straight down the line

Were they really killers?

This week I was really excited to see that one of Hemmingway’s short stories was on the list of options we had to read. I had read a lot of his short stories my senior year of high school. I really didn’t appreciate them then but more and more lately I’ve been wondering if I just wasn’t old enough yet to appreciate them. In reading “The Killers” I definitely enjoyed Hemmingway’s style a lot more than I did in high school. However, the way he does the dialogue still confuses me some, especially with the limited characterization. I chose this story for my alternative ending writing assignment.

My ending begins (ha) just after Max and Al walk out of the diner.

They walk around to the back of the building and listen in on Nick, Sam, and George’s conversation. Max and Al looked to each other when they heard their plan to warn Ole Anderson. Just as Max started to open his mouth to speak,¬†Al smacked his jaw shut. He grabbed Max’s arm and they took off to follow Nick. They watched in silence as Nick entered the house.
“How much longer is the bright boy going to take?” Max said, teeth gritted.
“He’ll take his time just as is to be expected.” Al said.
“Quiet! There he is.”
Nick said goodnight to the landlady and walked outside. As he stood on the front yard, he choked up slightly. Then angrily ran off, frustrated by Ole Anderson’s complete apathy.
Max and Al slowly walked to the door. They greet the landlady and stated they were old friends of Ole Anderson. They solemnly walked upstairs to where Ole Anderson lay.
“Good evening, Ole Anderson.” Max said quietly.
“It’s about time you showed up. You two scared poor Nick half to death.” said Ole Anderson.
“How bad has it gotten?” Al inquired.
“Could always be worse.” said Ole Anderson, “Did you bring it?”
“Yes,” said Al, as he held out a filled syringe.
“Just get it over with.”

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