For chuckles, this is one of several submissions to the Bad Hemingway Writing Contest, which ran for over 10 years.. Is it ironic or fitting I didn’t win? Many of the entries are ‘punny’ parodies (like mine) on the title of an actual Hemingway story. There’s A Farewell to Body Parts, For Whom the Gong Sounds, and The Nose of Killer Mangarro. The winner won a trip to Harry’s Bar, home of the famous $20+ Bellini champagne/peachy drink. I did get to Harry’s, but that’s another story. Hemingway also wrote a few parodies…

The weather was good for skiing and drinking. The girl and I each had a bottle in front of us. When hers was empty, I offered her a snort of mine.

“I only drink Woozo,” she replied stiffly, sliding a fresh bottle from her sack. She watched the sediment drift fall to the bottom, then carefully poured two large measures into paper cups and offered me one.

“Don’t drain the glass. The scum at the bottom will make you puke your insides out,” she warned, “but the liquid’s as sweet as $20 gold pieces rolled in honey.”

After four shots of the stuff, I snaked my arm around her. “This is better than bean dip. You ever ski’doodled before?”

“You want the truth? She shivered and her face jelled and rearranged itself like a lemon aspic. “I gotta get so high to go high it’s gonna kill me one day, maybe tomorrow. But what the heck”—she mumbled. “Yeah, I ski.”

I took a long look at the girl. She had a whip cream complexion but her nose looked like it was the beater. Ah—why not? I took her back to my room. I knew I could lie in bed as well as any place else. I pulled off her sweater. Her chest reminded me of unleavened dough and I sandwiched myself against her yeasty loaves.

The next morning when I came to the girl was gone. I felt like worm bait. I thought about the Woozo we had drunk and what the girl had said about skiing. I’d made three runs down the mountain and was on the lift up again when I spotted her charging down the slopes, like a gold card shopper with unlimited credit.

I caught up with her at the half way point. She lay there, still and flat, off to the left of the main trail. A yellowish puddle spread out from a large area under the girl. I felt a terrible embarrassment.

She stared straight up into my grey eyes. “Told you,” she rasped.

I dropped to my knees and slid my hand under her neck. I felt shards of broken glass and smelt the now familiar odor of Woozo. I wanted to laugh and cry. The girl’s eyes fluttered like a pair of 300 count blue designer sheets.

“Promise me, promise you’ll never drink Woozo with another girl.”

“I promise—but why?”

“Because the scum also rises, if you don’t know how to pour,” she whispered and died in my arms.

“Farewell, boozing buddy.” I sighed and bonsai’d down the mountain to dispatch the medics. I wondered how she had known? I felt a great sadness only partially relieved by the knowledge that three full bottles of Woozo awaited me in my room. I’d removed them from her bag last night. The girl had guts, I reflected, but brains is what gets you down the hills of life.

© Joanna Hannigan