“The matador must have a spiritual enjoyment of the moment of killing. Killing cleanly and in a way which gives you esthetic pleasure and pride has always been one of the greatest enjoyments of the human race.”
—Ernest Hemingway, 1932
Ernest caught them moving in the night. They were so little that he could barely make out their tiny limbs. Petal-like wings comprised most of their backside. They couldn’t really fly. Instead, they glided to the floor. He took undue pleasure in watching them struggle up the leg of the table, then up the hard curves of the vase. Little fuckers were lucky he was still too drunk to move, or else he’d figure out a way to make their little lives even more miserable than they already were.
What made him want to write about the man?
The King of the Lost Generation has been one of the most intriguing literary iconoclasts of the last hundred years. Narratives about the life Ernest Hemingway led are almost more interesting than his fiction. From his years in Paris, to his trips through Spain, to his life on the edge of Cuba, each one was an adventure tale steeped in hot weather, cold
booze, lurid women, and a man grabbing life by the neck and shaking it. Then I read Death in the Afternoon. I was at once struck by the nature of the sport of bullfighting and how there are those who take pleasure at the pain and expense of others. We call this Schadenfreude. Hemingway never once believed that Schadenfreude was the reason people watched bullfighting. But that didn’t mean it didn’t exist.
Weston Ochse is the author of twenty books, most recently SEAL Team 666 and its sequel Age of Blood, which the New York Post called “required reading” and USA Today placed on their New and Notable list. His first novel, Scarecrow Gods, won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel, and his short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in comic books and magazines such as Cemetery Dance and Soldier of Fortune. He lives in the Arizona desert within rock-throwing distance of Mexico. He is a military veteran with twenty-nine years of military service and has recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan.
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