Sunday, June 26, 2005

Bad Opening Sentences

The Bulwer-Lytton Contest challenges you to write fake bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. In a fit (literally) of creativity, Lisa and I wrote these:

Lillian was always asking the same question in different forms (on happy days, "do you love me? will you stay with me? will you marry me?"; on sadder days, "when are you going to leave me? why don't you love me? why do you treat me so bad?"), and to Joe all these variations were like a huge mallet pounding her overwhelming neediness relentlessly into his head, and when someone is so needy, it's hard (ever so hard!) to tell them the truth, but Joe finally screwed up the courage, interrupted Lillian mid-query, and belted out (loud enough for anyone within earshot to hear), "It won't work, baby! I'm not a human, I'm a DUCK!"

"You left an 's' out of my Goddamn last name!" John Crosssssssssssssssby screamed at his editor, "As usual I get no respect around here."

The 10th edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines "love" as "a feeling of tenderness, closeness, or traction," which is obviously a misprint, but it pretty much sums up Amy's feelings about Desmond these days.

"Please pay attention," he said, pausing momentarily to emphasize the gravity of the matter, "you have to hold down the CTRL key when you drag the file to the floppy disk icon, and when the icon gets highlighted, release the mouse button BEFORE you depress CTRL, because if you release CTRL first the file will be moved, not copied -- got it?" and that’s when she knew she was in love.

Mike was leaning against the door jamb, the afternoon rain collecting in the brim of his fedora like beer around the rim of a can, thinking, "where the hell is that dame?" when suddenly there she was, ten miles of leg with no stop sign in sight, and he said, half aloud, "damn, I should have worn my good hat."

Once again Mr. Spock turned to Jesus and said, "I want to kiss you," but alas he had forgotten to program Aramaic into the universal translator, so to Jesus it sounded like "gleed ejit ogg itsal."

Suffering (pure untethered suffering!) was the primary emotion felt by the UNIVAC, as Alister crammed a Dagwood-sandwich sized stack of punch cards into its hemorrhaging reader.

"BEEEG FEEESH KEEELL MI-TEEE HUN-TAR!" was the monster's encapsulation of Melville's "Moby Dick", uttered during the opening minutes of his keynote speech, for the benefit of all the other monsters at the Wichita chapter of the I Was Made By Victor Frankenstein Support Group, during their November Book-a-Thon, and it was met with much applause and laughter, until the spoilsport townspeople once again burst in with their damned torches.

"I say, Dickey," Fenwick drawled, grinning like the devil, "pass me the vagina and some of that lovely stilton cheese, too -- oops, I didn't mean to say 'vagina', I meant the beef Wellington, but I expect you knew that."

"Brrrrrrm ... Brrrrrrm ... BRRRRMMMM ... Honk Honk ... Brrrrm," went Pasternak, trying to convince Jenny that the car was moving, so that he wouldn't have to get out in the cold and check under the hood.

Once again, Boris stared at the seqence, 1 2 3 4 5 ..., wracking his brains to figure out the next digit, but drowning as always in a sea of numbers, realizing that (yes!) he had been foiled again by his nemesis, Dr. Intelligencio!

When I was eight, I made a list of the top ten people I wanted to fuck, Winston Churchill, Jane Goodall, Grover Cleveland, Saint Augustus, General Patton, H.P. Lovecraft, Marie Curie, Vincent Price, Dimitri Shostokovich, and the guy who invented Cracker Jacks, and by the age of nine, I had made it halfway through the list.

I crouch in darkness, paralyzed by fear, afloat in anguish, despair a-knocking at my door, then I finally take those tight pants off and feel oh-so-good!

The smell of flesh blood woke me, but only for a moment, cursed as I was to be a zombie with narcolepsy.

Tompkins has left me, she thought, and now I'll never find the love I crave, never, never, NEVER, and a tear slid up her cheek -- that's right, UP -- and Alice suddenly realized that the laws of gravity had reversed themselves.

Halfway through the cocktail hour, Doris Green realized that she and Mary Willoby were wearing the same teal dress, except Mary's didn't have that little coffee stain on the hem, and she wondered, absently, if there was any way she could rip the dress off Mary the way a magician pulls a tablecloth out from under the plates, glasses, and silverware without disturbing anything, and then leap gracefully out of her own dress and into Mary's, and then (abracadabra) place her old dress on Mary, all without anyone noticing.

