11/16/09

Comin' Through the Rye

Four G.I.’s sat in a jeep below the Eiffel Tower. It was August 25th, 1944, and the Americans were in Paris.

“I can’t believe you still carry that stupid typewriter everywhere, you’re gonna’ get killed.”

JD didn’t say anything but lifted the black metal case from his lap to show the sergeant. Several bullet holes marred the surface.

The sergeant shook his head and looked back up at the French tricolor flapping atop the tower for the first time in four years. “You ought to go see that writer,” he suggested over his shoulder, “he’s here you know.”

“Here? Impossible, “JD said.

“Really, he’s been here for a while; son-of-a-gun was leading some resistance-fighters... I heard he liberated the Ritz singlehandedly,” the sergeant joked. He sucked on a black cigar and laughed through his teeth.

“Hey, give me a ride over there, will you?”

A few minutes later, JD hopped out of the jeep and into the madness of the celebrating crowds. He ducked under the outstretched arms of an old woman looking to kiss him and slipped sideways around the children pushing flowers at him. His typewriter came in handy in forcing his way through the doors of the hotel.

He found the lobby packed with people, just as raucous as the mob outside. The lounge was off to his right and he scanned the faces there. His attention was drawn to a soldier that was banging out “Don’t sit under the apple tree” on the piano, an attractive young girl on his lap, teenaged probably but quite drunk. As he stared at the young, pretty coquette, he noticed behind her, at the bar, a tall bearded man with a gun in his belt.

JD hurried over to him.

“Mr. Hemingway? You don’t know me. My name is Salinger...”