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I once spent a summer living on a mangrove beach in a  half-built shack near Cantaloupe, Mexico. They were days of peyote and tequila worms. I once saw a sagging and weary Ernest Hemmingway say to a tiny emasculated waiter ‘I’ll have three of everything and two extra walnut whips, please”. The waiter was afeared, but brought  the order. Hemmingway got through maybe two plates before he faked his own death from a moving car. I was hungry, coming down and hung-over and could have used the now no-longer needed food, but the waiter was now shaking visibly and had to drink one of the fake late Hemmingway’s brandies before he could start waiting on the acrid customers again. The fans on the ceiling only worked intermittently and occasionally a humming bird would try its luck with the faded plastic flowers on the wall. I leant forward towards the great carcass of Hemmingway and he slowly and deliberately winked at me. I realised then that pursuing some things could only lead to back ache and tattoo removal laser surgury, and threw a few coins on the bar (I think they might have been drachma, but this was before the days of decimalisation), and caught the next train back to Florida. My fictionalised account of the incident would later become one of the worst reviewed books in the country, causing a national scandal when three critics actually died of internal haemorrhaging whilst reviewing it, and one claimed to have developed trench-foot because of it. I eventually sent all the remaining copies of the book back to that mangrove beach to have the shack finished, but I discovered that the waiter had already finished it and was living there with an early version of the group that went on to become the Moody Blues. Hemmingway felt bad for what happened, and tried to make amends, but he was clumsy at humility and only made matters worse, eventually leaving the area after throwing a couple of ‘getting-to-know-you’ parties for the community which were awkward and under-catered. By then I had other things to attend to back home, as my draft papers had arrived. But that’s another story for another rainy day.

 

As far as I can recall there was no coffee drank in the world during this entire period, but my recollection grows less and less steady by the day and my research assistant has recently been prone to bouts of shoe throwing/shoe retrieval which has left her bewildered and uninterested in the small tasks I occasionally set her.

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