Friday, February 25, 2011


As a celebration of the fifth anniversary of LOST IN KIDS, I will be spewing forth an explosively immense amount of material. Here is the first of many.

There is a contest held by Bulwer-Lytton that gives awards to the worst first sentence of a novel. The novel does not have to written.........just the first sentence, and it needs to be a hideous foretaste of what is to come. I entered the contest one year and quickly lost interest, mainly because of my indifference to the rules which clearly stated that bad sentences purely for humor's sake would not be tolerated. However, there was a category that allowed humor to be generated by grammatical error. I piddled around with that for a little while. Here are a few of my efforts at pitiful writing:

Humor cause by grammatical error:

Seven seconds after Frank entered the restaurant he knew there were two men packing heat in the booth to his left, a drunk having an argument with what would surely be his last date with a foxy brunette near the door leading into the kitchen, and a mechanic who recently had sex with his wife in the table near the front window.

Loretta was feeling great after hitting the three hundred dollar jackpot on the quarter slot, but while she served herself another helping of shrimp scampi from the casino buffet, she noticed a burly man staring at her in the dessert section.

The lonely, deserted stretch of road looked forbidding in the faint moonlight, especially with her car low on gas, and Brenda was aware that Jeffrey, a hitchhiker she had picked up just east of Texarkana, had awakened from his sleep and was staring at her gauges.

Bad first sentences that are awkward or confusing:

Gazing grimly at the sky, Lt. Forrester, the aging detective, shook his head at his rotten luck, while his open umbrella, which had come loose from his grip, alternated between bounding like half of a giant bowling ball (except a lot lighter) and taking off for short flights kind of like a black parachute with a really skinny woman hanging from it trying to land in a hurricane down Dover Drive.

Charles was not used to such accommodations, and he held the menu, a greasy piece of plastic peddling greasy fried foods, grimly.

These sentences were purely for the fun of it:

"One more sip," he thought, and as the bottle of Maalox brushed his lips, he felt a sharp stabbing pain in his back and a quick, sure movement in his right hip pocket, and he thought to himself, "I'm gonna die right her, right now, in this parking lot for a measly twenty dollars, or maybe I broke that twenty when I ordered that Long Island Iced Tea, but I don't remember getting any change."

Every hospital has its idiot employees, and the fates usually prevented them all from descending all at once on one hapless patient, but Donnie wasn't feeling lucky after his unfortunate mishap with the garbage disposal, and now, to top it all off, this was the fourth time someone had entered his room and tried to give him the wrong medication, and he knew, deep down inside, that his life depended on staying alert for the next forty-eight hours.

Short ones:

Jane was a hot bombshell waiting to be defused, and Charles was a hot bombshell defusing kind of Tarzan.

Jack was the king of his bachelor pad still on a quest for his queen, but in reality he was only a deuce, or a six or seven at best, a worthless card in the great deck of life, but he had an ace up his sleeve, and her name was Lady Luck.

The needle tracks were beginning to show, and Frank applied some more self-darkening suntan lotion to his arm in preparation for what would be his last successful job interview.

"I'm going into the car wash business," announced Ralph to his new bride, "and I am calling it "The Immaculate InCarNation."

Loretta's sobbing could stop sparrow's singing in spring as well as sink ships like loose lips during World War II, but fortunately for her boyfriend Dave, she was in a good mood.

Knowing that he was alive and the other guy wasn't relieved and saddened Jeremy Scott Fleisher at the same time.

Here is a comma filled favorite of someone whose opinion I respect:

This is a tale that can only be understood, if at all, by believing, even if only in a lukewarm manner, in miracles, though modern man, in his post-biblical neurosis, fails to entertain the notion of their existence, and the wondrous things that can happen, and happen they will, when they manifest themselves, like a pinata that bursts open to spill out its candy reward, in our lives.

I like the word "again." Here is an again-filled beauty:

This time Gene's 38 revolver had finally accomplished its handiwork, the smoke never to languidly ooze its way out of the slightly rusted barrel again, the chamber never again to spin like a carousel of chaos again, the grip never again to slip out of a drunken hand and fall to the floor again, the safety never to be left off, and the firing mechanism never to fail and allow a bullet to come out when it wasn't supposed to again.

Here are my favorites:

If women were dances, Carla was a fox-trotting, Rhumbanesque, striptease pole dancer of a flamenco with flamingo legs tap dancing across the dance cards and the hearts of the flat-footed men who dreamed of Fred Astairing their way into her panties.

Live Oak Terrace was a brand new neighborhood, somewhat like a virgin, with fresh, white curbs, little tiny trees protruding from the ground, the first signs of grass seedlings in each yard, and a garage that had never had a car enter its garage and then back out again.

It seemed like a plain, old, ordinary day, a day like any other, and he felt the same as he would on any other day, except this day wasn't going to be a plain, old, ordinary day, a day not like any other, and he wasn't going to feel the same at the end of it like he would on any other plain, old, ordinary day, and it all started with the alarm clock just like it usually did.

Disturbing sentences:

A steamy mist hissed from the sewers and gutters of Central Boulevard as if the secret doings unfolding in all the clapboard houses and moldy motels lined up on either side of the dirty concrete street were escaping in the only way possible - as putrid, seething gases belching from the nasty underbelly of lost souls housed in each despicable, deplorable, and dilapidated dump.

Gorgon, a Zola leader of the Expulsion Team on Arbutus-3, lifted a skulltainer to his lips and sipped warm liquid extractions as smoke wafted thought the containment flaps, and he flared his nostrils and growled, "I love the smell of burning human flesh in the morning."

Charles H. Langford was the therapist to some of Chicago's richest and most famous personalities, his offices snobbishly gazing down at the windy city below, his Clark and Hydesbury suits perfectly tailored to his well-maintained physique, but his latest patient, Bud Clouf, was troubling him, and he squirmed in his seat when Bud muttered, "I got the dough to buy a tie like yours, but what the hell kind of morphodite would want to?

Manny's eyes flickered, his chin rose ever so slightly as his nostrils flared, he gritted his teeth, and he clinched his massive fists when he realized the Ace Hardware store was out of quarts of Tuscan White interior wall paint, and he thought about getting a portable drill with a 9/16" bit and taking a trip down the aisle drilling holes into all the Dutch Boy's foreheads until somebody could stop him with an ax, or maybe a shovel if they got lucky.

"I hate soccer," Bill Joe muttered to himself, and he drove several blocks thinking only of machine-gunning all the little soccer players and their parents for having the baseball fields converted into Brazilian battlefields of boredom until he caught sight of the beauty parlor in the strip shopping center where he had scheduled a manicure and a pedicure.

One that I thought would win:

Barrels came loose, cannons broke free and were, as in the old expression, "loose cannons," and they smashed the poor sailors who found themselves in the lower part of the ship as the front part of the mighty schooner "The Tempest" crashed into another dark and stormy wave, causing the main sail pole to moan and groan like a nauseous drunkard struggling to stay standing.

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