DYLAN LENZ

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Sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whiskey and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind but falling in love and not getting arrested. 

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Posts tagged hemmingway

Atop the Oak Tree

By: Dylan Lenz

The English Oak above me was courageous to plant itself so near the slope that broke near its roots, but it was mighty and held fast and grew deep. I was tired and my back was sore so I sat down and made my notes and I ate the food I had packed when the air was still cold before the sun rose. I looked up and in its shade I was content.  

After a time I stood. I walked around the tree and I saw a beaver’s lodge in the water but I could not see the animal itself. A forsythias bloomed down the path and it made the air sweet. A light wind blew. 

I found the lowest branch and it was easy to climb so I made my way upwards. Looking out over the lake and the woods and the dwindling orchards, I could see a storm coming in. The wind was brisk now, but it was warm so I knew I should make my way home before the rain began. The sound of nails being driven made me uneasy and Lydia was waiting for me, but I lingered and I was afraid because it all seemed so fleeting.

Hemmingway’s Guide To Make Love to a Beautiful Woman

BY: Dylan Lenz 

Adelina was still soft though she had hardened since the war had made its way through Palermo and her father had died and her brother had gone off to join the Americans as they made their way north. There had been many offers from many soldiers and there were many nights when she had grown lonesome. Since her husband had died early on in the war, she was inclined to dismiss her upbringing because the idea of God and sovereignty seemed too hard to believe at this time in this place with these people who did not care for her and only cared for her beauty. She had resolved to have no man. She had resolved it though the American’s were persistent in the hospital although most of them were in no shape to make love, especially to Adelina.

McGregor had come to Palermo to help with the reconstruction effort and his shoulders were strong and broad and his back was straight and he stood taller than the other men though there were a few that were greater than his height. His skin was dark from the sun and his hair had lightened since he arrived. He had been wounded while transporting supplies to the front and was taken to the hospital with shrapnel in his left knee and torso. The surgeon could not remove it all so he walked with a limp but was recovering well.

McGregor spoke seldomly but was always surrounded by the other men because they respected him and he sat straight up in his bed, which gave the men a confidence, and Adelina knew they needed confidence. When McGregor spoke he talked at length and was well versed in many topics, but never spoke about the war or about the efforts or the politics of his country. When asked for his opinion he gave it but refused to warrant it further. He smoked cigars and drank scotch that one of the men he had hired from Palermo had brought him. He shared it with the men. He slept with his rifle next to his bed, loaded, and though it made the nurses uneasy they trusted McGregor who would occasionally smile at them and look deep into their eyes when they passed with a bravery the other men had lost.

Adelina was the best of the nurses. She was thin and attractive in a way that was only seen as such in the city, being replaced with fuller cheeks and wider hips the further you went. McGregor loved her when he first saw her, though he never mentioned it and never let himself actually believe it.

The first time they touched McGregor was attempting to change his own dressings but he couldn’t reach far enough around his back and Billings a GI from Chicago was asleep and only Adelina was on call. Her skin was soft and her touch was delicate and she moved with ease and precision. McGregor held her hand firmly. He kissed her. Adelina did not move.

 McGregor led her to the rooftop so they could lookout over the city and see what was left and so they could make love or talk more at length so that he could know Adelina. They did not talk and they did not look out upon the city but instead they held one another like they had not been held in a long time. They kissed and McGregor found that though Adeline had hardened during the war her skin was still soft.

Despite his injuries McGregor was strong and he made love with a skill that he had adapted from summers spent at a lake in Minnesota when he was a younger man. His grip was firm and was confident and he let Adelina know what to do and they were happy for a while.

In the weeks that followed they made love a number of times on the rooftop until Billings made mentioned it to the other men and they called after Adelina as she made her rounds. McGregor put an end to it when he broke Billing’s teeth. A couple days later Billings forgave him because McGregor was brave and handsome and because he was well liked with the other men. The apology was public and Billings shook McGregor’s hand while he stood at a window that looked over the main entrance to the hospital where the freshly wounded would come to be treated and saved.

