cyberpunk, Folkpunk, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Myth Punk, Paranormal, Punk, Short Story

Hemingway’s Fate- a Monkey’s Paw retelling

by W.W. Jacobs and A.R. Jung

The Monkey’s Paw is a classic “three wishes” story, which doubles as a horror story and cautionary tale. It reminds us that fate rules people’s lives, and that those who interfere with her, do so at their own risk. This widely read story is a favorite in classrooms around the world. The story was first published in 1902 and then featured in The Lady of the Barge (1911.) American Literature.com created The Monkey’s Paw Study Guide to benefit students and teachers. Please also enjoy their collection of Halloween Stories…Now for my #Folkpunk “Monkey’s Paw” retelling.

Photo Credit: https://tinyurl.com/y4nsy6g3

Part 1

“Be careful what you wish for, you may just receive it and ALL the karma that precedes it. Don’t be so shallow and predictable…karma will outsmart you every time.”- Placido Stanford, Hemingway’s Fate

A storm was coming.

In the farmhouse chic, kitchen of John and Samantha Abernathy – father and son were discussing soccer. John played semi-pro as a young man, and had ideas about how the game should be influencing Greyson’s every thought and whim. This was met with nothing but disdain from both his son and his beautiful blonde wife, who stood, arranging dried flowers at the wooden island in the center of the gourmet kitchen. She felt she was the axis on which their world revolved and was getting a bit tired of being taken for granted.

“Get ready for practice,” said John.

Greyson Abernathy- Photo Credit: https://tinyurl.com/yyrurzoz

“It’s Saturday,” said Greyson. “I have too much to do, to waste time running around the soccer field- with those jerks….they bully me Dad, well it’s mostly Jack. Last week they pushed me down and Jack bit my leg so hard…I thought I was going to need stitches. He’s literally crazy. I looked up flesh eating demons, and he’s like a flesh eating Pishacha demon.”

“Oh, come on, when I was your age, it was all I could think about. Soccer and girls, and all you seem to care about are computers, books and your mother here. What am I going to do with you? It’s 3:00 pm…we are leaving in two hours for practice.” Mr. Abernathy ruffled Greyson’s hair and picked up an apple and his smoothie. “I’ll pick you up after the gym, ok, I don’t want to hear that you weren’t hustling today at practice. You’re twelve years old Greyson, let’s show a little maturity, for God’s sake.”

“Did you even hear me say that Jack is bullying me?” repeated Greyson, but his father was watching the news.

“Noooooo! My biggest competitor, Stanford Design & Controls, just got a multibillion dollar deal! We were second in line for that contract. Man, we were so close.”

“It’s ok, dear,” said his wife, “you’ll get the next one.”

Mr. Abernathy looked up sharply, just in time to intercept a knowing glance between mother and son. The words died away on his lips, and he refocused his attention on the footsteps coming up to the door.

“There he is,” said John, rubbing his hands together. “A blast from the past.” He watched the man walk up, using the app on his phone. Then the doorbell rang.

John rose with hospitable quickness and opening the door, was heard chatting with the new arrival.

Alex Liu Photo Credit: https://tinyurl.com/y4cs7ncr

“Dr. Alex Liu, in the flesh.” Mr. Abernathy said, introducing him, as they walked back into the kitchen. The family shook hands with the doctor and then the old friends embraced.

“He was my best friend in High School. Alex is retiring from the Navy next month, at just 39 years old and was just stopping home to visit his mom. You married yet Alex?” John said, chiding his friend. He elbowed him in the ribs for old times sake.

“I’m working on it, man… “K” and I are getting married in a few weeks…um, you did pretty well for yourself here, John,” Alex said looking around at John’s home and his beautiful family. John had been class president and Alex had been Homecoming king. They both liked the same girls and ran with the same crowd twenty years ago.

“Aww, thank you, Alex…but I’m not a high profile Doctor, like you are….you were always better at everything Alex.” John said.

