The guy was a loser. He had been out there for nearly three months and by now epitomized the old saying that fishing was the act of drowning worms. Worse, the kid’s mother thinks the guy is a pervert. I mean, what else could he be doing with the boy out on a little dingy? It certainly couldn’t be fishing; not one dang fish even looked at his bait, never mind took the hook. Now the kid is making a killing with the other guy. And to rub salt in his wounds, the kid mocked him by helping him tie up his crappy boat every day. The whole town looked at him with pity, just waiting for him to die so they could sell his mooring to someone less pathetic.
[The above is a rewrite of the beginning to “The Old Man and the Sea” by Earnest Hemingway.” The original is:]
“He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week. It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around the mast. The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.”
[The prompt was: Using prose or poetry, rewrite some famous piece of literature, poetry, opera, or song. Not the whole thing, obviously, just a sampling of a few paragraphs, stanzas, or verses. Make it your work. (Include the original text so readers can compare them.)]
David J. Kent is an avid traveler and the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, in Barnes and Noble stores late summer 2017. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.