It was later that week that McGregor’s rifle sounded in the night and Adelina came from one of the other wards with a few of the night nurses to see McGregor shot. Sanderson pointed at Billings who was in his bed. Billings looked at the ceiling.

In the early morning hours the other men of the ward woke quietly and the ones with the strength stood up. They held Billings down and beat him while a towel was stuffed in his mouth and Billings cried out but only Adelina could hear him and she simply turned to look out at the city. When the guards came to take Billings he was dead but they asked no questions and the men said nothing. Adelina left the hospital and made her way to the cathedral and she remembered McGregor.

The Worker

The Worker

            It was November and ice formed small circles at the base of each of the posts on the dock and the men’s breath hung heavy a moment before it disappeared. The five sat smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee from tin thermoses that warmed their hands as they stood arm-to-arm watching as the lake pitched slowly back and forth and mostly they were silent and content with the occasional nod to look out at something on the water. They had five minutes left before they had to return to work.

            “God, I wish I could live here,” said the first man.

            The others nodded.

            “What do you think a place like this costs?” asked another.

            “More than you’ll ever see,” said the first.

            The others smiled.

            “What does he do?” asked one of the men lighting a new cigarette.  

“Inherited it, probably,” said the first.

            “No, he’s big in Seattle, started at a company at twenty, owned them at twenty-five,” said another.

            “Yeah, but his parents got him the job,” said the first.

            “Nope, grew up in Ohio on a dirt farm. Moved west with two-hundred dollars, before the bus ticket.”

            “How do you know?”

            “Asked him.”

            One of the five who’s face was young and full and who’s hands were calloused and cut looked at his watch and drank the rest of his cup and began to walk back to the end of the dock.

            “You coming?” he asked.

            “Soon,” said the first. The others nodded and smoked.

            At the house an older man with thick wrists and broad shoulders threw scraps of wood into a bin on the drive. He did not stop to look at the young man who had begun to help. A few moments passed and the old man tried to drag a large beam but could not move it more than a few feet. The young man stood at one end and together they lifted the beam in and the older man nodded and the younger man said nothing and went back to finished the work he had started before he took his break. When the others returned form the dock the older man stopped and looked at his watch and shook his head and then carried on. They did not look at him.            

            At the end of the day the men packed to leave.

            “What a day,” said the first.

            “Yep,” said another.

            “You coming?” asked first to the young man who was hammering still.

            “ After this.”

            “You know he doesn’t pay overtime?”

            “I know.”

            “Suit yourself. See you Monday.”

            An hour passed and his shoulders were sore and his neck was tired and his thumb bled from a bad swing and still he hammered the wall. From the other room the old man who owned the house still hammered and it filled the lake house with sharp bursts that dulled in to echo. Another hour passed and the young man had finished his wall and began to pack to leave and still the other hammer rang.

            “Are you going to leave?” asked the young man from the doorway.

            “After this wall is up,” said the old man.

            The young man picked up his hammer and held the other end of the board straight while the old man hammered nails in single swings.

            When the wall was finished they set down their hammers and stood before it and it was straight and perfect and strong and their arms were sore and their mouths were dry. Though they ached they were finished and finally they were content and they were free.

"A VERY SHORT STORY"


Ernest Hemingway

One hot evening in Padua they carried him up onto the roof and he could look out over the top of the town. There were chimney swifts in the sky. After a while it got dark and the searchlights came out. The others went down and took the bottles with them. He and Luz could hear them below on the balcony. Luz sat on the bed. She was cool and fresh in the hot night.

Luz stayed on night duty for three months. They were glad to let her. When they operated on him she prepared him for the operating table; and they had a joke about friend or enema. He went under the anaesthetic holding tight on to himself so he would not blab about anything during the silly, talky time. After he got on crutches he used to take the temperatures so Luz would not have to get up from the bed. There were only a few patients, and they all knew about it. They all liked Luz. As he walked back along the halls he thought of Luz in his bed.

