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I had already written a book on a Hemingway I knew first hand. Leicester Hemingway, author of My Brother, Ernest Hemingway, had been a friend and colleague the last five years of his life. My move to the Big Island of Hawaii led me to another Hemingway, Ernest, who had plied the waters for marlin and plied the War Department for information about America's readiness to take on the Axis powers. A letter from Ernest to his brother Les sets the scene for both men's struggle with mortality.
Les Hemingway was an accomplished writer and adventurer who happened to be standing in the shadow cast by one of the English language's all-time great authors, his brother Ernest. There was a sense of both the magic and the tragic involved with the Hemingway name; it could open doors, and it could also be a big pain.
It was the late 1970s. I was working on an alternative magazine in Miami. The cover of our latest opus had a dead chicken hanging over an Easter basket. Santeria anyone? I guess I was the straight man to all the hemp-laden frolicking going on. We needed help to right our out of control ship. Who should we call? Hemingway might just be the answer.
He's the world's first black bear detective, and he's sure of himself. “I’m not trying to say anything bad about them,” Bearstone said, “But if a couple of schlemiels like my cousins Winnie and Paddington can make it by screwing things up, think what a bear detective could do.” “Bear detective?” I asked. “Sure,” he said. “What did you think? Was I going to stand in the park selling balloons to three-year-olds? What kind of smarmy pap would that be?” I shrugged. “See, that’s what’s wrong with people, especially when it comes to storybook characters,” he said. “They take all that Mother Goose and Brothers Grimm stuff and they treat it like it’s gospel like that’s the way it all went down. They won’t even do that for the New York Times.” “And somehow, you know differently?” I asked. “Believe me, I’d look into that stuff and get the real info,” he said. “A lot of these so-called kids’ stories need an adult’s oversight.” He casually took a croissant out of a bag from the Hungry Bear Donut Factory and took a bite. He offered a croissant to me. It was a delicious buttery bribe. “Bearstone Blackie, detective,” he said. “I represent the Bear With Us Detective Agency in El Bruno.” detective,” he said. “I represent the Bear With Us Detective Agency in El Bruno.”
I always thought the story of the three pigs was a bit too pat. Thanks to the sleuthing skills of Bearstone Blackie, Detective, we now have a more reasonable report of what went down. It's dedicated servants of justice like Bearstone that bring new light to old cases.
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