Law review: Bulwer-Lytton 2022 winners

Jim Porter / Law Review
Jim Porter

As you faithful readers recall, we annually present a handful of our favorite Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest winners.

For you new readers, the Bulwer-Lytton Contest is named after novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton who wrote many famous novels including “Paul Gifford” which started with the immortal words, “It was a dark and stormy night.” Supposedly that’s often-parodied bad writing (although it is better than anything I ever do).

The contest rewards rookie writers composing intentionally bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Pretty clever stuff.

— I knew she was trouble the second she walked into my 24-hour deli, laundromat, and detective agency, and after dropping a load of unmentionables in one of the heavy-duty machines (a mistake that would soon turn deadly) she turned to me, asking for two things: find her missing husband and make her a salami on rye with spicy mustard, breaking into tears when I told her I couldn’t help — I was fresh out of salami. (Grand Prize Winner)

— Whenever Elvis graced the bar stools at the steakhouse, he never failed to order a rare steak, bordering raw, and oozing greasily at the edges; and during the interviews after the musician’s untimely death, none of the waiters could deny that he loved meat tender.

— The trees sighed with pleasure as the wind caressed their limbs, the lake lapped contentedly at the shore, the grass waved cheerily to all and sundry, and the moon smiled benignly between the playful clouds while George buried his latest victim.

— Clear, plump jellyfish lay scattered across the beach, like so many discarded breast implants.

— When Sandy left him, Buck tried as he might to carry on, but he couldn’t help feeling thrown away like last night’s pork chops, except instead of pork chops, he had had deep dish pizza the night before which was even better warmed up and he was looking forward to having it for lunch so the analogy totally didn’t work.

— The pallid North Dakota winter coughed its phlegmy wind in my face, spattering my face with its icy spittle.

— At least it was a creative way to be dumped, Ben mused to himself as he looked at the new location of his name on the updated seating chart for his wedding reception — the singles’ table.

— Tony Angel walked Fiona back to the car and handed her the leash, if only he hadn’t thrown the ball so hard; it had marred an otherwise perfect first date on the White Cliffs of Dover.

— Even though the heavy snow forecast threatened transportation problems at the mountain pass leading to the social engagement of the season, every invited member of the party had RSVPed in the affirmative, for the single reason that the Donner family chef was nationally recognized for his all-vegan menu.

To be continued…

Jim Porter is a retired attorney from Porter Simon licensed in California. Porter Simon has offices in Truckee California and Reno, Nevada. These are Jim’s personal opinions. Jim’s practice areas included:  real estate, development, construction, business, HOA’s, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at

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