“Is this the missing sentence department?” I said.
“Wait your turn” she said.
I smiled, embarrassed by my lack of manners, but I was anxious to find my missing sentence. The fellow in front of me in line didn’t seem to mind. They continued.
“Have you seen my sentence?” he asks her.
“What sentence? What did it look like?”
“Um… it was kind of short, couple of verbs. It ended with a preposition, and though I know I’m not supposed to do that, it should make it easier to find.”
“No, I don’t think I’ve seen it.”
“Are you sure?” 1.
“Yes, I’d remember a sentence ending in a preposition.”
He turned to leave, his lip drooping just a bit. He blinked, were those tears beginning to form in his bright brown eyes. I felt compelled to offer consolation.
“Sorry,” I said. “The pain, I’ve lost a sentence or two in my time. That’s why I’m here. One of mine has recently gone missing.”
“Sir, can you identify your sentence,” she said.
“Well, I can tell you a bit about it, but the devil is in the details and if I had those I’d just rewrite it.”
“Enough of that sir, I’m not here for your abuse. Now would you like to tell me about this missing sentence.”
“The sentence was about a bell, the tolling of a bell”
“That sounds like a Hemingway sentence, sparse, precise, beautiful. Are you sure the sentence you’re looking for really belongs to you?”
“Yes of course, I distinctly remember writing it.”
“And you weren’t reading a Hemingway story just before you took pencil to paper?”
“All right, sir, but I’ll need more information. What else can you tell me.”
“Well it may be a run-on sentence, I’ve written many of those in my life, and this just may be one of them, if you know what I mean, does that help?”
“I’m sorry, many of the sentences we have are run-on sentences, but you’re the first person I recall ever coming to look for one.”
“I was going to fix it. It had a nice ring to it. It flowed. I would really like to find it.”
“Run-ons are all in that box in the corner. You’re welcome to look, but I don’t want you running off with a sentence that doesn’t belong to you.”
“Thanks,” I said.
I searched for over an hour without success. I was surprised when I left to find the same fellow that had been in line in front of me standing just outside the entrance.
“I’ll write yours if you’ll write mine,” he said.
“How does that work? You know nothing about my sentence.”
“Doesn’t matter, you tell me a little about what you were trying to say and I’ll write a sentence for you, and then you do the same for me.”
“I’ll write yours if you’ll write mine or we could just share a glass of Mexican wine.”
“Hey, that was really a nice sentence. Do you mind if I use it? I already know where it goes.”
“Sure, just don’t lose it.”
1. . Steve Himmer