Thursday, January 27, 2011

THE LAST MOMENTS OF PAPA H. 2.0 (#flashfiction)

Press play for some mood music

We conclude 'Vault Month' here in The Basement with a older piece of flash that hopefully most of you will like and that many probably never read. So very little is known about the sad and solemn moments before Ernest Hemingway took his life during the Summer of 1961 and this is how I pictured them. Also, enjoy the wonderful flamenco sounds of F. Tarega. The tune can be downloaded here.

* * *

July 2, 1961 at the Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba.

In one breath he thought, "Cubans -- how I love these people..."

And in the next, Hemingway contemplated an act so very indiscreet.

Even with his Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes and a life so accomplished, he felt abandoned by almost everything and everyone around him.

Wanting a farewell drink, his nervous elbow knocked the last bottle of whiskey to the ground, shattering it into a beautiful jigsaw puzzle of glass.

Almost time, he stared at a lifetime of photographs, kissing the photos of his kids and wife.

He then turned to the Boss & Co. shotgun he bought at Abercrombie & Fitch and before he pulled the trigger, noticed what an elegant weapon it was.


  1. Really good. I haven't thought about him in a long time. Then of course my mind drifted back to his wife trying to convince everyone that he didn't do it on purpose,
    What a genius he was...
    Nobody like him.

  2. This made me so sad. I remember when I read 'The Old Man and the Sea' thinking it was a story of despair and writer's block. The thing is that I hated every single one of his plots, but he was such a wonderful craftsman that I've read the books over and over anyways because he was just so damn GOOD. For someone to write about things you hate or are not interested in, and MAKE you want to read them and beg for more, that's true genius.RIP

  3. Of course many will never read it. Half the planet doesn't have the internet!

    I don't think Ernie was aiming for elegance. It did the job powerfully well.

  4. An interesting "could be". Makes me wonder how Papa H. would write about it himself.

  5. I love how you have him seeing the beauty in every single thing as he says goodbye.

    I'm sure EH would approve this little eulogy. Excellent stuff.

  6. How interesting Ant - I just read Ray Bradbury's short, The F. Scott/ Tolstoy/ Ahab Accumulator the other day, in which the MC travels back in time to try and stop several famous authors from taking their lives, and Hemingway was the most memorable of these (to me). I won't give the story away, everyone will just have to read it - it's in his anthology One More for the Road, and every story is, (of course), superb!

    This, The Last Moments of Papa, is so, so very sad, and so well written Ant. I'm glad you brought it back to us!

  7. Oh, you're right, that flamenco music is just gorgeous and adds so much to your story. Wouldn't it be interesting if suicide notes explained more - not just why you did it, but what were you thinking, what were you doing, what was your state of mind? The mystery, though, what makes elegant writings like this so interesting.

  8. Very sad indeed. Especially sad that a genius like him was in such a bad place that he chose to be this indiscreet. I too would love to read the version 1.0, by himself.

    Wonderful music to go with, and I loved the picture too!

  9. Papa H. is such an icon, worthy of the "what if" questions. You did him proud with this, Ant.

  10. Excellent! Loved the line of the glass looking like a perfect jigsaw puzzle. Fit well in this one.

  11. I like this story very much, though I would have liked it to be much longer. So much must have gone through his head that day, so much reflection, memories, angst. Or simply resignation and clarity of purpose. The word "indiscretion" stopped me for a moment though, both times I read it. Inconveniencing people who find him, yes. But it seems to me one about to kill himself with a shotgun (very messy) can least afford to consider how discreet it might be.

    Still, fine fine work, Ant, as we've all come to expect from you.

  12. Anthony, brace yourself..I have never read any of Hemingway.. but I will now...

    (sorry for being away, my Mom recently passed away)

  13. Elegantly told interpretation of those final moments, Anthony.


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