I'm A Story Teller

writing, seeing, living


Hat Man


A Communist love story

By Michael Feldman

Cuba Airport, terminal #1 November 21, 2018

A very attractive woman get off Copa Airlines at Havana Cuba Terminal Number 1

As she goes through customs. She stands in front of immigration guard at his desk he is examining her passport. He looks at the passport photo with her name Jennifer Frost she is from Canada, then the guard  motions her to look into the camera. (Movie is in slow motion) As he makes eye contact and motions her to take off her sunglasses and undo her hair. She is nervous as she shakes her long dark brown ponytail out then she continues to do as the guard says without any friendly emotion.  A long slow moment goes by as  he stamped her passport with a big  loud thump (close up of rubber stamp) slams the passport and he makes a hand gesture to proceed through the gate as he hands her passport. She feels relieved. 

She moves to another room where she locates her purple suitcase. Wheeling past police women in mini skirts with long legs and high heels. Pushing her luggage in one hand and carrying her carry on bag she wheels it through a crowd to find a man waiting with a sign “Jennifer” The man is from an AirBnB. He greets her with a big friendly smile and takes her luggage to his pink colored 1956 Ford convertible with white painted insert and a Taxi sign on the dash. They get in the Chevy slamming the old heavy metal doors shut of the 50 year old Ford and drive away from the airport.

The film now changes to animation of the car speeding through traffic. They pass a horse and buggy loaded with long grass. They also pass a slower truck and honk to tell them to move to the side. On coming traffic is filled with cars from the ‘50’s. Chevy’s, Buick’s, Ford Victoria, Bel Air, and Russian Flava, Also old Polish Fiats. The highway is filled with these cars. Animation of her sliding in the car seat Jennifer is not wearing a seat belt and slides to side in the car. The hanging beads with a cross is swinging from the mirror with hanging fury dice. The radio is loud with revolution talk. People are running across the highway, Some are getting on an old bus that has the back cut out. There is a bus being pulled by a tractor filled with people, workers and students are hitch hiking along side of the road. Some waiting for a bus to Havana. 

On the side of the road are food huts, we stop to get a thin sliced ham sandwiches on white bread bun with vinegar sauce. Jennifer is hungry and gets two sandwiches also buys one for her driver and an orange soda. People are polite as they wait their turn to order. Trucks pulled along side the road and stray. dogs and cats waiting to eat scraps that fall from the sandwiches.

The taxi zooms into old Havana through small crowded streets filled with broken buildings. Dogs running loosely and kids playing, old colorful painted broken buildings, old cars going down narrow streets. Music and televisions blasting. Jennifer’s car comes to a stop. Double parks at 234 OReily Street. Traffic behind them waits patiently. She gets out of the car and looks up at the building.

The animation now changes to real film.

Jennifer gets out of the Taxi and the driver takes her suitcase out the pink old Ford and meets with the owner of the AirBnB. I am Max as he takes her suitcase and carries it up  the spiraling staircase to the 10th floor. A out of breath feeling for Jennifer as she climbs the stairs made of marbled tiles that are broken. She passes apartments with television blasting super loud on each floor. Her AirBnB  is a one room with a bed and bath and small kitchen and a large deck with plants overlooking the buildings in Old Havana from the 10th floor, Every building seems to have a water tank on the roof. She looks at a far away apartment with an old man looking out from his view of Havana as the sun is setting. 

After a long talk and explanation of what to do and see in Havana. Where to eat. And explains not to put paper in the toilet.  The owner Max finally leaves. Jennifer falls on the bed exhausted. And the noise of the city makes her more tired. She falls asleep. She doesn’t know there is a big cockroach under her bed. A few hours later she awakes in a dark room. She hears rain falling on the deck. She decides to go out for dinner.

Jennifer puts on a sexy dress and the rain has stopped. She explores the busy streets of old Havana passed a small park where people are sitting and talking. Stray cats are mingling with the people. An old woman is sitting on a low cement wall smoking a Cuban cigar. Jennifer is attracted by the music she hears and finds a restaurant filled with people and live Cuban music. Rice, beans, fish, cucumbers and tomatoes is what she orders. The musicians come to her table and play Chan Chan a popular romantic Cuban song for her.

Next day she heads for a beach town… The film becomes an animation again as the Taxi  drives through Havana’s small streets passed bike carts and old churches and broken houses  then they head to the highway. All of a sudden there is a traffic jam. All cars stopped. We see a tractor pulling an old airplane without wings on the highway through traffic. A wrecked airplane that looked like it was being junked.

