11 July 2010

Bad Hemingway Imitation

I must have seen this in a fortune dozens or hundreds of times, but it still makes me laugh every time, so I wanted to share it with you.

Peter Applebome wrote the following winning entry in the 1989(?) International Imitation Hemingway Competition. The last time I read any Hemingway was nearly a decade ago, and it's still a bit disquieting for me to read this.

In the late summer of that year we lived in a condo in North Dallas that looked across the tollway to the discos and honky-tonks of the Rue St. Bubba. We were young and our happiness dazzled us with its strength. But there was a terrible betrayal that lay within me like a Merle Haggard song at a French restaurant.

"The Great Landry says the Cowboys will be back," said the girl.

"Then it must be so," I said, though I knew it was a lie.

"When football season comes, then it will be cold. Like Switzerland. But not now. The cold will come later.

"Pass the Doritos," I said, and her eyes shone like the stars over Amarillo.

I could not tell the girl about the woman of the tollway, of her milk white BMW and her Jordache smile. There had been a fight. I had punched her boyfriend, who fought the mechanical bulls. Everyone told him, "You ride the bull, senor. You do not fight it." But he was lean and tough like a bad rib-eye and he fought the bull. And then he fought me. And when we finished there were no winners, just men doing what men must do. And the pain was washed away, but the image of the woman stayed with me like a blessing and like a curse. [...]

Read the whole thing for the excellent punchline.

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