“Yes, that’s true…but not on the soccer field! Nobody was faster than your old man.” Alex said to Greyson who was too polite to roll his eyes at their guest. Alex rustled Greyson’s hair and the boy recoiled at his touch.

“…So do you have the Rabbit’s foot- thingy… isn’t that what you said you picked up for me in Cuba?”

“I’m flying out to meet my fiancé tomorrow for a much needed cruise to Jamaica , but wanted to make sure I swung by to meet you all since I’m rarely back here in town.” said the doctor hastily, and “…yes, to give you the gift, too.”

“A cruise, Alex…wow…this must be a new relationship?” John asked.

“Fairly new…yes. But we are in love.” Alex confided, looking uncomfortable.

“Tell me about your fiancé…this “K.” John pressed. “Is it anyone I might know?”

“…A rabbit’s paw?” said Samantha, dismissing her husband’s rude question.

“Well, it’s just a bit of what you might call magic, perhaps.” said Alex, thankful that Samantha was steering the conversation away from his fiancé.

His three listeners leaned forward eagerly at the mention of magic. Alex absent-mindedly looked at the television…stalling. He was seemingly unsure of what he wanted to do next. Which John knew was completely unlike him.

“I heard Stanford Design and Controls got the bid a little while ago…isn’t that your line of work John?”

“Yes, it is. I know we would have had that bid too if it wasn’t for Placido. He is a shark….Placido Stanford- He mentored me at the beginning of my career. His British accent is really what sets him apart in digital infrastructure design and controls, I think. He just sounds incredibly interesting.”

“Ahh, better luck next time, man…always a dollar short…right John? Anyways, I have something that might help you…the foot….now, to look at it,” said Alex, fumbling in his pocket, “it’s just an ordinary little foot, all dried up.” He took it out and rolled it in his hands. Samantha drew back with a soft grimace, but Greyson, took it quickly, and examined it curiously.

“And what is so special about it?” Inquired John as he took it from his son, and having examined it, placed it upon the wooden island, more curious about Alex’s intentions than the object itself.

Hemingway – Photo Credit: https://tinyurl.com/yxrv2wab

“It used to be Ernest Hemingway’s lucky rabbit foot. He talks about it a bit in A Moveable Feast.


….For luck you carried a horse chestnut and a rabbit’s foot in your right pocket. The fur had been worn off the rabbit’s foot long ago and the bones and the sinews were polished by the wear. The claws scratched in the lining of your pocket and you knew your luck was still there.”

-Ernest Hemingway

“AhHA, it’s right here on page 159.” Said Greyson, pulling the book off the shelf and flipping to find the very passage. His father looked at him as though he were looking at a stranger.

“You have read the book, Greyson? You read Hemingway?” John asked.

“…Greyson reads lots of books, John. He is quite a reader and writer. He has been working on a novel for a few years and hopes to have it published one day.” Samantha Abernathy said to both of the men.

“It’s called CyberMyths, Urban Legend-y coding stuff for coders, but more literary.” Greyson said.

“I don’t get it….” John said.

The Abernathy’s Street – https://tinyurl.com/y2meztn5

“Well, that’s great. Keep it up Greyson. The world needs more artists and creatives working their magic. Especially during the Crypto-Renaissance…” Alex looked out the window and saw that it was raining.

“Yeah, speaking of magic…I want to get a look at Hemingway’s Rabbit foot, and why are you giving it to us again?”

“…Yes, ok…so, it is thought that a Cuban Witch put a spell on it,” said the doctor, “a very unholy witch. She wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that those who interfered with it did so at their own risk….kinda like you did to me, John way back when.” Alex stopped and watched John’s reaction.

“Huh, wait…I knew you didn’t get me a gift….what are we talking about, here?” John said. Alex’s comment sucked the civility out of the room. Samantha went back to working, but kept a watchful eye.

“Anyways….the witch put a spell on the foot so that, three- separate- people or groups of people could- each have three wishes from it.” Alex looked at Greyson.

