Just Like

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A writer is trying to finish his first book when his hero novelist comes back from the dead to meet him and offer advice.

Submitted: December 31, 2017

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Submitted: December 31, 2017

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Walter Bennett was sitting at the desk, working on a story when his phone rang. It was a phone call that he had been trying to avoid all day. At 3 PM, he thought that his goal had been accomplished.

One minute later, he had been proven wrong.


Walter's ex Jeannie had been looking for him. Jeannie had been wanting to rekindle their relationship. She said that adultery was just a way of playing the field when the relationship was getting stale. Walter told her that if she was bored, try a hobby of some sort. No need to ruin a relationship because you were bored. No need what so ever.


Walter Bennett was in his early 20's. Barrel chested and with age lines around his face, Walter looked like a folk hero from back in the day. An almost Hemingway like figure. He was an aspiring novelist. He had been spending the last six weeks writing and writing and working on his book. A book that would make his idol proud. Something that could rival even "The Sun Also Rises".
The phone had started ringing while Walter was in the middle of scribbling notes into his notebook. Furiously scribbling away, hoping that the phone would stop ringing. After 3 minutes of calls being not answered, Walter decided to pick up.


"Hello," Walter said.


"It's about time that you answered your phone," Jeannie said.


"Damn, I thought that this was important." Walter said.


"Very funny. We really need to talk Walter. It is important." Jeannie said.


Walter got up from his chair and started to walk around his living room. Shaking his head, he was trying to come up with ways to get off the phone. He and Jeannie were together for 3 years. Jeannie was a waitress over at the truck stop. A homely looking woman with thick rimmed glasses, the only thing she had going for her was personality. She was a strong willed woman. Walter was a big mountain of a man. The overall strength was what brought them together. Over time, their relationship had deteriorated. Walter was trying to kick start his novel and Jeannie was bored with Walter trying to play make believe with his pens and paper. Four months ago, Jeannie decided to leave Walter. The relationship was not worth her time. Walter didn't notice however. He was determined to work on his book. He knew that Papa had the dedication and wanted to follow his example with as little or no distractions.


"Jeannie, their is nothing to talk about. You left me. You didn't want to be with a guy that wasn't successful or that couldn't take care of you. Those were your words. Do you remember that?" Walter said.


"Walter, things happen. Words get said and emotions take over. Let's talk this over. We really should." Jeannie said.


Walter laughed. "Honey, nothing to talk about here. Your gone and I ain't coming back or you ain't coming back. It is over Jeannie." Walter said.


"I'll talk to you tomorrow. I can't talk to you when you are like this." Jeannie said.


Walter hung up the phone and walked back over to his table. Looking over his notes he had written, a smile had formed on his face. The work was really good. It had a direction and a real drive. Sitting down, he started to read over his work.


"Katie was not the strongest person, at least in the physical sense. She couldn't lift a lot but if she had to use her mind she was the toughest person around. A clear example of an Intellectual. She was sitting in her study trying to locate an answer to her problem when the door knocked."


As he got to the word knocked, Walter's door actually knocked. He paused before getting up from his chair. The door knocked again. Walter got up and started to walking over to it.


"Jeannie, this is just a damned nuisance." Walter said.


Walter opened the door. The person on the other side definitely was not Jeannie. Not even a female.


It was a man in his early 60's. Heavy gray hair with a large stomach and beard. He was wearing a khaki button up shirt and khaki pants. His brown boots were covered with sand and dirt. He was holding a baseball hat in his hand, folding the bill in a curved shape. Walter was caught off guard. A flicker of an image got in his head. He wanted to ask who the man was. All Walter could do was get out of the way.


"Do you have anything to drink?" The man asked.


Walter nodded his head.


"Where can I find some Whiskey?" The man asked.


Walter walked over to his counter and grabbed a bottle and two glasses. Heading back into the living room, Walter opened the bottle and poured the glasses. Handing his guest one of the glasses, Walter took the other one. The man raised his glass and smiled.


