The Mother of a Queen (Hemingway)

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The Mother of a Queen
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man neglected to pay for his mother's grave, resulting in her remains being dumped on a public boneheap, causing a rift between him and his friend who disapproved of his actions.

A man named Paco, who was a successful matador, had a strained relationship with his manager, Roger.

The Narrator — narrator; a friend and former employee of the main character; responsible, critical.
The Matador — a famous bullfighter; selfish, irresponsible, and in denial about his actions.

When Paco's father died, his manager made sure he was buried permanently. However, when Paco's mother died, the manager only arranged for a temporary burial, thinking that Paco might not always be able to afford the permanent plot. Paco received several notices to pay for the permanent burial, but he kept putting it off, despite having the money to do so.

Eventually, Paco's mother's body was removed from the grave and dumped on a public boneheap. Roger was furious with Paco for not taking care of the situation and allowing this to happen to his mother. Paco, however, seemed unfazed and claimed that he was now happier because his mother was all around him in the air, like the birds and the flowers.

Now she is all about me in the air, like the birds and the flowers. Now she will always be with me.

During this time, Paco was spending a lot of money on himself and women, trying to make himself seem more masculine. He owed Roger over six hundred pesos but refused to pay him back. Instead, he gave fifty pesos to a stranger from his hometown who claimed to need the money to visit his sick mother.

Roger eventually confronted Paco about the money he owed him, but Paco only offered him twenty pesos. Furious, Roger left Paco's employment and cut ties with him. Years later, they ran into each other in Madrid, and Paco acted as if nothing had happened between them. Roger insulted Paco by saying he never had a mother, but Paco simply agreed, saying his mother died when he was young and it was very sad.

All I say is you never had a mother.