by Kevin Tosca
The real Ernest Hemingway was picked up in a rafle in Paris in 1943 and shipped to Majdanek. Tramping south on rue Bonaparte, he had been unceremoniously shoved into the back of a fruit and vegetable truck just shy of Saint-Sulpice. “But I’m Ernest Fucking Hemingway!” Hemingway yelled.
Sorry biographers, it’s true.
When the Nazis realized what they had done (too late, of course), they summoned their specialist doctor god devils and got a Hemingway look-alike back to Paris posthaste.
The first words out of Hemingway’s third wife’s — Martha Gellhorn’s — mouth were:
“And where the shit have you been this time?”
Though look-alike Hemingway felt like pissing his khakis, he had been trained to employ maximum machismo, so he said: “Shut the fuck up. Where’s my bourbon?”
Martha, after whipping a dishtowel past his face and shooting him one of her infamous, cock-shriveling glances, went to fetch the booze.
“Thought so,” look-alike Hemingway said, confidence blossoming in his counterfeit heart while his work — the oeuvre — marched onward into the white man’s alabaster canon, marching uninterrupted (to exterior eyes) and uncannily loyal in thrust and style.
Minor advancements were, nevertheless, made, and the war, as all wars do, ended.
Eventually, the look-alike found a friend in Cuba, but he kept traveling like a stunad, kept tempting his final END.
Not by a long shot.
It was the Germans. The Germans got jumpy. Ketchum, Idaho, is lousy with lit-lovin’ Germans. No one should be surprised.
But in anticipation of the cultural fallout this story will cause, I have fled to Russia and contacted Laura Poitras to tell my story. I get raging drunk from time to time with Depardieu. We compare bellies. Putin scares me, but he tells a mean joke.
That’s about it, but if you ever have the good fortune to find yourself in Key West for Hemingway Days, take a look around.
I mean: He’s everywhere.
Has been since 1981, since twenty years after his so-called second “death.” There’s even an official society now, the Hemingway Look-Alike Society, and everything — EVERY. LAST. DETAIL — is deliberate.
The truth and obfuscation?
The smoke and mirrors?
The literary fun and games?
Open for business!
The deification of Creativity — a word that will never again be saddled with a lowercase, conventionally grown “c”?
Open to all!
So pick up your pen and get crackin’ because you just might be the next Ernest Hemingway, and that is exactly what they want you to think.
Kevin Tosca’s stories have appeared in Bateau, The Frogmore Papers, Litro Magazine, The Interpreter’s House, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, and elsewhere. He is the author of The Hug and Other Stories (Červená Barva Press, 2019), Ploieşti (Červená Barva Press, 2019), Revelation #2 (Iron Lung Press, 2019), Questions Are My Only Answers (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), and My French (Analog Submission Press). He lives in Canada. Find him at kevintosca.com.