Aloha All,

As Tom Petty once said, the waiting is the hardest part.


A huge thank you to everyone for waiting along with me for Lost in the Fog to get published.  I figured by now I would be able to provide a date when you’ll receive your copies of my book, but as they say here in Hawaii, “no can”.  I reached out to Inkshares just before Thanksgiving and still no news. 

However they reiterated my book was next to go into the queue for publication.  It’s going to happen, but more patience is needed.  I’m so excited to share Lost in the Fog with you, and as soon as I have more information on the timeline, I will let you know.

In the meantime, I wish everyone Happy Holidays!   I also have a new blog post to share, which you can read by clicking the link below.  It’s the story of my misadventures trying to get home for the holidays eighteen years ago.  Traveling in December 2000 was a lot different than it is now ....


“Time flies. It’s up to you to be the navigator.” - Robert Orben

Aloha All,

It’s hard to believe it was almost three months ago that I submitted my novel Lost in the Fog to Inkshares!

Summer had just started, Elon Musk had yet to smoke marijuana on a live show, and nobody cared what the word “boof” meant.  I guess a lot can happen in 90 days. 

In early July I had just finished the developmental edit of Lost in the Fog, where I had worked tirelessly  whenever I could find free time with a very talented editor to significantly improve my manuscript.  I was ecstatic back then, as submitting the new version of the book to the publisher was a huge milestone!  But as I wrote in my last update, Inkshares is small publishing house and they only have the ability to work on 1-2 books per month.  I knew I had to wait my turn.   

I finally have great news to share …  Lost in the Fog is next in the queue to start the publication process!

While I still don’t have an exact timeline and I cannot yet give you a publication date, we’re another step closer.  I would say early 2019 is looking very good.  Once Inkshares begins to work on Lost in the Fog and I have more detailed information, you’ll be the first to know!

I’m also very happy to share with you that I have been writing the sequel to Lost in the Fog.  Here’s the pitch:

An investigative reporting team from San Francisco must discover why a religious cult in Honolulu wants to assassinate them.

I’ve lived in Hawaii for the last six years, and I am super excited to set the new Camden and Veronica Mystery in the place I’m honored to call home.  While we wait for Lost in the Fog to go through the publication process with Inkshares and get into your hands, finishing the sequel is now my top priority.  My ultimate goal is to create at least a trilogy with these characters, but hopefully a longer series featuring Camden and Veronica where each novel will take place in a different location.  I’m already thinking Paris for the third book …

 Mahalo again for your support!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!



“Most people are scared of those things that don’t sit still and pose for our official portrait of reality.”                                         -Tom Robbins, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

Aloha All,

Some great news to share that is tempered with a dose of reality and sprinkled with the dust of a hard drinking pixie.  After more than six months of working to improve the characters, story, and structure of Lost in the Fog, I finally finished the development edit.  Caroline Tolley, my editor, has helped make the book the best it can be.

The manuscript is now in the queue for publication with Inkshares!

The reality is the publisher is small and can only work on one to two books at a time, so I need to wait my turn.  Completely understandable (I took longer to finish the development edit so I’m to blame for being pushed back in the queue), but still a bit of a bummer.  I feel the book is ready to go (it’s been heavily edited), but the process is the process.  They are estimating it to start in September. 

The pixie dust is the sheer fact that Lost in the Fog is being published.  For something I started in 2004, finished the first draft in 2008, and then mostly abandoned until last year, I’m just happy to be at this point.  Making me smile even more, is that I’m not publishing my book on my own, I’m getting it in print because of all of you.  I needed at least 250 pre-orders for Inkshares to help me realize my dream, and I accomplished that with your awesome help.

If the publication process starts in September, there’s still a chance Lost in the Fog reaches your hands by the end of the year.  Though that might be too optimistic, and it’s never good to over promise and under deliver.   You’ve all been so amazingly patient, and we’re almost at the finish line.  Once I have more information on the publication date (or even a better estimate), I will share it with you immediately. 

