps laughing at him while disguising it as a cough:
"Seriously, Gunther, you should see someone about that cold. If it gets much worse, you could die.
- Game of Thrones.
Lord Eddard: I was also trained to kill my enemies, your Grace.
Queen Cersei: As was I.
- Rome. A Running Gag with Marc Antony; the most notable occasion is when he's forcing Cicero to make him governor of Gaul.
Cicero: Please go on, make your threats. I don't like to submit to mere implication.
There is a question I've always wanted to ask you. Your old friend Crassus, when he was captured by the Parthians, is it true that they poured molten gold down his throat? Because that would really sting
- Deep Space Nine. Done as a Character Development moment for the normally cowardly Quark to Brunt of the Ferengi Commerce Authority, who up to then has been bullying Quark For the Evulz.
Quark: Look I've broken the contract so do your job; take my assets, revoke my Ferengi business license, do whatever you have to do, then get out. And if you ever walk into my bar again...
Brunt: (smirks) Yes?
Quark: You won't walk out. (Brunt's smile vanishes)
- In Firefly episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" after Mal gets unwittingly laden with a wife, who's little more than a teenage girl, pastor Book approaches him with this warning:
Book:" If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater."
It may sound humorous, and obviously, you don't explicitely threaten to kill your captain - that'd be mutiny, but the message is quite transparent.
- WCW: Cactus Jack and Abdullah the Butcher brought a cake to celebrate Sting's birthday.
I know that. Don't you think I know that? But I wasn't here for Sting's last birthday. I wish I was at Sting's last birthday. But you see it's very important that we celebrate now, because Sting's last birthday was Sting's last
birthday! BANG BANG! BANG BANG!note
- The very first The Adventures Of Harry Nile story, "West For My Health", had Harry up to his eyeballs in debt to a mob boss, who agreed to forgive Harry's debt if he went out to the west coast to kill a guy who was threatening his business. Just to make sure Harry didn't try to avoid doing the job, the mob boss sent an associate to watch him. The associate pulled Harry aside and told him, "I'm your doctor. I'm telling you to go west for your health."
- Chaosium's Stormbringer adventure Stealer of Souls: Tormiel's house has a Demon of Protection that is required to give two warnings before attacking intruders, such as, "Gee, this is an unhealthy place to visit without an invitation," or "Do you know where your blood comes from?" If the intruders ignore his warnings, he's free to kill them.
- In Final Fantasy VII, there was a blacksmith in Midgar. If you talked to him, he would say, "Hey, wait a minute, you. You can't leave without buyin' something. Might not be good for your health, if ya know what I'm saying."
- In Portal 2, when you meet up with GLaDOS again, she says: "Look, we both said a lot of things that you're going to regret." She then continues along this line in later chambers, with her "real surprise, with tragic consequences," her "solution to both our problems [...] that honestly works out great for one of both of us" and her announcement that she has learned to discard things that "are just taking up space". And just when it seems that she couldn't lay it on any thicker, in Chapter 8, Wheatley gets a turn, with a triumphant Don't Explain the Joke thrown in:
Wheatley: You [...] are going to love this big surprise. In fact, you're going to love it to death. Love it until you're dead — until it kills you. I don't know if you're picking up on what I'm saying here...
GLaDOS: Thanks, we get it.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Llednar delivers one after Cid nullifies the law that makes him invincible.
Llednar: ...This reeks of foul play. If you weren't a judge... (summons allies and begins to fight)
- Build That Wall from Bastion. It sounds slow and mournful, but the lyrics are actually a death threat to an entire civilisation.
"I dig my hole, you build a wall. One day that wall is going to fall...Go build that wall until it's done, but now you've got nowhere to run. So build that wall and build it strong 'cause we'll be there before too long."
- In League of Legends, several champion taunts are examples of this trope:
Orianna:"I know what makes them tick. I know how to make the ticking STOP."
- In Assassin's Creed, During the multiplayer, when Vidic trains the new initiates:
Warren Vidic:"Succeed, and you will learn the secrets of our order. Fail, and a lot more than your contracts will be terminated."
- During the second Hatoful Boyfriend Yuuya finds out that his brother's butler Albert is actually an assassin. Considering his powerful Big Brother Instinct this disturbs him rather a lot. It's the one thing that breaches his cheerful, friendly version of stoicism and gets him to make direct threats. He settles back after hearing the explanation, but doesn't feel easy about it.
"Sakuya seems to have this sorted out. ...but if you do end up hurting him, I'll hunt you to the ends of the earth and back. Remember that."
- Biggs, of all people, from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures . He does a lot of unethical things, but threaten his family and look out.
- The Order of the Stick:
- Vaarsuvius gets very annoyed at the rest of the Order while he's stuck in the form of a lizard, and the first thing he does after being restored is to effortlessly Disintegrate a dragon that had been threatening them:
Vaarsuvius Fascinating. I cannot help but notice that the disintegrated remains of a dragon are indistinguishable from those of a human, or a halfling, or a dwarf.
Roy: Point taken.
- Subverted in another strip. Annoyed about being distracted from his/her research, Vaarsuvius threatens Elan.
Vaarsuvius: "Do as you wish, though I find it odd that one who just witnessed the haste with which I will remove that which distracts me from my crucial research would risk becoming just such a distraction one's self."
Vaarsuvius: "Because then I might be forced to remove the distraction."
Elan: "I don't get it."
Vaarsuvius: "YOU are the distraction in this case. Remove the distraction, which is you. Remove YOU with haste."
Elan: "...What are you getting at?"
Vaarsuvius: "Oh, forget it. It would take longer to make you understand than it would to research the next spell."
- After the Gunfight of the OK Corral, a feud kicked up, with two of the Earp brothers getting shot and Wyatt Earp going on a vendetta spree. Johnny Behan, a police officer with some very longstanding bad blood with Earp (it included a love triangle and them running against each other for office), just so happened to be a part of the posse that was chasing after him. One day, when he was away from backup, he came across Earp in the street:
Behan: I have to see you, Wyatt.
Earp: One of these days, Behan, you may see me one time too many.
- And they parted, never to meet again for the rest of their lives.
- "Pretty Boy" Floyd once sent a message to the sheriff of his home town of Sallisaw, Oklahoma: "I'm coming to see my mother. If you're smart you won't try to stop me." The sheriff was smart.