Imitation Hemingway contest… from some years back.

Today I woke up to a text from my friend Pat. He sent me a screenshot of a short piece he had found that I had written for submission to an Imitation Hemingway contest. Unfortunately, my story, La Hora Feliz, didn’t win. From what I remember, there had to be a short word count and it had to mention Harry’s Bar, both requirements I fulfilled. So… below was my shot at imitating Papa. You be the judge. Enjoy!


It was early autumn and the day was clear and cool.

The dog tried to decipher the sign above the doorway. But it was confusing like the talk of German soldiers he overheard during reconnaissance as he lay flat on the cold ground still damp with the wetness of the first snow. The door to Harry’s Bar opened and the dog slipped inside. It was dimly lit and the tables were well bussed.

The dog passed many legs, bare ones and those of the colored hose. Trousers of wool, cotton, and the occasional blend.

He raised himself up on a barstool, accidently placing his paw in the soup du jour. The dog apologized with a bark and offered to reimburse the woman, but his apology made no sense to her and his currency had no place in her world. Instead, the woman slapped him on the nose, a language the dog understood from his days in the brutal trenches of the potty training war.

The dog straightened his sunglasses and lit a Camel. He breathed in the familiar, thick smoke and scratched a flea behind his ear.

“Is this la hora feliz?” the dog asked the bartender.

“Yes, dog.”

“Then make me feliz,” said the dog.

“What will you have?”

“Old Yeller.”



“With water or on the rocks?”




The dog loved this hour of the day. People talked fast and there was much gaiety. He glanced down the bar and noticed a Terrier with not such scrawny legs and unmatted hair. The dog sat up, holding a point.

“Sit down, dog,” said the bartender.

The dog knew the Terrier as the bitch called Ashley who walked, unanxiously and with conviction each morning past the tall Oak trees and the smaller Maple ones. He dreamt of her as his paws twitched in the dark night. Ashley came from grooming salons, Iams food, and cleaner whiter teeth in three weeks. The dog was hosed down, slept under the stars, and ate scraps. Once, the dog had had his way with the bitch called Ashley. But they were young and nothing was simple then.

The dog’s tail wagged, his excitement building like the thunder of a thousand charging bulls. He leaned in, trying to read the date of her last rabies shot. Still leaning, the dog fell, snapping at her dangling paw. But the distance between them was too great.

Aperitifs tumbled. Glasses shattered. Loud voices, scurrying feet, fast moving bodies barking the loud and angry human language. The dog was shown the door. Other customers relishing in the goodness of la hora feliz said the dog couldn’t hold his liquor.

Out on the street, the dog searched for an open trashcan. He would hope to eat well and cheaply. He expected to be sad but decided he would not take part in the sadness. In the scuffle, he had lost his sunglasses. The cool air was gone and the bright sun was now hot and dry.


2 Responses to “Imitation Hemingway contest… from some years back.”

  1. Linda Says:

    I enjoyed!

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