But I hope you’ll raise a glass and toast with me that we’re one step closer.  Thank you and mahalo!


"How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?"

- Dr. Seuss

 Aloha All,

It’s almost impossible to believe it’s been over five months since my last update on Lost in the Fog.  But here we are.  Working with a development editor has been an amazing and enriching experience, and my novel will be so much better for it.  But it’s also been mind numbing how long it’s taken me to finish!

If I didn’t have a full-time job that consumed most of my time, I would have completed the final version of Lost the Fog months ago.   I am certain of that.  But of course, that is just a convenient excuse, and I know I could have carved out more minutes, hours, and days to work on it.  Playing the role of Sigmund Freud, maybe there’s some perverse part of me that doesn’t want to be done . . . this is, after all, a book I’ve been working on for more than a decade.  Finally letting go of it is both exciting and terrifying. 

But I promise you I will, and very soon.

My editor Caroline completed her second round of edits back in March, and I’ve been working (slowly, as explained previously) on my final version of the manuscript ever since.  This weekend was a big one for me, and I made significant progress.  My goal is to turn Lost in the Fog to Inkshares by the end of the month.

From there we have the final copy edit by the publisher, the galley proof revisions before the book goes to the printer, and the cover art and publication process.  I’m still hoping for late 2018 for you to get your hands on Lost in the Fog, and once I have a better idea of the actual date, you’ll be the first to know. 

As always, thank you so much for your support!  Mahalo! 


20170617 173447 %281%29 Michael Ostrowski · Author · added over 1 year ago
Thanks, Dean!  Happy New Year to you as well, and can’t wait to get my copy of "Murder Happens"!!  
Dean fearce dean fearce · Author · added over 1 year ago
Caroline’s web site is impressive. And she went to Skidmore. Happy New Year, Mike! Looking forward to Lost in the Fog in 2018.

Aloha All,

I hope you are enjoying this holiday season, and are getting the chance to spend it with friends and family!  With one more day until 2018, this seemed a good opportunity to check in with a brief update on Lost in the Fog, my book you graciously pre-ordered/followed.

And I finally have some good news to share! 

For the last month I have been working with an editor, the extremely talented and sagacious Caroline Tolley.   Her resume is beyond impressive (please click on the link and check out all the great books she has edited), and I am very lucky to have her in my corner.  A few weeks ago she returned her first round edit of Lost in the Fog, which was filled with terrific advice to make it a better book.

Caroline’s development notes were overwhelmingly positive on the story, characters, pacing, and plot.  She said overall the book was in great shape.  Her feedback for improvement was mostly in the narration: specifically, the 3rd person narrator (while often humorous) impeded the reader from bonding with Camden and Veronica.  This also caused a ripple effect where these two main characters did not share enough internal thoughts.  I also have some tone ambiguity I need to work on.

I agree with my editor’s evaluation, and these necessary changes will be relatively minor in scope. 

I just need to find the time to do them. 

This month nearly every night has been a holiday party for work and friends, and I’ve also had visitors and long days spent in the office for my job that pays the bills.  No complaints at all, as I’ve been having a lot of fun and finding satisfaction in my work.  But I’ve been eager to dig into my rewrite based on Caroline’s notes, and I finally was able to make some progress this past week.

I plan to keep this momentum going, and mid-January should be a realistic timeline for me to finish my rewrite and submit it back to her. 

The next step in the process is for Caroline to do one more edit.  I’ll then take that, make the required adjustments, and Inkshares will do a final “line edit”.  This is exactly what the name implies- someone will go line-by-line to ensure everything is proper, perfect, and ready for publication.

I’ll keep everyone updated as I hit key milestones, and I hope to get Lost in the Fog to all of you by late summer/early fall of 2018.  But the date is unfortunately out of my control.  Whether you’re an established best-selling author or someone like me, unlike the instantaneous click/like/tweet of our culture, the publishing process is plodding and requires patience.  But I’m so glad to have you all with me on this.  

