Day 28: The Heming Way

Jerry siphoned some whiskey between the side of his mouth while still clamping down on a cigarette. He mashed the typewriter furiously, like he was a boxer or a bullfighter, beating the damn thing to a pulp, showing his superiority, his mastery. He shifted from foot to foot as his legs began to wobble from standing so long–or maybe the whiskey. He refused to sit down.

“How many drinks have you had?” his wife asked. “How many cigarettes?”

Jerry sighed out a puff of smoke. He kept on writing.

“You have to eat,” his wife said. “This isn’t healthy, Jeremiah.”

Nothing but the loud clacking and dinging of the Underwood. The gentle rise of cigarette smoke.

“You can sit down,” his wife went on. “All those piled-up books, just to have a standing desk…”

Clickety-clack. Puff. Ding. Clink-clink. (This last one was the ice in Jerry’s glass.)

“You said we would be camping, hon. You told me not to bring my laptop to the cabin, yet you bring that old antique. You’ve been doing nothing but drinking and smoking and smacking those… fucking keys against paper for days. Jare-bear, put away the Papa Hemingway persona for one god-forsaken day, please? For me?”

The keys stopped clicking. Jerry finished his whiskey, dragged out a final few puffs, and put out his cig. He turned to look hard at his wife–like a take-charge man, a bridge-blower, a–

He nearly stumbled to his knees. Then he did hit his knees. Then he threw up, and it burned all the way out. He squeezed tears out of his eyes. Surely Hemingway had a few days like this, he thought. More than a few.

“Jerry,” his wife said, kneeling next to him and placing a hand between his shoulderblades. “You’re not writing the Great American novel. You write self-help articles and clickbait. You don’t need to drink and smoke yourself to death just to prove something to some deified literary idol.”

Maybe, he thought. But… isn’t it pretty to think so?



Today’s random prompt categories were, “A camping trip,” “A rationalization of bad behaviour,” and, “A typewriter.”

I can see where Jerry’s coming from. A lot of writers want to live as their idols. Not that I have personal experience.

I’m almost out of prompts! If you can think of some ideas for characters, settings, items, or situations, please comment and leave me a few. It’s going to be tough keeping this train rolling without some help!

– H.

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