Hemingway: The Shorter Stories

Compiled by Edward Petrenko

Several months ago, I had the honour of being among a party with the express legal right – nay, the privilege – to unearth, exhume, and play rugby with the skull of Ernest Hemingway. It was a balmy night that threatened to give way into rain at all turns, but over the course of the evening, all that crossed the night sky was the partial corpse of a genius, as Skins took the match from Shirts, 3 tries to 2. I’m sure Papa would’ve liked to see those dainty cloth-wearers taken down a peg, and I like to think our victory repaid some of the injustice done (though his grievance should surely be with the Case Western Reserve University English Literature Society Lottery, and not with us participatory Papaites).

In any case, upon replacing the skull as best we could (given the dark lighting and our slight fatigue – again, complaints to the Lottery, please), we made a glorious discovery: there, in Papa’s cavernous ribcage, was a small notebook. Perhaps it came to rest there as stipulated by a bizarre will? Perhaps in a fit of bullfighting-induced hunger? Perhaps he had a dream about eating a large, daunting cookie, and woke up, sans book? His final subtext, no doubt. We picked up the leatherbound book (bound in his own skin, perhaps? True grit!), and by distant flashes of lightning, recited it to each other and the night in our most earthen, bassy tones. Here now, are some of these, the forgotten, shorter stories of Hemingway.

Dog

“Did you put out the dog?”

“No. Did you?”

“It’s your dog. Why should I put it out?”

“Because.”

Cold

“It’s cold.”

“Sure is.”

“Think we should get off this rugged mountain?”

“I think this rugged mountain should get off us.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“I don’t care.”

Keys

“Where’s the keys?”

“I don’t know. Did you put them somewhere?”

“Of course I put them somewhere. Where else would I put them?”

“Somewhere else?”

“…”

Scampy

“I’ll have the shrimp scampy.”

“You had that yesterday.”

“I know. I like it.”

“You came here yesterday too.”

“I know. I like this place.”

“You would.”

Sex

“Let’s have sex.”

“Let’s not.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“That’s cool.”

Hunger

“I’m hungry.”

“I know.”

Love

“I love you.”

“…”

Shut Up

“Shut up.”

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2 responses to “Hemingway: The Shorter Stories

  1. Thanks for a good laugh! However, it would be impossible to play rugby with Hemingway’s skull. He pretty much decapitated himself when he pulled the trigger on that boss shotgun with the barrels in his mouth Maybe baseball with one of his testicles. They nmust have been rather large.

    Tom Sanders
    Paradise Unlimited at http://www.tksanders.com

  2. “That’s cool” always gets me.

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