As the clock ticks down on 2017, I will humbly once again say thank you and mahalo for your support! Simply put, Lost in the Fog would not be getting published without your help.  I wish you all a Happy New Year, and success and happiness in 2018!! 


Hi All,

I’m long overdue for some news about Lost in the Fog, so here we go!

First, I must express my continued gratitude.  Because of all of you, my novel surpassed the 250-pre-order requirement (272 thus far) and will be published by Inkshares!  Your support brings a ginormous smile to my face, and I am beyond grateful.  For years I’ve wanted to share Lost in the Fog with the world, and I will be able to do it because of you.  Merci beaucoup, danke schoen, arigato, mahalo nui loa, and thank you!

Second, I want to provide an update to the question you all have: when will I receive my copy of Lost in the Fog?   While I wish I could give it to you right now, unfortunately the world of book publishing moves at a slower pace.  Here’s a recent example.  Robin Sloane, author of the outstanding best seller Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (which I highly recommend), announced to his fans on July 15, 2016 he had finished a new novel.  On September 5th of this year, Sloane’s Sourdough will be released to the world.   

For those of you who don’t want to do the math, that’s almost 14 months from completion to publication for an author who just had a best seller. 

While I’ve yet to have a best seller, the goal is to get Lost in the Fog to you a whole lot sooner.   Here is where I am with the process.  While I’ve gone through so many drafts of my novel that I’ve lost count, I am still working on one more.  When that is finished I send it off to the publisher, and then they assign an editor to work on it with me.

The editing process can take several months, and then there’s the cover, the clean-up of the final version, printing, marketing, and distribution.  This meticulous process will be done to produce the best possible version of my book.  Because you should never over-promise and under-deliver, my goal for Lost in the Fog is that it will be published next summer. 

Inkshares is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I plan on flying back there to sign every book before they ship.  So while a little patience is in order, I’m happy to report that everyone who pre-ordered a paperback will receive a personalized signed copy!

Third part to this update: as we walk down the long and winding road to publication, I will keep you informed along the way and hopefully have some fun with it.  I plan to share with you, the ones who have made Lost in the Fog possible, special items akin to DVD/Blu-ray extras.  Here’s a sneak preview.

In the beginning of Lost in the Fog (which you can check out right now on the "Read" tab), the main character Camden takes the Caltrain (the commuter rail) from San Carlos into the city of San Francisco.  Here is what he sees and thinks that morning:

Tired and hungover, he could only stare slack jawed at the lavender and pink clouds which appeared to be crashing like waves over to the East Bay sky.  Camden couldn’t get it out of his mind that he was a yo-yo.  Slung up the Peninsula to San Francisco in the morning, he was suspended there in a “walk the dog” move for the day.  As the sun set the giant wrist flicked and he returned to his home thirty-five miles south of the city.

 At the Caltrain Depot in San Francisco, Camden exited with the mass of commuters and began his usual walk up Fourth Avenue…….   

Below are some pictures of what Camden would have seen as he approached the San Francisco station on that morning, and also the view of when he exited the train to walk to his job as a gallery attendant.  Back when I was writing the first draft, commuting into the city was my life.  Those thirty-five to fifty-five minutes (it all depended on whether it was an express or a local), I used to spend working on Lost in the FogThat time on the train fueled my creativity and was very important to me. 

Thank you all again, and looking forward to sharing more updates soon!



Hi All,

In case you missed it, here is my book trailer for Lost in the Fog.  

I’m so grateful for everyone who has pre-ordered my book!   For those followers who haven’t yet had the chance,  would be so appreciative it you could!



Hi All,

As a thank you for helping me reach 250 pre-orders, I wanted to share with you a short story of mine called "Moving Art".  

It has absolutely nothing to do with Lost in the Fog and was written years before my novel, but in my head I picture Patrick, the main character in the story, being Camden Swanson’s brother.  And maybe I"ll have the two of them meet up in the Lost in the Fog sequel that I just started writing (which will be set in Hawaii).  

