The Restless Spirit of Ernest Hemingway Inhabits the Body of a First-Grader



It is human nature to disobey.┬áRefusing to follow orders is treason, but refusing to follow one’s ideology is treason all the same. The measure of a man is not whether he is disloyal, but to whom.

“Stop stalling and eat your zucchini.”

Oh, Mama. If only you knew why I can’t.


“What would you like to drink, sweetie?”

“Whiskey, please.”

“I’m sorry, honey, which one?”


“We have apple or cranberry.”

“Gin, then.”

The lunch lady hands me a cranberry juice box and I step aside. There is no straw attached to the box, only a pair of cardboard scars. Before I can say anything she has moved on to the next child.


I open a new pack of crayons. Twenty-four of them, arranged in an elegant spectrum and molded into perfect parallel points. I hesitate for a moment before shaking them out of their complacency into a disarrayed rolling pile on my desk. You don’t use the crayons because you want to destroy them. You use the crayons because you are a colorer. After all, if you love and respect them, it is no sin to use them. Or is it more?


“For show and tell, I brought this packet of cigarettes. Funny how anyone can ascribe such value to a material thing. Me and the boys used to trade these all the time for money, rations, chocolate too. They were a currency, a currency of security and consistency. These little bastards got me into the front lines of the battle and they kept me there.”

I empty the contents of the cardboard box and crush them into the linoleum tiles with the heel of my light-up Sketchers.

“War is hell.”


2 thoughts on “The Restless Spirit of Ernest Hemingway Inhabits the Body of a First-Grader

  1. Lorel Shea

    The day was hot and the wine was cold. Audrey wrote like a woman possessed. Only someone who read Shakespeare in the original Klingon could understand her nuances. She was brave and good and kind, and had much to say.


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