Third Place Winner of The Hemingway Rules Contest

Ernest Hemingway on safari, Africa. January, 1934.

Third place in the Hemingway Rules Contest goes to M.N. Warner for the entry, Hemingway Begins Anew.  – ML

Hemingway Begins Anew ~ 1914
M.N. Warner

I again searched for the doctor’s son. The boy had a suspicious way of disappearing at night. His father was none too happy, and I was appointed to rescue Ernest.

Fathers anguish over their children’s futures, especially the future of such a young man. Unless my plan succeeded, he would flit through life, humming amusing melodies and performing whimsical pieces at recitals.

My worst fears were realized when I found the lad leaning against a lamp post. With ruffled shirt tucked neatly into shiny toreador pants, he performed street music. He sang falsetto. 

I pushed aside the coin-tossers and rescued Ernie from his caterwaulers.

"Enough of this nonsense!" I dragged him away. He did not struggle but allowed me to haul him to the end of the street. 

I flung him through the open door of Harry’s Bar. Ernie’s eyes widened in horror.

"You can’t do this, N’Cola!" he whimpered.  "I’m too young for a bar!  Whatever are you thinking?"

"Don’t be a damned bloody young fool!" I flung him into a seat at the nearest available table. "No man’s ever too young or too old for Harry’s Bar. It’s time someone took the bull by the horns and made a man of you."

Ernie stared mutely, aghast at my words.  He watched the tray of drinks arrive and cowered.

"Get a grip, m’boy." I lined up the beers and shot glasses. "I will talk. You will drink and listen. Com-pren-do?"

Apparently so. He sucked a breath, held it and choked down the first swallow.

By the end of his second chaser, the lad seemed more confident.

I didn’t mince words. "Here’s what you’ll do, boy. No choices."

Wide-eyed and attentive, he nodded.

"First, lose the silk and the music," I said. "Then tie on the gloves of life. Look your opponent right in the eye and swing. Grow facial hair, lad. The ladies will love it…Oh, and drive a big vehicle.  The bigger the better."

His sigh bordered on ecstasy. "An ambulance?"

"Get serious, Ernie." I stacked the shot glasses. "Travel. To Kansas City, to Italy, to Africa. Live. Chase stories, fight bulls, shoot an oryx…be a man.” I paused to push the alcohol beyond his reach.

“This is your chance, Champ. It’s your generation. Don’t be lost…be found.” I shook my finger at him. “Don’t end up an old man adrift in a murky sea. Understand?"

Ernie staggered to his feet, excited.  "Yes.  I do."

He blinked amd leaned closer. In a manly whisper he asked two questions revealing the deep intellectual and tempestuous hunger within his evolving soul.

"Help me, N’Cola. Give me honest answers, I beg you.” The lad tugged at my sleeve and gulped.  "What is an oryx…and why should I shoot it?"

Young Ernest Hemingway had a difficult journey ahead.  I eyed the remaining liquor with longing.


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2 thoughts on “Third Place Winner of The Hemingway Rules Contest

  1. It’s a great take on what the young Hemingway might have turned out to be. Loved the reference to driving the ambulance.

    The voice of the narrator comes through crystal clear and just a bit scary.

    Good stuff!


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