Hills, Not Quite, Like White Elephants

Hills, Not Quite, Like White Elephants

A Story by Malenkov
"

Hemmingway's original story.

"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hills, Not Quite, Like White Elephants

by

Malenkov

 

 

"If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water."

" Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

 

 

                                    


 

                       THE HILLS ACROSS THE VALLEY OF Richmond were long and white and full. On this side a woman pushed a pram under the shade of the station waiting room. The Englishman and the girl with him sat on a bench inside the station waiting room, which was full of people. Close against the side of the room was a counter, where an old man stood handing beer to a customer. It was very hot and the express from Paddington would come in forty minutes. It stopped at this station for two and a half minutes and went on to Clapham Common Junction.

“What should we drink,” the girl asked. She had taken off her bonnet and put in on her lap.

“It’s ruddy hot,” the man said.

“Let’s drink beer.”

Dos Cervesas,” the man said to the counter.

“We don’t have none of that foreign stuff here,” the man at the counter said. He hawked and spat on the floor.

Two Baby Chams then,” the man said.

“Baby Chams?” the old man said.

The girl flinched.

“It’s like a cocktail. But fizzy.”

“See what I can do.” The old man rinsed a metal container and took it in the back room. He said something under his breath.

There was a sound of rattling and sloshing and hawking.

“You could be a bit sensitive like,” the girl said.

The old man brought two glasses and two beer mats. He put the mats and the glasses on the table and hawked and spat. The woman pushed her glass to one side and the man drank. Through the window, the girl was looking off at the line of hills. They were white in the sun and the station waiting room buzzed with talk.

“They look like white elephants,” the girl said.

“You what?” The man looked at her sidelong and drank his Baby Cham.

“Like the ones in London Zoo.”

The man crossed his arms. “And what do you mean with ‘I’m not sensitive’?”

“You ordering that and what with where we’re going and all.”

“Oh, you mean -”

The girl put a finger to her lip. “Not here.”

“Why not?”

“Please.” The girl looked at the woman with a summer dress on and the boy sitting opposite.

“I don’t care what others think. If you want to, it’s your business, alright? Lots of others do it, too.”

The girl had red cheeks and turned her eyes to the ceiling. She moved on the seat.

“It’s a free country.”

“Ssshhhh!”

“Disgraceful,” the woman in a dress said under her breath.

The man pointed a finger in the air. “She can do what she wants.”

The woman in the dress pursed her lips and looked to a man in a pinstripe suit standing next to her.

The man with the girl said something under his breath. “It’s the twentieth century.”

The girl fanned her face with a hand. “Not here, Alfie.”

“Georgina. It’s only a little thing I tell ya.”

The girl cupped her forehead in her hands. “Alfie, please.”

“Everyone does it. It’s a little thing. What’s so bad if you do it? It’s not like you should care about it.”

A man in a pinstripe suit ruffled his paper. “Do you mind, sir, with that language?” He looked at the boy. “There are children present.”

The man with the girl shook his head. “Strewth! As if it’s a crime.”

The old man at the counter looked at the white hills and leaned his head to one side. “’Suppose they do a bit.”

“What?” said the man with the girl.

“See a bit like them. White elephants. When you look at ‘em right like.”

The train came. The train was gun grey and red and long and cut the tracks like a knife. The tracks slid into the dark hole of a tunnel in the distance. The hills could not be seen through the glare of the sun on the train’s sides.

The man with the girl walked out the door of the station. “Do it then. See if I care.”

The girl climbed on the train with the woman in the dress.

Both the girl and the woman next to her on the train had red cheeks. The woman in the dress whistled. The girl whistled as well.

Both women looked down at a spot on the floor.

“It’s certainly hot today, isn’t it?” said the woman.

“It sure is. They said as much, didn’t they?” said the girl.

“About twenty or more, you’d suppose?”

“Yes they said that, on the radio, didn’t they?”

The woman in the dress looked out the window along the line of hills going past. “You know, they do, now that I think about it.”

The train whistle was sounding. The whistle was loud and was crying like a long wail.

