Jim Porter: 2014 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest results
Special to the Sun
The Bulwer-Lytton contest challenges entrants to compose bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.
It takes its name from the novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, who began a novel with “It was a dark and stormy night.”
Here are a few of the 2014 Bulwer-Lytton winners. More next week:
When the dead moose floated into view the famished crew cheered — this had to mean land! — but Captain Walgrove, flinty-eyed and clear headed thanks to the starvation cleanse in progress, gave fateful orders to remain on the original course and await the appearance of a second and confirming moose. (2014 Contest Winner)
As he girded himself against the noxious, sulfurous fumes that belched from the chasm in preparation for descent into the bowels of the mountain where mighty pressure and unimaginable heat made rock run in syrupy rivers, Bob paused to consider the unlikely series of events that had led him to become the Great God Vulcan’s proctologist.
Finally after ninety-seven long days adrift Captain Pertwee was rescued, mercifully ending his miserable diet of rainwater and strips of sun dried Haddock which was actually far ghastlier than it sounded what with George Haddock being his former first mate.
“Listen, Control!” snarled Captain Dan McMurdo across the ether, “I’ve got one engine shut down, the other running on fumes, a seriously wounded co-pilot who won’t last the hour, fifty-three orphans down the back, and a nun for a radio operator, so turn the goddam landing lights on goddam pronto — sorry, Sister.”
“One cannot easily shake off old habits,” was all that retired Detective Tim O’Hara could say when, after rifling through the dead old man’s pockets (which, as he expected, were all empty), inspecting his throat, and forcing open his cold, stiff hand to get his fingerprints, he was gently but firmly pulled away from the coffin by his brother Harry and piloted out of the parlor under the perplexed stares of uncle Mel’s friends and relatives.
He was waiting for the call seated behind his desk, his right knee bouncing up and down like the piston of a one-cylinder steam engine — the kind old guys restore and stand proudly next to at the county fair hoping someone will stop and ask about it but they never do as the engine thumps and sputters in rhythm like an anxious guy seated behind his desk bouncing his knee up and down.
When the CSI investigator lifted the sheet revealing the mutilated body with the Ginsu Knife still protruding from the bloody chest, Detective Miller wondered why anybody would ever need two of them, even if he only had to pay extra shipping and handling.
The Swan Queen spread her wings with all the quick grace of a businessman hailing a taxi in NYC and leapt high into the air like said businessman swearing and jumping back from the curb as the taxi he was hailing speeds past and splatters him with sludgy city puddle water, but in a more graceful way than the second bit.
With her interest in dime-store cowboy novels finally fading and Christmas just days away, little Lizzy Borden sat quietly in the corner and crossed “tomahawk” off her Christmas list, writing instead the word AXE, carefully in her best penmanship, which made her mother and father so proud.
In the late 1480’s, one of Henry VII’s spies in Milan picked up on what Columbus was up to, caught a gypsy caravan to Barcelona, a strawberry wagon to Lisbon, a crazy noble’s carriage to Marseilles, a worn stagecoach to Paris (which broke down), a hike to Calais, a rowboat to Southampton, arriving in London a year after Columbus landed in America, the imminent sailing for which the next year the spy, by now headless, had come to report.
He was a stolid man, prone to excessive and extended bursts of emotionlessness; but when Maurice loved, he loved with the passion of a dog itching its face against the grain of a firm pile carpet.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee, Tahoe City and Reno. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at email@example.com or http://www.portersimon.com.
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Olympic House was empty but for some maintenance workers and all those ghosts.