Friday, October 24, 2014

Flash Fiction by Jeffrey Zable

A Hemingway Day

While on a short vacation in Havana I ran into Ernest Hemingway at the bar Floridita and he invited me to sit down with him.  Of course, he did most of the talking, telling me about a recent hunting trip in Africa and marlin fishing with some movie star friends.  At some point, while there was a pause, I decided to tell him about a recent event that happened to me back in New York City.  I decided to tell him the story even though I doubted that a man like Hemingway, who'd been everywhere and done everything, would be much interested in what I had to say.  Mainly I wanted to find out what he would have done in the same situation.

"So I was walking down the street on one of those hot, muggy days in Manhattan when I noticed a child in a stroller eating an ice cream.  Stopping to watch him lick at the ball of ice cream, it was only a short time before it fell out of the cone, bounced off his knee and onto the sidewalk.  Immediately the kid started crying and screaming, while his mother tried to comfort  him.  Seeing that we were right in front of the ice cream parlor, I walked up to the mother and asked her to wait there a moment.  I then went inside and ordered a fresh strawberry ice cream on a cone.  Of course, I failed to notice what flavor the kid was originally eating, but just decided on strawberry because it was the first flavor that I saw.  I walked out and tried to hand it to the kid, but he just looked at it for a moment, and then started crying and screaming even louder than before.  Obviously embarrassed, the mother thanked me anyway, and started pushing the stroller down the street while I stood there holding a melting strawberry ice cream.  Not really caring for that flavor, I walked over to the nearest trash can and dropped it inside."

At this point, I looked closely at Hemingway and realized he was staring to the side of me at a group of people sitting at a table.  Sitting with the group was a beautiful woman who seemed to have captivated Hemingway's attention.  "What would you have done?"  I asked him, and still looking to the side of me, he responded, "It's not what I would have done.  It's what I'm going to do!"  And he got up from his seat and went over to the table where the beautiful woman was sitting.  He introduced himself, and because everyone knew who he was, they immediately invited him to join them.

Now sitting there alone I wondered if my story would have impressed anyone other than an average person like myself, who never had a 'Hemingway Day' in his entire life, and probably never would . . .

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area.  He's published five chapbooks including Zable's Fables with an introduction by the late great Beat poet Harold Norse.  Present or upcoming writing in Toad Suck Review, Clarion, Kentucky Review, Edge, The Alarmist, Skidrow Penthouse, Uppagus, Ishaan Literary Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Futures Trading, One Trick Pony and many others.