The girl held her head down. The girl was listening. And she was looking outside the window at a tunnel. The tunnel cut into the earth of a brown red cliff. The girl was watching the train that was sliding into the black hole and she was listening to the air that was rushing in the tunnel. She was listening to the sound of the whistle dying in the tunnel.


 

--END--

 


© 2010 Malenkov



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Hey Malenkov, I liked this short but I think for the most part the satire escaped me. Hemingway's Hills like white Elephants was a very broad piece that is still talked about and kids in school are still put at a desk to write papers discerning the nuances of the original. So writing a piece that plays on the original will definitley cause the reader to miss some of the more humorus aspects of the piece.

I do think it ws written well and in style with the original, I wonder if it had a little bit more length for the situation to develop I would have understood a little more of the humor you put into it. I don't know. I'm gonna go back and read it after I read the original again.

Let me know if you have any questions I can answer for you.

Gabe

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Interesting write, well penned. Thanks for sharing

Posted 2 Years Ago


You caught Hemingway's style well, and the parody was on the money. The Hemingway quote as an introduction made me laugh - he really was full of himself, the poor man. The ordering of the Baby Chams was SO true to the parodied author, and I give you kudos for finally writing a Hemingway story in which the male, not the female, is clueless. Enjoyed this a lot.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I can visualize the whole thing. That is how well the words have been able to immerse the visual of the story.

I have not read Hemingway's piece so I would not be able to discern the difference. I did enjoy the work, it was written well.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A very interesting piece. I realize it was written a while ago and the reviews are at least seven months old. I found it while looking for some literary fiction. It appears you've heard about everything critical you need to hear.

I have to say I enjoyed reading the piece. It's style, especially the tempo of the dialogue, is a good Hemingway parody. Subtle. I have some disagreements with Magnolia Belle's comments concerning the substitutions, chided, grumbled, and at the end, "They do look like white elephants" The last one pulls down the mystery and the pace. These are my preferences. The grammatical and syntactical corrections she made are fine.

I'm going to read more of your work.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

a very stylized write - almost lyrical in the repetition at the end - I found myself floating away with the image and sound conveyed....train whistling off in the distance. I am a lover of dialogue and found the conversation intrigquing as it moved the story along.
Well done.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delicate, sensitive and yet powerful!

Everything is subtle and inferred. The talent of Malenkov is here very obvious even if it is a story from Hemingway. He shows a different side of his writing skills: more serene and yet possessing an understated energy. The choice of the words is unusual but it is coherent with the topic and can be read pleasantly! Very well written indeed!



Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A fine rendition of a classic prose. A bit confusing, of course, but when one does a parody, it can be lost on the reader unless they understand it.

I only saw a few 'techinical' issues that, if fixed, will make it flow a bit better and read easier. I hope this helps.

----

We dont have none of that foreign stuff here. The man at the counter said. He hawked and spat on the floor.

Should be - here, the man at the counter said.

Whenever there is a speaking word after the quotes you should begin it with a lowercase.

Baby Chams?(chams?" the) The old man said.

You could be a bit sensitive like.(like," the) The girl said.


----

The old man brought two glasses and two beer mats. He put the mats and the glasses on the table and hawked and spat.

try---He put the mats and the glasses on the table, hawked and spat.

----

The man looked at her sidelong and drank his Baby Cham.

try -- The man gave her a sidelong glance and drank his Baby Cham.

----

The train came. The train was gun grey and red and long and cut the tracks like a knife.

A few less 'ands'.

The train(arrived instead?) came. It was gun grey, red, long and cut the tracks like a knife.

Too many of the same word in one sentence or paragraph.

----

The train whistle was sounding. The whistle was loud and was crying like a long wail.

Try -

The train whistle was sounding, loud and crying like a long wail.

----






Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Hey Malenkov, I liked this short but I think for the most part the satire escaped me. Hemingway's Hills like white Elephants was a very broad piece that is still talked about and kids in school are still put at a desk to write papers discerning the nuances of the original. So writing a piece that plays on the original will definitley cause the reader to miss some of the more humorus aspects of the piece.