Before he went back to the front they went into the Duomo and prayed. It was dim and quiet, and there were other people praying. They wanted to get married, but there was not enough time for the banns, and neither of them had birth certificates. They felt as though they were married, but they wanted everyone to know about it, and to make it so they could not lose it.

Luz wrote him many letters that he never got until after the armistice. Fifteen came in a bunch to the front and he sorted them by the dates and read them all straight through. They were all about the hospital, and how much she loved him and how it was impossible to get along without him and how terrible it was missing him at night.

After the armistice they agreed he should go home to get a job so they might be married. Luz would not come home until he had a good job and could come to New York to meet her. It was understood he would not drink, and he did not want to see his friends or anyone in the States. Only to get a job and be married. On the train from Padua to Milan they quarreled about her not being willing to come home at once. When they had to say good-bye, in the station at Milan, they kissed good-bye, but were not finished with the quarrel. He felt sick about saying good-bye like that.

He went to America on a boat from Genoa. Luz went back to Pordonone to open a hospital. It was lonely and rainy there, and there was a battalion of arditi quartered in the town. Living in the muddy, rainy town in the winter, the major of the battalion made love to Luz, and she had never known Italians before, and finally wrote to the States that theirs had only been a boy and girl affair. She was sorry, and she knew he would probably not be able to understand, but might some day forgive her, and be grateful to her, and she expected, absolutely unexpectedly, to be married in the spring. She loved him as always, but she realized now it was only a boy and girl love. She hoped he would have a great career, and believed in him absolutely. She knew it was for the best.

The major did not marry her in the spring, or any other time. Luz never got an answer to the letter to Chicago about it. A short time after he contracted gonorrhea from a sales girl in a loop department store while riding in a taxicab through Lincoln Park.


78 Word Short Story (Esquire Submission)

Curse Your Branches

At birth Adam killed his mother so his father left. Adam lived with his grandfather, but his grandfather’s hands wandered, so Adam decided to leave at eighteen. Adam met Kate at a bus stop in Kansas; she was his father’s age.

Adam moved in with her. He gave her a child. He worked and met Carla. Adam was only twenty-five, and Adam fell in love. Adam left one night without a word or note, just like his father.

100 Word Short Story

A Love Story

They were born on separate sides of the country in similar homes in similar towns. They met on a sidewalk in Chicago at a red light. The fell in love quickly and were married one weekend in Paris. They had four children all of whom were not without their own problems, though they loved them anyways. The lovers worked, saved, and then retired to travel. The argued, but made up often, even in old age. At eighty-nine she died first with him going later that same year. They were buried next to one another, forever in love.

(Source: dylanlenz.com)

From: Adoration

By: Dylan Lenz

In those fleeting moments before the sun would rise and set the eastern wood on fire and cast long thin shadows over the field of the birch trees that lined the back edge of the farm, I would smile at my mother. She would see me to the door, kiss my forehead, and then turn my shoulders to pack a few odds and ends she had found around the house into my canvas backpack. Today it was two pears from the tree in our wood, a spool of wire I had left on the table, and my pocketknife that I had spent the previous hour trying to find. She would pull the drawstring of the bag and close the clasp then lean against the back door until I had my boots tied. I would standup to kiss her cheek, swing my rifle over my shoulder, and then move to leave without a word. Quietly my mother would open the door a moment and let me out without letting the autumn air in.

We lived northeast of Ketchum, twenty minutes past the sprawl of the city where the farms lined the westbound highway that would take us to Boise in a few hours to see my brother who was studying agriculture, if we chose to drive out that way. We lived in the middle of the state, just under Sawtooth - but if you stood tall on the top of Berger’s Hill, and if the sky were clear enough from the July heat, you could make out the Teton’s to the east and see Yellowstone. At least that’s what my father had told me, though I had never climbed to the top of Berger’s Hill to see the Rocky Mountains.”

(Source: dylanlenz.com)

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