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Hemingway Adventure

Key West, Florida (sixth day)

Key West, Florida, USA 
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Schmoozing with the judges (all previous winners) at the Look-Alike competition.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureSeven o’clock in the evening outside Sloppy Joe’s and Kevin the cop is not a happy man. His chance to win the Hemingway Look-Alike competition at the eleventh attempt is only an hour away and Shine Forbes has not shown up.

‘Goddamit, where the hell is he?’ mutters Kevin, puffing nervously on his cigar, his eyes flicking over the growing crowd.

Kevin is not the only one of the twenty-four finalists to be displaying uncharacteristic jumpiness (though Hemingway himself once said that the only two things that really frightened him were snakes and public speaking). Most pace quietly up and down, like little boys before a school play. ‘Just talk loud and slow,’ one contender is counselled. Another sits quietly with his wife and daughter, dressed, like Kevin, in the all-white strip and red neckerchief of a Pamplona bull-runner, every now and then running his tongue over dry lips.

Meanwhile the judges, who are all previous winners, are behaving with the assurance and swagger of those who know they have the destinies of others in their hands. Wearing medal ribbons round their necks, they’re photographed and eyed-up and accorded all the guarded respect of school prefects.

Kevin’s loyal friend Devin is quite sure that the secret of a Hemingway winner is social. The oligarchy of previous winners who run the Look-Alike Society are searching not for a Hemingway replica but for someone they’ll all get on with. According to Devin this counts Kevin out.
Key West, Florida, USA 
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Kevin gets psyched up for his eleventh attempt at the title.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Key West, Florida (sixth day)
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Key West, Florida
  • Book page no: 154

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