Jim Porter: 2016 Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest results (opinion) | SierraSun.com

Jim Porter: 2016 Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest results (opinion)

Jim Porter
Law Review

Hey guess what time it is. Bulwer Lytton time. 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.” But you know that.

Here are a few of the 2016 winners. This batch is particularly “bad.” More in coming weeks — also, look for Porter’s election recommendations next week.

* * *

Even from the hall, the overpowering stench told me the dingy caramel glow in his office would be from a ten-thousand-cigarette layer of nicotine baked on a naked bulb hanging from a frayed wire in the center of a likely cracked and water-stained ceiling, but I was broke, he was cheap, and I had to find her. (2016 Winner)

* * *

Her grandmother had mopped her brow with the same antique kerchief for twenty years whilst working in the barley fields, and now Anastasia was to wear it on her wedding night knotted into a baggy loose panty; while her lover Anatoly would wear his father’s ancient gray and tattered undershorts tied around his neck to honor the old village custom of marital odor-blending.

* * *

After his seventh shot of Jack Daniels, Billy reflected that only a certain kind of man, a Roman Catholic priest, born under the sign of Gemini, whose loved one had been run down by a bus full of inebriated Lazio supporters on a glorious Sunday morning in early April outside a provincial church whose bells were ringing Bach’s Tocatta and Fugue in B minor, would truly be able to understand the abyss of despair in which he was drowning.

* * *

Knowing well the hand signals of his platoon leader, Private James Dawson silently dropped to the dirt, concealed and motionless for what seemed an eternity, a move that he had learned, coincidentally, from his parents whenever the Watchtower ladies would ring the doorbell.

* * *

“Penguins, damnable penguins,” Cooperman muttered bitterly, staring hard into the maelstrom of cheap gin and bargain-basement vermouth swirling hopelessly in the low ball glass he held in his pale, doughy hand, the shards of rapidly melting ice crystals cruelly reminding him of those endless winter nights in the Antarctic weather station, and of Kwakina, with her lithe, lubricious figure, and tuxedo-feathered form.

* * *

The sea roiled like water in a pasta pot about to boil, an apt simile thought Captain Samuel Turner, because if they didn’t fix their engine soon he and his crew would be floating face down like overcooked manicotti — bloated, white, limp and about to be consumed by something that wished it were eating ahi tuna instead.

* * *

Captain Blackheart well knew the penalties for piracy, but out here in international waters there was no one to stop him, so he scanned the horizon with his brass telescope before heading below decks to check on his high speed DVD copying machines.

* * *

When your home smells like a three-week-old buffalo carcass, your Mom is constantly being mistaken for a guy, and your sisters keep using your ears as their personal chew toys, life is no laughing matter — at least that’s how it seemed to Hubert, the baby Hyena.

* * *

Little Billy Wonka spent his days running through the Gumdrop Forest, dashing through the greenery of Marzipan Valley, hopping along the banks of Honey River and racing to and fro between the Chocolate Factory to his Gingerbread Abode … which is not surprising considering his colossal daily sugar intake.

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: development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or http://www.portersimon.com.