12 Dec 1937 / Hotel Florida, Madrid

When I received word from my former lover and current tanning consultant, Belisma Concepcion, that she was in need, I dropped everything and booked a steamer straight to Spain. No questions asked. And after 3 weeks of arduous travel I finally checked myself into the Hotel Florida. Apparently this war over here is real and not the elaborate sham I believed it to be, a sham to drive up the cost of authentic Spanish bull penises that are used as treats for discriminating dogs everywhere.

When I entered room 114, Belisma was nowhere to be found. She had obviously left in haste, as things such as scarves and papers were scattered in a hasty way. I found a letter, which read more or less in translation:

“Dear Bent, my lovely tan beast, I have had to make haste. I’m afraid I’ve made the wrong general cry. As I mentioned in the telegram, I'm in need of help. My cat needs caretaking. Her name is Pepita. I will contact you as soon as I’m able. Yours, Belisma.”

I stood holding the letter, the enormity of the situation falling on me in full force. I had never tended to a cat before and because I was whom she summoned for duty, I imagined it to be of the most noble and serious endeavors.

I steeled myself for the task and called out for Pepita. Listened, waited. No response. I called out again. Nothing. Already I was failing. But I could not fail Belisma! I searched the rooms and still came up empty (though I did find a beautiful collection of Spanish ascots).

I went next door to inquire about Pepita and who should open the door but Hemingway. World-class phony. He was gnawing on a bully stick.

My eyes blazed with rage (I’m assuming) and I tackled him with a snarling ferociousness, continuing our years-long disagreement over matters long since forgotten. He engaged with matching violence and we bear-wrestled for well over 4 hours.

It ended after we each had the other in an unmovable death grip and we agreed to resume first thing tomorrow morning.

I took to my room and poured myself a glass of Orujo, took a sip, and reflected on something I thought about during hour 2 of my brawl with Hemingway. Zelda [Fitzgerald -ed.] told me long ago she always suspected he fondled her cat. At the time, I thought that was just some weird metaphor from a boozy drunk. But now I wonder… Until tomorrow, I suppose…

(note: see the next entry from Madrid here.)