Step after step, he walks, step after step, from here to there, one foot following the other, but that's life, dear reader -- that's life.

My life was essentially ruined that day when I sent the spring from our old mattress plummeting down the staircase, and there at the bottom was my brother Nat, smirking at up at me, holding a brand new slinky.

On the subject of women I say Bah! because many a man has tried and failed to fathom their ways of thinking, and now that they've all been killed by the androids, I guess we never WILL figure them out.

The cold wind bit through Morty's soul, withering all his parts (heart, mind, even elbow joints) until he found himself transported to that awful numbed state, in which, once again, he gave nary a passing thought to whether the shadow looming on the castle wall was cast by a plumb pit or an Apollo Lunar Module.

"What do you think?" Cookie Monster asked Grover, "Is Oscar's poem closer to the Apollonian or Dionysian drive, as defined by Nietzsche in 'The Birth of Tragedy'?" but just then Gordon came around the corner, eliciting a yelp from Grover, who barely had time to hide his reading glasses, but Cookie Monster kept his cool, hiding Oscar's manuscript behind his back, rolling his googly eyes, and saying "Me want coo-kee!" in his loudest, gruffest baritone -- and the hapless Gordon was fooled again (but for how long?).

Alicia recalled her summers in Nice fondly at first, but then she thought of Eugene, and a tear slid up her cheek -- yes UP, gentle reader, for Alicia Mortensen was the first female commander of the International Space Station, and, due to cutbacks, she was also the entire crew, and she often wept silently in zero gravity as she polished the controls.

"Egad, Freud was right!" thought Mrs. O'Reilly, as her son Arthur ripped her dress off and carried her to his bedroom.

And my English teacher, Ms. Sparks, told me never to start a sentence with "and" or no one would want to publish my novel, but she was wrong, oh so wrong, ba ha ha ha ha!

George stared forlornly at the paper loaded in the old Smith-Corona for a moment, sighed with resignation and half-heartedly began pecking away, the sound of his keystrokes just a few more notes in the cacophony that filled the huge hall, but as all around him hundreds of heads were bent in concentration, diligently banging at the keys in front of them, George himself could not help but think “what am I doing here? where’s the reward for my years of service? when’s the BIG PAYOFF?,” and as if he had been reading his thoughts, George’s supervisor suddenly appeared behind him and said, “Just keep typing my little simian friend, keep typing.”

Even as John tried to patch things up with Carla, he felt her love flapping away, like a cardinal flying south for days and days until it reaches some remote spot in Brazil (or someplace equally remote from John's heart), where it builds a nest and sits in it, cooing and waiting for its sweetheart, who finally arrives, and together they set up house, raise hatchlings, and when summer draws near begin the long flight north, only to be shot through the head by some snot-nosed kid with a pea-shooter and, like Carla's dying love for John, never return.

Edwina looked at Timmy and felt lust, lust with a capital L, but the other letters in the word -- u, s and t -- were all lower-case, and the font was Helvetica, point size 12.

Henry unfolded the napkin and carefully tucked one corner under his generous chin, settling into his upholstered chair with a self-satisfied grunt and eyeing with pleasure the hefty cut of medium-rare prime beef on the plate before him and the Idahoan baked potato overflowing with melted butter (not margarine! oh no, never!), and as his gaze shifted upward to the fine silk draperies and imported wood paneling of his well-appointed dining room, he thought to himself, “yes indeedy, old Henry has done pretty darn well for himself,” but as soon as the thought had formed in his mind, there was a terrifying rent as the fine mahogany chair collapsed beneath him (the result of several years of supporting its owner’s enormous girth), and Henry landed with a resounding thud, shattering his spine and simultaneously biting off his own tongue, the very tongue that, if not for the unfortunate accident, would have soon been wrapped around a piece of succulent, grade A grain-fed steak.

Her pedantic, moralizing prose was only a thin veneer for the teeming salacious thoughts bubbling just beneath the surface, for though her exterior remained the lily white of a certain kind of white lily that only blooms at night, Genevieve's soul was as black as the tar pits of Le Brea.

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