This short story is about Patrick and Jill, two college seniors on their Spring Break in Mexico.  There’s a bullfight, talk of Hemingway, the chasing of expectations at the expense of reality, and a young couple trying to figure out if they’ll continue their relationship after graduation.

If you have some time to read it, I hope you will enjoy!  Thank you again!!! 

Moving Art

A Short Story by Michael Ostrowski

Jill and I sat on the hotel patio overlooking the Yucatan Channel, inhaling the salt from the ocean and tasting the lime on the rim of our beers. The sun was everywhere, glaring off the azure water, scorching pink noses and toes, and igniting sweat on bodies that were used to winter.  It was Happy Hour and we each had a bucket of Coronas in front of us.  I had ordered dos cervezas, but somehow the mustachioed waiter brought three beers apiece. 

“You know I’ve always wanted to see a bullfight,” I said. 

“Ever since reading The Sun Also Rises . . . such a cliche,” Jill said. 

“It’s my favorite book.”

“Fuck Hemingway. What about the bull?” she asked. 

“Do you give a shit about the thousands of cows slaughtered every day to make Big Macs? At least before the bull goes to the butcher’s table here, he’s taking part in a ritual that has been around since the Seventh Century.”

“Yah, yah, yah, Patrick. You get all your opinions from novels and movies.” 

“It’s supposed to be man and bull becoming one. That’s something I want to see live, in person."

“I feel sorry for you,” she said. 

Jill and I had been together since sophomore year. She knew I had read The Sun Also Rises half a dozen times and I had published an essay on Death in The Afternoon in our college newspaper. But when we were booking our Spring Break trip I never revealed to her there was bullfighting in Cancun, had never brought it up until today. 

When I finally told her she said, “Hemingway wrote about them in Spain.” 

I had researched the Cancun bullfights in a Boston coffee shop, the snow swirling around outside the window. I was not going to let this opportunity pass. The bullfights were only held on Wednesdays, and it was Tuesday afternoon in Cancun. 

Several girls in bikinis had climbed up on the bar and had begun dancing, their tanned and taut bodies gyrating to a rap song.  A few guys, equally bronze and fit, joined them.  I instinctively sucked in my belly.   

When we had first arrived at sunrise, after we had an awful six-hour delay at Logan airport, I had gone for a swim while Jill slept. The blonde on the bar had flashed her breasts at me while I was in the water.

“Patrick, could you give me the courtesy of not starting at them while I’m right next to you?” she asked. 

“You wanted to come here.”

“If you mention you wanted to go to Key West one more time, I’ll strangle you. Yes, I was the one who picked Cancun.

“If you got up they’d all be staring at you.” 

Jill narrowed her eyes at me and took a sip of beer. “If Brett Ashley lived in our times, do you think she’d be up on the bar?” she asked. 

I did not answer the question. Jill finished her beer, shoved the empty bottle back into the ice, and began drinking another. The condensation from the bottle dripped on her arm. I flagged the waiter down and ordered two shots of tequila.

“All right, if we go to your Hemingway shit we’re not going to those stupid ruins,” Jill said. “And yeah, when we watched Against All Odds, I did say Tulum looked beautiful. But we’re seniors. This is our last Spring Break ever. I want quality time lying on the beach and I don’t want to have to drive a hundred hours in some Mexican deathtrap car to see some Incan stones."


“If you tell me they’re Mayan, I swear I’ll throw this bucket at your head. It’s March and it’s 15 degrees and snowing in Boston. I have six days in this city, and I’m going to get a tan.”

“But you’ll go to the bullfight?” I asked. 

The waiter arrived with the shots. I held up mine close to Jill, and after a few seconds she clinked my glass. She flashed a faint smile and then looked at the fit guy walking past us who wasn’t wearing a shirt. 

“Let’s go see the fucker get murdered,” she said.


