My sister Alicia won second place and $400 worth of shoes in the Manoloâ€™s Super Fantastic Essay Contest with this short story:
Hemingway Loves Shoes
by Alicia DiDonato
It is night in Cuba and the young soldier drinks on the porch. Absinthe mixed with sugar is his ruin. It is sweet like the darkness and sultry like the periodista americana and her shoes. He thinks of carmine heels glimmering like blood spilled by a matador on a dirty dance floor, and remembers rounded toes like wine pooling on a walnut table in a Parisian cafe, and an arch as good and shapely as any heâ€™d ever seen. He thinks of the click clack. His fever rises from her shoes.
â€œErnesto,â€ he says.
His companion turns. â€œSi?â€ The old man asks. His skin is leathery, like soft brown Manolos from last season.
â€œShe and her shoesâ€¦ will they destroy me?â€
â€œThey always do,â€ sneers Ernesto.
The young man looks at the stars. They twinkle like diamonds on Beverly Feldman sandals, worn the sensuous cubana from the small smoky whisky bar. He thinks of other stars he saw from the trenches, and the glints of light on his bayonet, sharp as the points of Jimmy Choos, but then always he comes back to her americana legs ending in those red, red shoes of death and he knows he is already gone, a victim. He loves her. He loves death.
â€œYou are a dead man,â€ says Ernesto.
â€œOnly by the stiletto of her heels.â€ He rises, drains his drink. I have known better women, he thinks, but none with heels of Prada. He walks into the night and his doom.