“Do you think that Hemingway was victim to this Rabbit’s Foot…? Do you think this had something to do with his suicide?” Greyson asked the doctor holding the foot up to the light.

“Well, how could anyone know for sure?” Alex Liu said, “But it makes sense to me.”

“Wow, he used an Aber-crombie gun…kinda like Aber-nathy, our last name.” Greyson said, constantly playing with words in his mind. John shook his head in disgust. His son was so weird.

“Wait, why don’t you take the three wishes, Alex?” said John Abernathy cleverly.

Alex regarded him the way a wise man regards a presumptuous kid. “I have,” he said quietly, and his blotchy face reddened.

“And so…tell us…did you really have the three wishes granted?” asked Samantha, still working.

Yes,” said the doctor.

“And who else is involved here…who else got their wishes?” persisted Mrs. Abernathy.

“The first man had his three wishes, which apparently was Hemingway himself,” was Alex’s reply, “I don’t know what the first two wishes were, but the third was for death. He died in Iowa with the Abercrombie, like Greyson mentioned.” Alex looked at the boy who was looking upon him with wide eyed wonder. This appealed to Alex. He went on.

“The witch had possession of the foot for ninety years or so and then I went to see her to stop smoking since I was stationed nearby and that’s how I ended up with it. She must not have liked the way I looked or something, to resurrect that thing.”

His tone was so grave that a hush fell upon the group.

“So, I haven’t seen you for twenty years and you brought me the last three wishes,” said John, eyeing him suspiciously, I know you don’t like me that much…” why wouldn’t you try to sell it? If it were really Hemingway’s Rabbit foot, it would be priceless.

“You are always thinking about money first, Dad.” Greyson said.

“I don’t want anyone to have it but you,” said Alex.

Keisha Liu – Photo Credit: https://tinyurl.com/y5wjckst

“Huh? It’s evil and you want me to have it? …..What is this about?….Wait, this is about Keisha isn’t it? You still haven’t let that go…” John said, motioning Alex towards the door. Dr. Liu followed, but left the Rabbit’s foot on the kitchen island as planned.

Greyson and Samantha looked at each other, both confused.

“I’ll take that!” Greyson said excitedly.

Greyson saw an opportunity and took the foot, dangling it between his forefinger and thumb, and stuffed it into his pocket. He ran upstairs to get ready for soccer practice. He had a great idea. His father was too predictable for his own good.

Samantha shrugged and turned back to the chilled cake she was finishing for her online cake decorating class and pushed whomever Keisha was and the tension that had been brewing between the two men- out of her mind. It wasn’t the first time she had heard her husband talking to or about other women. She had just about had it with him. She finished the cake, closing the last pink buttercream rose and listened to her husband yelling at the top of his lungs outside in the pouring rain….

“Better to let bygones be bygones,” John said to Alex. “No matter what you actually think of me Doc-tor, I really am sorry for taking Keisha from you…twenty some years ago. I didn’t even end up with her. None of us did. I heard she is marrying some doctor. It was great to see you, even if you hate me, and can never forgive me.”

“Wait…you’ve been in contact with her, recently?” Alex said.

“Yes, I’ve talked to her once or twice on social media, what’s the big deal?”

“The big deal is, that she didn’t tell me she talked to you.” Alex screamed.

“What are you talking about Alex, you seriously still have a thing for her?” John said.

“I’m in love with her…I’m the Doctor she’s marrying – you IDIOT!” Alex screamed…and then he whispered just loud enough for John to hear, “You may have always been more athletic than me…but, I’ve always been able to outsmart you, I know you better than you know yourself. ” Then he got into his car and drove away.

He used the Rabbit’s Foot on Keisha. John thought. Keisha recently told me she was gay. He knew Alex was setting him up…beyond a shadow of a doubt, now…but why?


Part 2

Greyson hid the Rabbit’s Foot…and took it from his pocket on the way to soccer practice with his dad driving. He eyed it dubiously. “I don’t know what to wish for, and that’s a fact,” he said slowly. I’ve got everything I want in life….but, I wish to stop being bullied.