Coming from the hotel zone, the bullring was located at the end of the strip on the left side. We were about an hour early so we stayed to the right and ambled down dusty Tulum Avenue. I couldn’t focus on the people or buildings we passed. I wanted to see that bull. 

After grabbing a quick bite to eat I bought our tickets from a street vendor sitting behind a white clapboard shack with “Toro” painted in red, and we headed toward our destination. As Jill and I turned the corner and started down Bonampak Avenue, I could see the pale maroon, stucco bullring looming over the trees and bushes that flanked either side of the structure at the end of the road. Many people streamed toward the bullring. There was a crowd at the entrance. 

“It kind of reminds me of walking down Brookline Avenue to Fenway Park,” I said.

“Of course you’d say that.” 

But it did feel that way. Walking with a large group, in the kind of heat and humidity you’d find on a typical August day in Boston, to watch an event steeped in history and tradition. Being outside the ring created the same type of atmosphere, one of anticipation and excitement. 

"Except, instead of a homerun sailing over the Green Monster,” she said, “we’re going to watch an animal get stabbed to death with a sword.” 

After traversing through the line the guy took our boletos, and I got a taste of what attending a bullfight was like during Hemingway’s time. The clay walls, the dirt floor, the pungent odor of . . . 

“This place reeks of shit,” Jill said. 

To reach the seats you had to walk through the actual ring where the bull would be killed. There was only reason why: they wanted you to buy things. Souvenir stands hawking anything from tacky matador hats to the kind of plastic bulls you might find in Epcot’s Spain at Disney World. My vision of Hemingway’s sacred country collapsed, replacing it was the reality of American commercialism. 

“How much did you pay for these tickets?” she asked. 

Cancun was a town built solely for the tourist industry, and I shouldn’t have been surprised. But the mystique of the corridas del toros and its roots in Spanish culture were enough for me to think it couldn’t be spoiled, that it was hallowed grounds and not to be corrupted.

“I’m sure Papa bought t-shirts with bulls on them when he went to Pamplona,” Jill said with a laugh. 

I wanted the Hemingway adventure, and I would do my best to achieve it. If only to spite Jill. So I made a conscious decision to ignore the tourist atmosphere and concentrate on the actual bullfight.

It wasn’t easy. Soon after the souvenir stands were dismantled inside the ring, vendors swarmed into the stands, peddling the same hokey merchandise. To make matters worse we had taken a seat on the first row on the balcony; this was a mistake because the hawkers continuously disturbed our sightline to make their rounds. 

I still tried to block out the rampant commercialism. The bulls would be coming soon, and I could focus on what mattered in the ring. Besides, the crowd was more that fifty percent local, and if they could tolerate the marketing so could I. 

When the opening ceremonies commenced I began to relax. A group of dancers emerged from the tunnels and launched into a routine accompanied by the frantic beating of drums. Clad in elaborate silver and gold costumes, they did a series of flips and spins that the crowd showed their appreciation through yells and applause. After their finale a portly man, dressed in cowboy garb and wearing an enormous sombrero, did rope tricks. Big loops to small loops, he repeated the show as he glided around the bullring. 

From the polite claps the audience obviously preferred the dancers. Or maybe they had become restless, anxiously awaiting the bull’s entrance. They wouldn’t have to wait much longer. 

The English translation, corrida de torros, is bullfight, but aficionados will tell you that is a misnomer. They feel uncomfortable calling it a fight because it isn’t a pugilistic affair at all. I read aloud to Jill from the program: 

The bullfight is actually moving art. A man using his courage, risks life to create art.” 

“When are we actually going to see the bull?” Jill asked. “I’m hungover as shit and I don’t think I’m going to last too long here.” 

I shrugged and focused on the ring. After waiting a couple of minutes and enduring several sighs from Jill, the bull arrived. It bolted out of the box and darted into the center of it. Long horns, expansive hump, and from the haughtiness he displayed by stopping directly in the middle of the spectacle, this guy had determination.