"To health," The man said. He downed the glass rather quickly. Motioning for another, Walter filled up the glass. The man walked over to Walter's couch and sat down. Putting his feet up, the man noticed that Walter had some books on the couch. He started to look over some of the titles. He started to shake his head.


"Garbage, absolute garbage." The man said.


Walter sat in the chair across from the couch. He couldn't take his eyes off of the man. Walter shook his head, believing that this must have been a dream of some sort. There was no way that the man could be in his living room. It was impossible. This was either a dream or some weird joke. Walter leaned over to grab a copy of "The Sun Also Rises."


"What are you reading?" The man asked.


"The Sun Also Rises," Walter said.


"I remember that book. Brings back great memories. Paris was a place unlike any other." The man said.


"I'm sorry, but I have to ask something." Walter said.


The man leaned towards Walter.


"Are you Ernest Hemingway?" Walter asked.


The man laughed. It was deep and booming. It caught Walter off guard. The man got up from the couch. Walter stood up too.


"Call me Papa," He said.


Walter shook his hand. Papa walked around the living room and took in the way Walter's walls were covered with quotes and posters of Hemingway. Papa shook his head and turned to look at Walter.


"Damned embarrassing. Just look at that." Papa said.


"I'm sorry. I've been trying to do some cleaning and just forgot to take this all down." Walter said.
"Don't apologize. It is your house. You do not make an apology for anything that is unnecessary." Papa said.


"I just can't believe this. Your here. I mean, Ernest Hemingway is in my living room. I cannot find the words." Walter said.


"The words will come. They always do." Papa said.


"May I ask you a question?" Walter asked.


"Ok," Papa said.


"Why are you here?" Walter asked.


Papa grabbed the bottle and took a big drink. He handed it to Walter.


"Your a writer?" Papa asked.


"Yes sir." Walter said.


"What are you writing about?" Papa asked.


"It's a novel about a woman who befriends people in her apartment complex. She is a former war correspondent and is trying to make it in the real world." Walter said.


"Hmmm. I suppose it is good." Papa said.


Walter hurried over to where he had some pages of his first draft and grabbed them. He attempted to hand them to Papa. Papa shoved them out of his way.


"Never let another writer read a work in progress. Doesn't do well for a writer's ego." Papa said.


"Oh, yes, of course." Walter said.
 
Walter put the papers on the couch. Walter took a moment to admire the man in his living room. Hemingway truly was a handsome man. Walter walked back to his chair and sat down.
 
"Papa, I am having a hard time trying to write. I do not know if my work is any good." Walter said.
 
"No matter if it is good or bad, you have to keep working on the story at hand. You don't give up." Papa said.
 
"I believe in my idea, I do not know how the story ends." Walter said.
 

"But Papa, the woman in my life is one that I am no longer in love with." Walter said.

Papa got up from the couch. Walter got up and stood up. Papa extended his hand. After they shook hands. Papa made it to the door and turned around to look at Walter.

"Don't forget about life. It is there and it is yours for the taking." Papa said.

With those words, Papa walked out of the door. Walter stood there. Letting Hemingway's words sink in, Walter grabbed his phone and dialed Jeannie's phone number.

"Jeannie. Let's talk." Walter said.

 
"How long have you been working today?" Papa asked.
 
"5 hours." Walter said.
 
"Work until you get to a good stopping point. That way you can know where it will start on the next day." Papa said.
 
"When I was writing The Sun Also Rises, I was a young husband and father. I made a great group of friends and took life in as it came. I traveled the world and wrote. It was the best of times. Taking a notebook in to a café and opening the pages and with my pencil, I worked as hard as I could. I never took control of the story, The story takes control of you. I miss those days a lot. Do you have a group of people in your life?" Papa said.
 
"I do," Walter said.
 
"After I finished the book, Hadley and I divorced. I had met Pauline and decided to head back to America. No matter what I have done and how I have succeeded, I still think about Hadley and Paris. You can't make writing everything. It maybe everything, but there is more to life. Adventure awaits my boy. So does love. Do not forget about love." Papa said.

 


© Copyright 2018 Robert Logan. All rights reserved.

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