“Shhhh…ohhh no Greyson, I was looking for that everywhere…Alex left that thing for me and if I know Alex, he is trying to pull one over on me. You just said you wanted to stop being bullied? Are you only being bullied at soccer?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, hand over the Rabbit’s Foot and I’ll turn this car, right around and take you home and you don’t have to go to soccer anymore. How’s that pal?”

“OK deal.” Greyson said, trying not to let on that he had set his Dad up for this. He looked at his phone so that he didn’t make eye contact with John.

Greyson handed the talisman to his Dad in the front seat and his Dad eyed him from the rearview mirror, realizing what had just happened. How did he grow up so fast? John asked himself.

When the two got back to the house, Samantha asked if everything was ok?…and Greyson put his soccer bag on the wooden island.

“Dad said I didn’t have to play soccer anymore.” and kept walking towards the steps.

“Ahhh, your plan worked.”

“Yep,” he said, running up the stairs. Samantha shook her head. She chopped quickly through the green onions to put atop the vegetarian General Tso’s she was plating.

“Dinner is ready!”

John had skipped the gym, but he didn’t care. He was in the bathroom and had locked the door. He took out the Rabbit’s Foot and looked at himself in the mirror. He smoothed his eye brows and looked at his chiseled jaw bone.

“You can do this.” He said to himself. “I wish to have the contract that Stanford Design and Controls got, the one I saw on the news earlier. It’s a government contract and is worth billions for a new digital infrastructure and when the smoke clears from that…the three of us can go live in Bali or Switzerland or the Galapagos…anywhere we want. Everyone thinks I am so selfish and an idiot. I’ll show them. They think they don’t need me. They taunt me and have their private jokes. I will make it so they CAN’T afford to live without me.”

…And he told them all as much at dinner, without saying what he had wished for exactly.

“Well, I don’t see the money,” said Greyson, as he picked up the foot and placed it on the table, next to the cauliflower rice. “…and I bet we never will.”

“Get that filthy thing off the table honey. Really?” Samantha said.

“Sorry, mom.”

Just then a BREAKING NEWS story came across the TV which was running in the background.

PLACIDO STANFORD OF STANFORD DESIGN & CONTROLS….AND HIS FAMILY…FATAL CAR CRASH AND THE STATE OF THE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FOR THE NEW DIGITAL INFASTRUCTURE HANGS IN THE BALANCE…..PLACIDO WAS IN A MIDSIZED SUV AS WERE HIS WIFE CELIA, HIS SON JACK AND THEIR FAMILY DOG, JASPER….NO ONE ELSE WAS HURT IN THE CRASH…

“Jack Stanford was….killed?” Greyson swallowed his General Tso’s roughly and sank back in his chair.

“What’s wrong Greyson,” John asked.

“That’s the kid who bullied me…he was horrible to me. The kid was a mental case. He humiliated me every chance that he got, beat me up…and loved every minute of it…but, I didn’t want him to be killed.” Greyson ran to his mother who shot a look over at John. She mouthed...was this you?

“Oh my God…..Oh my God.” John said. “Greyson wished to stop being bullied in the car and I wished for the Digital Infrastructure contract I told you guys about earlier. I didn’t know that Jack Stanford was the one bullying you and I definitely didn’t know that they were going to be killed or that Placido had a wife or a son. Jesus….I didn’t ask for any of this. I knew Placido really well. He was a really, really good guy. Someone I looked up to, oh my God!”

John, Greyson and Samantha all sat in horror as the Rabbit Foot, started moving and writhing like a snake on the table- having done what it was asked to do.

“AHHHHHHHH!” Greyson saw the foot squirming and screamed, running as fast as he could up to his room and he slammed the door.

“Oh my goodness. What are we going to do, John?” Samantha said, taking her husbands hands in hers. “Let me help you. My father has good lawyers, maybe he can help us somehow.”