Shouts of “toro, toro, toro” rang down in appreciation. It was almost as if the bull was playing with us when he refused to charge, opting instead for the dramatic pause. We waited anxiously for the beast to make a move.

If you blinked, you would have missed it. With breathless agility, the bull shot at one of the banderlillos, the matador’s assistants who play an important part later on in the ceremony. The young man had been yelling at the animal, and wanting to see his next paycheck, he quickly hopped over the partition to safety. Never breaking stride, the bull turned as if on skates and charged at another banderillo, who followed in his partner’s path.

I was completely enthralled, and even Jill watched intently. The bull had enticed us into his world, given us a rush; everything else, spring break, girls in bikinis, margaritas on the beach, the cheap souvenirs, receded. That is why I was so disturbed by the voice. It came across the speakers and radiated, in English, throughout the ring.

It told us the next stage of the event was ready, and then proceeded to explain what would happen. I was annoyed, but not surprised, that they’d have an announcer to hold the tourist’s hand. For someone who had no clue, it was probably a good thing. But for the person who had done their homework, someone who came to witness “moving art”, the voice was an intrusion.

I could only imagine what the locals thought. Maybe they found the announcer amusing. Maybe they didn’t understand a word he said. At this point I didn’t care. Blocking out the distractions was effort enough. 

So there was the announcer, telling the crowd what was coming next. Because of Hemingway, I already knew. After showcasing the bull, it was now time for the picadors to work on the bull. Riding horseback, the pic’s job is to weaken the bull by jabbing it in the back with a long spear. Their task is vital, for if a bull isn’t slowed down the matador cannot make his exciting passes. In addition to their practical function, the picadors also serve as a test for the bull: one that determines if he has courage. 

If the bull runs from the picador’s stab, he has demonstrated his gentleness,” I read from the program to Jill. “But if he charges the horse and doesn’t retreat, he demonstrates his breeding and courage.” 

Jill had her head in her hands, her eyes closed. “I don’t think I can watch the horse part,” she said.

The instant the two picadors emerged (one on a white horse and the other on a black one), the bull shot at the light colored stallion. Along with most everybody else, I winced when the bull rammed the unsuspecting horse into the wall. Reading Hemingway had somewhat prepared me, but deep inside it still hurt.

“Don’t look at the horses after the bull hits them,” was what Jake told Brett in the novel. “Watch the charge and see the picador try and keep the bull off.” 

I heeded this advice and inspected the picador’s futile attempt to keep the bull away. But el toro was intent on knocking the man off the horse, and succeeded in five seconds. This was the only time I was glad it wasn’t like Pamplona in the 1920s. Because if it was, the horse would be dead. 

Here, the animals were padded and the horns could not penetrate. When a horse is felled it is the matador’s job to make the bull come at him. In Hemingway’s book, to achieve this the man only had to flick his cape. With this bull it took more. The matador had to maneuver a lot closer and yell. Eventually el toro, hungry for more damage, rushed at him. 

Executing a nice veronica pass, the matador led the bull into the other picador, where he could be jabbed properly. This bull not only had courage, the beast had the intelligence to maneuver himself away the man on the horse. It took several more passes for the bull to tire, and the picador riding the black stallion finally speared him with force. 

But even though el toro had blood oozing from his hump, he would not capitulate the in first round.

“We’re done with the picadors,” I said to Jill. “It’s banderillos time. I think you’re going to like this.” 

The second stage started, and once again Mr. Announcer explained it in English. But it was easy to forget about the intrusion here. The banderillos, the men who made their debut briefly in the onset, have the task of jabbing two barbed sticks into the bull’s hump. These guys have no weapon of defense, nobody to cover their backs. And the banderillos don’t wait for their enemy to charge and they’re always on the attack. I thought of them as the rodeo clowns of bullfighting, because they entertained and assisted the star, all the while risking their very existence. 

