Trash Like White Elephants

by

01/20/2002

100 India Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn ny 11222

Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Greenpoint

There is a man who looks just like Hemingway who lives on India Street in Brooklyn in a building called the Astral, a dismal place with huge arching windows to remind you of its past glamour as an apartment building for international sailors (Mae West is said to have been born there). He lives right above a woman named Maria who cuts people’s hair in her apartment. This man, who I always call “Hemingway”, spends every day, all day long, looking through the trashcans on India Street for objects that he is interested in. Whenever he finds something that he likes, he puts it into a basket that is tied to a string leading up to his apartment. He then calls up to his son, Aristotle, who sticks his head out from the window, screams back in acknowledgment, and pulls the basket up to the apartment. Both are equally excited by the finds.

One day I went up to Hemingway, as he was carefully sorting out pieces of a broken mirror from a bent-up tin of macaroni and cheese, and I told him how much I liked his beard. I don’t know why I had the urge to do this. Perhaps I felt the need to interrupt his persistent activity, to see if he was capable of being distracted and responding to something other than a piece of trash. He slowly turned towards me and made a sound that was a definite expression of disgust and told me that he didn’t care for his beard that much after all. He said the only reason he keeps it is because a woman down the street pays him eight dollars a week not to shave it off. This left me feeling even more curious than I had been before. So now when I look out the window at Hemingway I think about the woman instead of the trash.

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§ 2 Responses to “Trash Like White Elephants”

  • JohnnyThinslow says:

    I would pay him $8.50 a week to shave it off. One Hemingway was more than enough. To see that face is to be reminded of all the lions the son of a bitch killed, and for what? And what a mess he made when he stuck the rifle into his mouth and pulled the trigger. Before the lions, the game he should have gone for first was Hemingway.

  • I would have paid him $8.50 a week to shave it off and keep it off. One Hemingway was more than enough. Think of all the lions that son of a bitch killed. And for what? And what a mess he made when he went after smaller game and stuck a rifle into his own mouth.

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