I do think it ws written well and in style with the original, I wonder if it had a little bit more length for the situation to develop I would have understood a little more of the humor you put into it. I don't know. I'm gonna go back and read it after I read the original again.

Let me know if you have any questions I can answer for you.

Gabe

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Malenkov hi! I read this several times, trying to understand. Some of it is a bit too subtle for me to get the entire picture. Perhaps bonnet is a modern day term in England, but it threw me. Here in the states, it made me think of the 1800s or earlier. So, I immediately went to the wrong time period.

Then, I didnt understand why the mink-coat lady took umbrage at the conversation between the man and girl. They hadnt said anything in reference to an abortionunless, of course, I missed it (which is entirely possible for me. ;p)

I wondered at the reference to white elephants. It brought to mind no one wanting to discuss the elephant in the room. Im not sure if thats what you were getting at, but thats where I went with it. I also wondered at the relationship between the man and girl. Is he her father? Or the father of the unborn baby?

Anyway, below are my notes and nitpicks. I hope they help, at least a little.


THE HILLS ACROSS THE VALLEY OF Richmond were long and white and full-bellied. On this side, a woman pushed a pram under the shade of the station waiting room. The Englishman and the girl with him sat on a bench inside the station waiting room , which was full of people. Close against the side of the room was ran a counter, where an old man stood handing handed beer to a customer in the sweltering heat. It was very hot and The express from Paddington would come in forty minutes.

What should we drink? the girl asked. She had taken took off her bonnet and put it on her lap.

Its ruddy hot, the man said.

Dos Cervesas, the man said ordered to the counter.

We dont have none of that foreign stuff here, the counter-man at the counter said replied. He hawked and spat on the floor.

Two Baby Chams, then, the man said.

Baby Chams? the old man said echoed.

He said grumbled under his breath, Arse.

There was Sounds of rattling and sloshing and hawking came from the back.

You could be a bit sensitive like, the girl said chided.

Through the window, the girl was looking looked off at the line of hills . They were white in the sun. and The station waiting room buzzed with talk.

You what? The man looked at her side long (sidelong is one word) and drank his Baby Cham.

And what do you mean with Im not sensitive?

You ordering that and what with where were going and all.

I dont care what others think. If you want to, its your bloody business, alright? Lots of others do it, too.

The girls had red cheeks flamed red and she turned her eyes to the ceiling. She moved on the seat.

Disgraceful, the woman with a mink coat said under her breath. (Question: why does the woman say disgraceful? The man and girl havent said anything disgraceful, yet. Oh, and why is she wearing a mink coat in the heat?)

The old counter-man at the counter looked at the white hills and leaned his head to one side. Suppose they do a bit.

What? said asked the man.

Seem a bit like them. White elephants. When you look at em right like.

A man in a pin stripe (pinstripe is one word) suite suit coughed and ruffled his paper. Do you mind, sir? He looked at the boy. And in front of children, too.

The man walked to the door of the station. Chuck it away then. See if I care. (Which man is this? The one with the newspaper?)

The woman in the coat whistled. The girl whistled as well. (Why are they whistling? That strikes me as odd.)

It sure is. They said as much, didnt they? said the girl.

Yes, they said that, on the radio, didnt they? (Delete comma after that)

You know, they do look like elephants, now that I think about it.

Belle




Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 3 people found this review constructive.

I'm sorry about how Khruschev and Bulganin chucked you aside...very nice parody of Hemingway, especially nice idea using this particular story, which is one of the better examples of how he cuold be a little too spare with his prose sometimes. My only complaint is that the humor is just a very little bit too broad at times. Still, that a nit-pick with a fine take-off on Papa's work.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on February 6, 2008
Last Updated on August 10, 2010
Tags: short story, humor, parody, fiction

Author

Malenkov
Malenkov

Frankfurt, Germany, Hessen, Germany



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I'm a Brit, a child born to the war, the Angolan civil war my mother escaped from. So I grew up in the shadow of London--Small town of Ilford, Essex, right on the end of London’s Zone 6. Portu.. more..

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