Eventually the old taxi come to Guanabo a beach town 23 miles from Havana. They pull up to a two story house on the beach and the animation stopped and became real film again. The owner, a retired doctor and his wife agree to rent their AirBnB to Jennifer. The upstairs of the house has a large deck facing the water. The beautiful beach. White puffy clouds that look like big fish hang low over the Caribbean waters. Turquoise and dark blue warm waters. 

Jennifer changes into her bathing suit and heads to the beach. The water is like warm bath water.  After a long swim she settles to relax on her towel in the sand.  She falls asleep in the warm sun only to be awaken by a man selling straw hats. He has many hats on his head and in his hands. And also carrying straw bags and flip fops for sale. He is handsome with a brown skin color against his white beach suit. Jennifer turns him down from buying a hat and the hat seller goes away disappointed.  

As he walked away he stopped and turns around and gives a deep sigh and looks at Jennifer. Camera pulls in to his face and sees a tear in his eyes. Jennifer notices his attitude. But she looked down. And then goes back into the warm turquoise water.

The next morning Jennifer explores the small city of Guanabo. She waits outside the money exchange to cash her money to Cucs, Cuban tourist money, the guard is carrying a machine Gun as he guards the entrance. 

She finds a cafe and gets a Coffee Con Leche with omelette sandwich and shoos the flies away.   As she looks up from the table she sees a man walk by carrying many hats on his head. He notices her and they make eye contact. But he walks away. But slightly looks back.


Jennifer is sitting at the town square where most people buy internet cards for two dollars for the use of wifi. The park is known as wifi park. People are on their phones or tablets and connect to the wifi.  

Jennifer calls to her office in Canada where she checks in to see if everything is alright. She is a creative director at a small ad agency in snowy Toronto. As she is talking on the phone the hat man walks buy and looks at her and she looks back. He sits down beside her as she is talking on the phone. After a few minutes the hat man gets up and leaves. Jennifer pauses her conversation and says to the man goodbye. The man leaves without a word, but gives her a warm smile. Jennifer also gives him a smile back. She hurries off the phone and catches up with the hat man. Both walk towards the beach. And the try to communicate Some in Spanish and some in English. He can speak some English and Jennifer is amazed how smart he is. He talked about Cuba, how the government keeps everybody poor. Also about Hemingway. She  tells him she is on vacation on cultural exchange visa. She loves Cuba but feels sad that most people are poor and not free to leave. Both walk along the beach towards an old abandoned hotel right at the edge of the water. There are two African women at the edge of the water. They are carrying a black girl doll and are throwing flowers into the water. Its an old African spiritual tradition says the man. Jennifer is warmed by that. 

An animation of the ceremony appears. High waves spin and the doll comes alive with flowers spinning in the air, dancing in the wind over the turquoise water. The sky opens and a waterfall appears. The animation is interrupted by real film of a puppy that jumps up onto Jennifer’s lap.  She picks up the puppy. The hat man and Jennifer both giggle at the cute black and white puppy as the owner an elder woman comes and gets the puppy. (Cut to clip of Hemingway) The Hat Man tells Jennifer that he knew Hemingway and once worked for him as his personal assistant.  The hat man also told Jennifer that he went to school to study to be a doctor (cut to a clip of hospital operating room) but didn’t like seeing blood so he studied law. (Cut to chip of judge sentencing). But eventually he didn’t want to be much of anything. After his wife left him he became a recluse and now is selling hats to get by. He is very poor. 

Jennifer and the hat man turn to each other and kiss. They kiss and kiss deeper and Jennifer closes her eyes as the waves splash onto the beach near them. Then she and the hat man go into the water. They are both in the deep warm water kissing and she takes off her bathing suit and pulls his pants down. She dives underwater and comes up for air. They both make love in the warm water. The world spins around them. Animation of fish and waves surrounding them with a dance as Cuban music plays. A big sea shell appears in the sky. With a face carved out and a waterfall is pouring water from a hole in the shell. The moon appears behind the shell.   

Cut. Jennifer is now back at her office in Canada. Snow outside her window. Phone ringing, People rushing around. Deadlines need to be met.

Jennifer is thinking about the hat man and the Cuban beach. She looks out the window at the snow. She misses Cuba and the Hat Man terribly. Then she decides to give it all up and go back to Cuba. Animation of airplane taking off with Cuban music playing. The plane lands. A close up of a rubber stamp hitting her passport. Jennifer finds the hat man walking on the beach selling hats. They live together in a simple poor communist life. Sunsets on the beach. 

Animation of hats falling from the sky against the blue Mediterranean waters and puffs fish clouds.

Maybe further development to be written