“I don’t know…” John yanked his hands away from his wife, harshly. “I need to think. I don’t need you smothering me.”

“Fine, do this by yourself, like you do everything else.” Samantha said slumping into her chair. She felt so alone and scared. She honestly didn’t want him or that thing in the house. For the very first time in their 14 years of marriage, she knew that she was going to leave him. I guess it just took him killing an entire family for me to decide to kick him out. Jesus.

“I don’t know why your so called friend gave you this foot. Maybe it has something to do with that woman you were arguing about, but your messy life is messing up our lives too. I need you out of here while you decide what you are going to do, John. My job is to protect Greyson and I need you to get out.”

“But, honey…Jesus Christ, I did this for us…you both need me…come on…you need me. Remember?” It was pathetic.

“Get. Out.” Samantha didn’t even raise her voice. Which is how John knew she was serious.

He left.

Part 3

Six months passed while John’s bank account grew and grew. He had more money than he even knew what to do with, but his life was falling apart around him. He barely ate. Samantha had filed for divorce, and didn’t want one penny of his blood money. She had skills and got a job easily. John agreed to the divorce reluctantly. At night he would sit in his car outside of the house, watching. Greyson would look out sometimes, but never came out.

As if losing your family weren’t enough. He was being haunted. Because of the magic, of course, he was never implicated in the deaths of Placido Stanford and his family. The ghosts of the Stanford family stalked him in his sleep and in his waking hours too.

Sometimes it wasn’t so bad. Placido Stanford, a natural teacher, would talk to John and tell him what he could do to get back with Samantha. Sometimes the Stanford family however, to punish him, replayed their feelings and emotions the moments just before their deaths for John to experience and he would scream for them to leave him alone.

A boy in a robo-suit walked past John’s car with a dog on a leash in earliest June. John had his car window rolled down.

“Hello.” John said to the boy. The little boy’s head…spun around backwards and gruesomely revealed a decayed corpse’s face…letting out a guttural growl…and pointing a bony finger at John, he said…

“You killed my family for something as empty as money…it’s paper…..you will pay for this…I am really digging your empty chasm you call a soul, and so I promise not to eat the meat from your bones, not yet.” Jack used some unfortunate victim’s bone fragment as a toothpick. “You have two wishes left. You’d better use them wisely…or you’re mine. I got to your boy while I was living but there will be nothing stopping me from eating your spindly muscles while you simultaneously count your cash. You won’t be safe when you meet us here in the dark.”

“What did you do to my son? Jesus, you freak!” John said.

And then Jack was gone. John took out his vape pen. He had started smoking tobacco while his life crumbled down around him. Something his health conscious ex-wife would have poo pooed. His hands were shaking. Nothing would ever erase the memory of that boys head turning around backwards. Then suddenly, there was someone sitting next to him in his passenger seat.

“You’re losing it buddy.” Placido Stanford said. “Was all of this worth the money?”

“….Yes…..No…I don’t know….Why is this happening? We were happy I thought. We were happy weren’t we?”

“Your wife and son didn’t really know you or allow you into their lives. You weren’t part of their minutia, their days, their weeks. John, you cared more about yourself and what you looked like, and keeping up with old girlfriends, stroking your ego… than you did that your son was being severely beaten and bullied.” Placido said.

“Yeah, by your son! He is disturbed by the way. He just threatened to eat the meat from my bones.” John said to the ghost.

“We had our own problems in the house, Celia and I were both always working. Jack knows what he did to Greyson was wrong.”

“He was probably going to end up being a serial killer….I did you a favor…” John said.

“Jack is just messing with you John, get a grip…” Placido said…but both could hear Jack cackling off in the distance. A ghoulish, chilling cackle…not of this place. “Jack is enjoying the Astral plane…there are lots of other jokesters and mischievous poltergeist here. We can’t move on to a better place and rest until you do something for me.”

“What can I do for you? Haven’t I done enough?” John said.

