Jim Porter: Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest results | SierraSun.com

Jim Porter: Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest results

Jim Porter
Special to the Sun

Every year we excerpt a handful of winners from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, an international literary parody of competitorand#8217;s bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.

The competition is to honor the memory of Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton who opened his novel Paul Clifford with Snoopyand#8217;s immortal words, and#8220;It was a dark and stormy night.and#8221; Apparently, that was bad writing. Being something of a bad writer myself, I feel qualified to select my favorites from the 2009 contest.

* * *

The wind dry-shaved the cracked earth like a dull razor and#8212; the double edge kind from the plastic bag that you shouldnand#8217;t use more than twice, but you do; but Trevor Earp had to face it as he started the second morning of his hopeless search for Drover, the Irish Wolfhound he had found as a pup near death from a fight with a prairie dog and nursed back to health, stolen by a traveling circus so that the monkey would have something to ride.

* * *

Fleur looked down her nose at Guilliame, something she was accomplished at, being six foot three in her stocking feet, and having one of those long French noses, not pert like Bridget Bardotand#8217;s, but more like the one that Charles De Gaulle had when he was still alive and President of France and he wore that cap that was shaped like a little hatbox with a bill in the front to offset his nose, but it didnand#8217;t work.

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* * *

Darnell knew he was getting hung out to dry when the D.A. made him come clean by airing other peopleand#8217;s dirty laundry; the plea deal was a new wrinkle and there were still issues to iron out, but he hoped it would all come out in the wash and#8212; otherwise he had folded like a cheap suit for nothing.

* * *

He slowly ran his fingers through her long black hair, which wasnand#8217;t really black because she used Preference by Land#8217;Oreal to color it (because “she was worth it”); her carrot-colored roots were starting to show, and it reminded him of the time heand#8217;d covered his carand#8217;s check engine light with black electrical tape, but a faint orange glow still shone around the edges.

* * *

Their relationship hit a bump in the road, not the low, graceful kind of bump, reminiscent of a childand#8217;s choo choo train-themed roller coaster, rather the kind of tall, narrow speed-bump that, if a school bus ran over it, would cause even a fat kid to fly up and bang his head on the ceiling.

* * *

It was a dark and stormy night, well, not pitch dark so much a plumby, you know, that time of night where it turns into that kind of eggplant color, which I hate– eggplant not the time of night and#8212; and it wasnand#8217;t stormy so much as drizzly, like a cold thatand#8217;s not so bad but really annoying, where you sound a little plugged up and all your mucus just sort of hovers at the edge of your nostrils or drips down the back of your throat, it was like that.

* * *

As Oedipus watched his mother gracefully glide across the great hall, he felt a stirring in his loins which he immediately regretted but then quickly dismissed, for he knew if these wanton desires for his mother were wrong then someone would have named the condition by now, thus proving once again that where his emotions were concerned there was only one description for Oedipus . . . complex.

* * *

Grimly aware of the rapidly approaching disaster, Spiderman leaped from rooftop to flagpole, from flagpole to fire escape, hurling himself recklessly from building to building, darting glances through every window in his desperate search for one vital room, while silently cursing the fact that the last thing he had done before donning a one-piece skintight costume, was to eat a large bowl of hot chili.

* * *

Crickets chirped in the lawn, katydids made that annoying grating sound in the trees, a mosquito whined near the ceiling, squirrels snuggled down in wherever it is they sleep, somewhere — probably Africa — a lion roared, ants gathered together in their underground tunnels like so many, well, whatever, and — in spite of the fact that it was night (dark and stormy) — Jimmy cracked corn and no one cared.

* * *

As always, that morning he awoke to the melodious sound of a stream of water cascading into a still pool, punctuated by several ominous silences– and he could judge, by the length of the silences and the volume of the cascade, just how much of his three-year-old sonand#8217;s urine he would have to wade through to get to the sink.

* * *

She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida – the pink ones, not the white ones – except that she was standing on both of them, not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasnand#8217;t wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually arenand#8217;t.

* * *

As she slowly drove up the long, winding driveway, Lady Alicia peeked out the window of her shiny blue Mercedes and spied Rodrigo the new gardener standing on a grassy mound with his long black hair flowing in the wind, his brown eyes piercing into her very soul, and his white shirt open to the waist, revealing his beautifully rippling muscular chest, and she thought to herself, “I must tell that lazy idiot to trim the hedges by the gate.”

* * *

Swain had always come out of bar fights unscathed, built as he was like a and#8216;70 Dodge pickup (with that “Adventurer” styling package), but after tangling with Big Luther tonight, he felt like heand#8217;d been in a wreck, not a five-car pileup, exactly, but a pretty bad fender bender, busted headlights, maybe a bumper knocked loose, and, for sure, his tailgate dragging.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village and Reno. He is a mediator and was the Governorand#8217;s appointee to the Fair Political Practices Commission and McPherson Commission, both involving election law and the Political Reform Act. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or at the firmand#8217;s web site http://www.portersimon.com.