I just can’t get enough of those great bad opening lines that have been submitted to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest over the decades. Here are some more gems from recent years.
Hermann lay with Esmerelda, entwined with one another among love-tangled sheets and he thought how this one constant yet mercurial woman was one whom he could hold in his arms forever, although eventually he’d have to get up to go to the bathroom.
It had started off as a prank, but when Major Elyse Livesay discovered (during her solo space walk, no less!) the tarantula that the boys in the crew had slipped into her spacesuit, she knew that while in space no one could hear you scream, it was damn sure not for lack of trying.
It was a long and boring flight to Moscow’s Sheremetevo Airport and when Special Agent Jasper Smoot debarked and walked into the restroom marked “Dama“ in Cyrillic he might have found the woman there attractive except she had more whiskers than a Civil War general and was pointing a crossbow at his head.
The giant ape’s broken body lay upon the asphalt and I didn’t know which had finally done him in—the planes’ machine guns, the fall from atop the building, or maybe just a broken heart—but it was all so heart-wrenching, so tragic, his climbing the Empire State Building just to get a glimpse of that woman’s gorgeous derriere, and the sheer waste of it all finally prompted me to pronounce my own benediction over his great, furry carcass: “T’was booty killed the beast!”
Dispatched to the steamy tropics by crusty editor, Warren Pease, to interview renowned spiritualist, Serrafima Raire, in her grass shack, which he truly feared would exacerbate his chronic asthma, London Times ace reporter John Donne found her dying of jungle fever, forcing him to write despairingly in his cable to the home office, “Medium Raire not well – Donne.”
Doc Parker looked down as Sheriff Eddie LaDuke lay desperately gasping his final breaths in the dusty sun-baked Arizona desert, knowing there was little he could do as the outlaw’s bullet had shredded Eddie’s internal organs like fresh coleslaw, leaving Doc to ponder his next move equipped only with his pistol, some chewing tobacco, and now, one extra horse.
I traveled long and hard to get here, blindfolded by suspicious gunmen, riding donkey-back for hours across inhospitable terrain, with no idea of whether the next valley would contain an ambush or a bomb, cut off from communication and denied the basic amenities of civilization, but finally I was able to meet with the terrorist leader and see the Polaroids of how silly I had looked riding blindfolded on a donkey.
Dorothy could hardly believe her ears as the uniformed Munchkin reeled off the citations: flying without a license, flying an unregistered building, reckless flying causing injury or death, parking in an unauthorized place, double-parking (vertical), failure to give way to pedestrians, failure to indicate, 2nd-degree witchslaughter, and closing her eyes she fervently prayed, “Please, I want to go home…”
The sun beat like a molten hammer upon the sand that Jasper trudged upon, scorching his bare skin, baking his eyeballs dry, boiling his brains in his skull, and bleaching his hair to that lovely yellowy shade that perfectly matched his taupe shirt, the one that he could wear with either his suede jacket or the denim one.
My underwear stuck to my backside like an All-Pro cornerback to a rookie wide receiver as I browsed through the seed catalog that had mistakenly found its way into my mailbox.