“Well, I’m not sure if I can ever truly forgive you, but my mother needs her rent paid in full so that she can continue being cared for at her assisted living facility. She has Alzheimer’s and will be put out in a few days if her rent isn’t paid.”

“That will put your souls to rest?” John asked.

“We will leave you alone. Pay for ten years in full. I know you have the money. You owe this to me and my family.” Placido said.

“Fine.” John looked at his house. The roof was going to need fixing soon.

“Your son, Greyson has a place in this world as a coder. He is smart. Jack was jealous of Greyson’s smarts, and the love from his mother, Samantha. Greyson had a sense of belonging. Children used to have a place in our culture…remember that? …But now the demands of our digital world present a problem for both parents and children. Where does everyone belong? It’s not exactly a feeling place. Greyson was able to carve out a place for himself here and thrive. You don’t even know how lucky you are…..do you?

“…But your son Jack was an athlete, Placido….Greyson isn’t even good at sports….” John said.

“Well maybe we should have been blessed with different sons…You are missing the point, so, so sadly. You have unresolved issues John….Who is Keisha, by the way, I’m just dying to know?” Placido asked.

“Only the love of my life…other than my wife.” John said, looking again at the home he was no longer welcomed in. “Keisha was so warm and funny. She was kind and generous and made me feel like a man. She included me in everything she did. I miss her. That’s why I looked her up before. She was my best friend…other than Alex, of course. I persuaded her to leave Alex to be with me. She was willing to, it wasn’t like I begged her.”

“Um, you have a real problem on your hands, you know. You really need to think about getting involved with her again. I mean it. Does she still have feelings for you too? Don’t forget to pay my mother’s rent, John.” Placido said.

“I think so….I…I….Placido….Placido?” He was gone.

I’m losing my mindI have one wish left, since Greyson took the first one… maybe I could convince Keisha to leave Alex again. Yeah….that’s what Placido was probably getting at. Keisha and I were meant to be together. That’s why all of this is happening. She was willing to be with me before…I love her. Being gay shouldn’t matter here, I mean we’ve been together. It was always great. I love her more than anyone I’ve ever loved before. I deserve to be happy. My family is happier without me. I’ll just leave them be and go find my own happiness.

“I wish for Keisha to be in my life again….and to be my wife.” John said to himself in the rearview mirror, clearly unaware that he was headed down a path of no return.

Alex picked up his cell phone and looked at his house one last time. Goodbye Greyson, John thought as he drove away. My boy. If nothing else…I’m teaching you to look out for yourself…because NO one else will do that for you. That’s a good thing to teach your child…right? John heard Jack Stanford’s ghoulish laugh off in the distance somewhere. John drove to the assisted living to pay Placido’s mothers rent.

The Rabbit’s Foot squirmed on the passenger seat where Placido had been sitting, which made Johns skin crawl but he pushed forward.

“Yeah….hello Keisha….”

Part 4

Keisha and John were married in a private ceremony on August 18th. It was a lovely intimate affair, with lavish details and a romantic honeymoon planned in Italy. It was somewhere Keisha had always wanted to go. She told him she wanted to ride in a gondola when she was just a teenager in high school and John remembered it and surprised her. He was a bit disappointed that the Rabbit’s Foot seemed to cause Keisha to act as though she were in a constant drug induced state, zombie like. It didn’t feel like it was really Keisha in there. Still John pushed forward. He used his last wish on her and wasn’t about to back out of it all now.

Greyson refused to attend the wedding, but John put it out of his mind. He was going to be happy and that’s very important to being a good parent. Being happy = good parenting, he told himself whenever doubt crept in.

Alex came to the ceremony though.

“I wouldn’t have missed it, man.” Alex said.

“So, no hard feelings?” John asked.

“Nah, man, she’s yours. We were starting to have problems anyways. I hope you make her happy.”

With Keisha on Johns arm he said,”We plan to be very happy.” Then he kissed her deeply. Alex’s blood boiled and threatened to boil over. Keisha looked at him out of the corner of her eye from the passionate kiss.

