Sunday, June 11, 2006
Once, the unclad cigar rollers wanted to know if it could be done. Tell us a story in six words. Hemingway spoke, “For sale: Baby shoes. Never used.” Generations later, a Hemingway scholar returned to the tropics to carry on the tradition. Again, the cigar rollers posed their shortest story challenge and the scholar said, “Prince discovered lost shoe fits Papa.” The women rolling the cigars asked a question they thought might really stump the scholar, “Now how is sudden fiction any different from poetry?” The Hemingway scholar boomed, “They are very similar, but Poetry makes the blood rush to your head while Sudden Fiction makes the blood rush to your tail!” When he said tail, he exposed his pearly gnashers like a hungry bear. The women gave out one of those screams that expresses that they are at once thrilled and afraid. They rushed to the darkest corner of the cigar factory and came back into the light feeling both more knowledgeable and more ashamed, covering themselves with tobacco leaves. The scholar laughed and blushed. Since ancient times, nobody’s seen a scholar laugh and blush so. He rubbed a cigar under his nose and inhaled deeply.