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Bad Hemingway winner: Shots of whiskey, rye right way to die

LOS ANGELES -- A New York City book store employee and first- time entrant is the winner of the 13th annual bad Hemingway contest with a staccato story on the proper way for a man to die.

Owen McKevitt won two round-trip tickets to Italy and dinner at Harry's Bar & American Grill in Florence, reputedly a hangout of author Ernest Hemingway. McKevitt's was one of 10 semifinalists from nearly 1, 200 entries.

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A sample of McKevitt's one-page entry that won Monday:

'A man should stand up to die. Lester did not stand up. He died in his chair drinking a pina colada. There were women at the table. A man should not die drinking a pina colada at a table with women.

'He should have walked to the bar and ordered a whisky. A good Canadian like we had during Prohibition. That was a whisky to die drinking,' I said to my fourth wife who I loved with the love that is smooth and round.

'You should know,' she said as we walked down the face of Mount Ida. A man should not talk of death with a woman. They know nothing of it. Only men know death.

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'Lester did not know Death. He was a super flyweight. Death is a heavyweight. No man wins the fight, but some men go the distance. For Lester it was the distance across the room and up to the bar where Death waited for him, where he could have pounded the bar with his fist and ordered the first honest drink in his life, not those pina coladas he drank until he flopped around on the floor like a large speckled trout in a shallow pebbled stream, but a short straight shot of honest whisky, and a rye for Death. Death drinks rye.'

The jury included a relative of William Faulkner, who feuded with Hemingway over the relative merits of their work, and writers Ray Bradbury, George Plimpton, Jack Smith, Bernice Kert, Barnaby Conrad, Digby Diehl and Hemingway's son, Jack.

The winner was announced at a $100-a-plate benefit dinner at Harry's in Los Angeles.

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