So there was the bull, gigantic and fierce and determined to maim, and the banderillos had to one-up the animal. From the minute it charged, the crowd was behind the bull. These guys wanted to give us a reason to root for the matador. The first bandillero was the youngest. Lithe in build, with short cropped black hair and a child’s smile, he barreled at el toro like a special team captain about to tackle a punt returner. The bull seemed to enjoy this, and galloped quickly. It was a classic game of chicken, about as fair as a scooter versus an eighteen wheeler. 

Just as the bull was about to maul his prey, the young man sidestepped and thrust his instruments at the bull’s hump. Somewhere in the blur I saw the sticks graze the animal and tumble on the dirt. Looking dejected the bandillero shook his head, jogged to the edge of the ring, and leapt over the wall. Although he failed, the audience clapped for the effort. 

I heard Jill mutter, “this is just not for me”. 

The next two bandilleros were older and heftier, but each had to be inspired by their younger peer. They ran directly toward the bull and each connected with good placements of the sticks. The momentum had now swung back to the matador. 

I looked at Jill, and she was lying back against the concrete abutment and letting the sun tan her face. She might have even been asleep.

The third act was set to commence and I turned my head to the ring. Any high I got from the banderillos evaporated when I inspected the bull. The black beast, once so full of energy and life, was now weary and listless. His expansive hump was stained red. 

Except this part was what I had been waiting most for, the matador’s cape work. I wanted to see if the man moved in the terrain of the bull, or if he faked danger by staying in his own. The matador positioned himself and then proceeded to conduct his passes. I studied carefully, enjoying the fluttering of the red silk. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t feel any emotion for the bull or the man.

It was kill time, and it felt anti-climatic. Regardless of whose terrain he was in, I did not feel that the matador was risking his life for artistic expression. As for the bull, there was no sorrow because I had accepted his demise from the beginning. These two participants were simply finishing what they started in a perfunctory manner.

I just wanted it to end. When the bugles sounded and the announcer told us it was now “the moment of truth”, Jill sat up and opened her eyes. Upon seeing the bull, she muttered “what the fuck” and shoved me. Jill turned her back to the ring. 

“The bull is a bloody fucking mess,” she said. “It’s literally the most disgusting I’ve ever seen, and the fact that you wanted to come here really pisses me off.”

“Your aversion to culture really pisses me off," I said under my breath.

When the person in the tight costume drove his sword into the creature it seemed contrived. His movements weren’t smooth, they were over emphasized. The bull staggered, his tongue draped over his mouth, and then collapsed with a thud to the cheer of the crowd.

Jill stood up, averting her eyes from the ring. “You saw it, now let’s go.”

“There’s two more bulls,” I said.

“Not for me, Patrick.” 

She strode calmly away, her bikini top visible under her diaphanous sun dress. Several men watched her head toward the exit. I stood up, but Jill never looked back at me. 

After a few seconds I stretched and sat back down. I stayed and watched two more bulls get killed that afternoon. All that blood had affected me, and I when walked out of the bullring with the rest of the crowd I felt a slight buzz in my head. It was almost like the feeling I had after chewing some tobacco as a kid.

Back at the hotel Jill was sitting at the bar, drinking a beer and laughing with a group of Spring Breakers. The bartender had just poured shots, and they all toasted and sucked them down. A man with a dark tan and perfect abs put his hand on Jill’s shoulder, but drew it away when he saw me approach.

“Did it live up to your expectations?” she asked when I reached the bar. 

“Just like Hemingway,” I said. 


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Patrick Tebbe
2017 11 10 18.40.38 1
TCC Edwards
J. Graham-Jones
Jacqui Castle
Hunter Red
Chris Picone
Zak standridge
Zak Standridge
Screen shot 2018 10 17 at 2.51.06 pm
Todd S. Wonkka
Userphoto2 original
Brian C Dunn
Userphoto9 original
Kristi Swicegood
Userphoto2 original
Tina Krasovec
Userphoto7 original
Sarah E Pucko
Img 5442
Brian C. Bell