By: Norma Sadler
"Out of Montana," a Hemingway satire, was a real challenge to write because
the story includes not only Hemingway's terse dialogue style, but also as
many of his works as possible hidden within the story. See if you
recognize any, especially in the male/female relationship.
It was a cold sunrise in early spring. Nick and Margot shivered
in the base camp below the snows of Missoulamanjaro. Nick looked at
Margot. She was dressed fit to kill in her Summit leather jacket and
Wrangler jeans. Her long hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Nick thought
he should make conversation.
"It is different here from L.A.," he said. "Here a man can hunt
cougars. And a woman can go along".
Margot said nothing. She did not like hunting or fishing. Or
Monday night football.
Nick knew this. He tried to make things right. "We will have
such a nice time, hunting cougar," he said.
"It's pretty to think so," Margot answered.
They began their climb. They carried their guns cocked. They
crossed the river. Sometimes Nick felt like a fish out of water. But
not today. Today he could kill a cougar. It could be a rug in front of
They went into the trees. They walked for six hours.
"There's nothing big and two-hearted about this place," Nick
grumbled, catching his khaki flannel shirt on a branch. He sniffed the
air. A waft of something like a bullpen filled his nostrils.
"Do you smell that?" he asked. "In our time, I've never
smelled anything so strong, so virile." He waved his red bandana in the
Margot shook her head, like a wild horse, refusing to be tamed.
"You're like a bullfighter," she said, "defeated, coming back
out of season."
Suddenly, an animal crashed through the underbrush. A scream filled
the air. Nick lay on the ground, the cougar on top of him.
"Shoo!" he cried, "shoo!" He covered his face with his hands.
Margot raised her rifle. "It's just Lady Luck," she said,
shrugging her shoulders.
She fired. It was quick death in the afternoon. Like a
defeated Raider, Nick went home unhappy. But Margot went to Italy,
leaving the cougar on the mountain, freeze-dried into legend.
Norma Sadler has published poetry and short stories and won a variety
of poetry awards. She teaches at Boise State University and her play ORPHEUS was performed in Idaho in l995.