Was Keisha aware of what was going on? Shelley didn’t think so. Keisha was acting like she was in a trance.

Shelley – Photo Credit: https://tinyurl.com/y6g6nrzh

Poor Keisha was a pawn to both John and Alex’s narcissistic plotting. She was an object to them, and nothing more.

Shelley knew that Keisha went along with it only because she was under the spell of the Rabbit’s foot. Keisha actually loved Shelley. She had been a lesbian for over a decade now and Shelley sat at the wedding for John and Keisha and cried. What a nightmare for both of them.

Shelley left all alone, deciding that she would wait for Keisha. She knew the love that they had for each other, even if she didn’t quite understand what Keisha was up to. She trusted her. They had been together for ten years. There was no way that Keisha would just throw her away like she was a piece of trash. Keisha acted like she didn’t know who Shelley was when she went up to talk to her after the wedding ceremony.

“Let me know when you want to come back home. I will always wait for you, no matter what.” Shelley said.

“Ok. Thank you. Do I know you? Are you related to John? Did I meet you last night at the rehearsal dinner?” Keisha said to Shelley with a glazed look in her eye.

“She’s possessed.” Shelley told her mom later that night on the phone.”First she left and divorced me for Alex and then divorced him and married John. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m really worried. I’ve heard that there is dark magic…old magic afoot- from my psychic.”

“What did you find out about that?” Shelley’s mom asked.

“This whole thing has got to do with an old foot, an animal foot. When I was able to text with Keisha she kept typing…”foot, the foot, the animal foot.” I looked up old spells having to do with animal feet and found a story about a Monkeys paw and it talked about three wishes. So I put a bot on Alex’s phone. I found out that this foot is actually a Rabbit’s Foot and was possibly Hemingway’s.”

“Well, that’s interesting. I wonder if he had three wishes?” Shelley’s mom pondered aloud.

“The psychic said there is a lot of money involved. Alex was talking with somebody the other day about Stanford Design and Controls- so I followed them down that rabbit hole. Turns out Keisha’s new husband John, just won that contract, a few months ago, but not without first, picking off the Stanford’s. The way I figure it…Alex has two wishes left, and John may or may not have any…but I’m worried most about what Alex is planning to do.”

“What can you do, honey? I mean, short of breaking in and stealing the thing, to stop Alex or John from inflicting any more harm to Keisha.”

“Well, I have a plan. I’m not a cop and part of the Benevolent Coding Corps for nothing. I can take over John and Alex’s security cameras. I can look with a proxy all through both men’s phones and Keisha’s too and figure out their next moves. I WILL get Keisha back…but will my darling girl ever be the same? You tell me mom, you know this isn’t like your daughter in law. Her behavior, I mean.”

“Honey, love is strange, but no she is acting as though her mind, body and soul have been taken over and are being manipulated by a third party. This isn’t Keisha. Do you still want her, even if she isn’t fully herself?”

“YES, mom….she’s my wife. I feel scared like I used to when Daddy was alive and we would get hacked for the intelligence information he stored on our server. We knew Daddy would eventually stop the hackers because he was that good, but this kind of magical hack, this voodoo? I mean Keisha’s living a half life. Maybe I can hack the magic. If I can get a good look at the foot maybe I can take Alex’s last wishes.”

“Will that work, you don’t need to be physically there to wish on the foot?” Shelley’s mom asked?

“Well it’s worth a try. I didn’t find anywhere on the internet that an animal foot spell was exclusive to the original recipient. There are simply three wishes per cohort or group….Mom, if you haven’t heard from me in a few days…come and find me. I’ll put a locator on my phone and my watch. Stay vigilant. I’m going to go get my girl.”

Part 5

Shelley studied the patterns and schedules of all three of them from her surveillance van. She was still working full time and thankfully was skilled enough to be able to run all of the programs and stay on top of what was going on with work and with getting back Keisha. It was a Wednesday, about a month after John and his new wife had come home from their honeymoon. Alex showed up at the door of their downtown condo. Shelley was watching. She was pretty sure that the Rabbit’s foot would come out into full view since they were all together today and she might be able to snatch just one wish. It was all she needed.

“What are you doing here, Alex?” John said with just a towel around his waist. He had started working from home after the wedding. Keisha didn’t do much but stare out the window at the bay, which broke Shelley’s heart. Keisha was a fighter. She would make it through this.

“I came to get my final wishes granted, can I have the Rabbit’s Foot?” Alex said.

“You still have wishes? I used all of mine up.” John said, digging the foot out of the kitchen junk drawer.

“Yeah, I know you used your wishes, John. I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist getting the digital infrastructure bid, which would effectively make you a millionaire over time. Then, I knew you would go for Keisha. You wouldn’t be able to help yourself. Either because I had her or because you still loved her. Now, I wish for John to die and leave his fortune to his dear old wife, Keisha.

“Oh no!” Shelley said, watching John fall over, clutching his chest. Alex moved to the side slightly to clear the way for his friend of twenty years to fall over dead.

“Keisha….Keisha, my love…where are you?” Alex called.

“He’s going to remarry her for the money, that bastard.” Shelley said. She could see the Rabbit’s Foot clearly in Alex’s hand, so she took her “shot.”“I wish for Keisha to be restored to perfect health.”

Just then Keisha came to…and she must have had some idea of what was going on because she started to run…she threw expensive Chinese vases down in front of Alex as she retreated. Keisha was always an amazing, top notch athlete and she sprinted out of the condo and crossed the street to the entrance of the mall. Alex could barely keep up, and was in great shape himself.

“Yes, I am calling to request back up inside of the Riverbird shopping mall. The perp is in hot pursuit…both are on foot.” Shelley ran out of the surveillance van parked two blocks away and prayed that Alex was apprehended before he could physically hurt her wife. He was out of wishes, which he probably wasn’t aware of, but seemed extremely quick to anger and physically violent. Shelley ran as fast as she had ever run before and came upon the scene just in time to watch Keisha pushing Alex into a display case at Cartier. Glass and expensive jewelry flew everywhere.

“That’s him! That’s the perp….” Shelley screamed to an officer who was now on the same floor and was running full force towards Alex. The giant cop was on Alex and pinning him to the wall as Shelley kept screaming for Keisha to stop and had almost caught up with her. They hadn’t seen each other for nine months, since Keisha disappeared from their bedroom in the middle of the night against her will. She turned around and they embraced and fell to the ground. Shelley was as scared as Keisha was and they held each other there for what seemed like an eternity.

“You’re safe, it’s all over.” Shelley said over and over.

“I’m so sorry Shelley.” Keisha said.

“Why sweetheart? You didn’t do anything wrong.” Shelley said comfortingly.

“We are rich now, more rich than we can even imagine…we are richer than God. I knew you would come for me. We need to get married again.” Keisha said.

“It was you? You were the mastermind behind all of this?” Shelley asked.

“Let’s go home.” Keisha took Shelley by the hand and glanced back at Alex who was being escorted out of the mall in handcuffs. Shelley was speechless. She put one foot in front of the other until she found herself at home with the love of her life….unsure of what to do, now that she knew she was living with a monster. The Rabbit’s Foot was taken from Alex and was submitted into evidence…for the next ninety years or so when it would be back on the streets, tempting fate and destroying people’s lives.

If you like this Folkpunk story, please check out my Folkpunk Velveteen Rabbit Retelling -The Girl Behind the Magic… and as always happy writing!

6 thoughts on “Hemingway’s Fate- a Monkey’s Paw retelling”

      1. Hey Matt 🤭. I know what I did there. I had an art teacher back in the day, Mr. Taggart whose name was Mark. Sorry for botching that. Would have been much cooler to get it right. :)- Twitter is pretty good for writers using #writingcommunity. ❤️📗📙

        Liked by 1 person

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