Yes, here we are again, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest came to its end for this year. And, as last time, I will give you the best of. Here you can read everything.
Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped “Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J.”
Garrison Spik, Washington, D.C.
Leopold looked up at the arrow piercing the skin of the dirigible with a sort of wondrous dismay — the wheezy shriek was just the sort of sound he always imagined a baby moose being beaten with a pair of accordions might make.
Shannon Wedge, New Hampshire
“Die, commie pigs!” grunted Sergeant “Rocky” Steele through his cigar stub as he machine-gunned the North Korean farm animals.
Dave Ranson, Calgary, Alberta
Winner: Children’s Literature
Joanne watched her fellow passengers – a wizened man reading about alchemy; an oversized bearded man-child; a haunted, bespectacled young man with a scar; and a gaggle of private school children who chatted ceaselessly about Latin and flying around the hockey pitch and the two-faced teacher who they thought was a witch – there was a story here, she decided.
Tim Ellis, Haslemere, U.K.
The hardened detective glanced at his rookie partner and mused that who ever had coined the term “white as a sheet” had never envisioned a bed accessorized with a set of Hazelnut, 500-count Egyptian cotton linens from Ralph Lauren complimented by matching shams and a duvet cover nor the dismembered body of its current occupant.
Russ Winter, Janesville, MN
Winner: Historical Fiction
As she watched the small form swing backwards and forth from the crystal chandelier – hands on hips, sniffing the air and squeaking inaudibly – it suddenly became clear to Madame de Pompomme that she had done the wrong thing asking Jacques to find and bring back her long-lost sister: for, whilst her coterie would doubtless be enchanted for a short while, the novelty of Janine having been raised by bats since the age of two in caves of the North-west Congo would soon wear off in seventeenth-century France.
Simon Terry, Broadfield, Crawley, West Sussex, U.K.
Our tale takes place one century before the reign of Alboin, the Lombard king who would one day conquer most of Italy and who would end up being murdered by his own wife (quite rightfully, I’d say, since Alboin made a drinking cup out of her daddy’s skull and forced her to drink from it), when our little Sonnebert was seven years old.
Edo Steinberg, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Winner: Purple Prose
The mongrel dog began to lick her cheek voraciously with his sopping wet tongue, so wide and flat and soft, a miniature pink fleshy cape soaked through and oozing with liquid salivary gratitude; after all, she had rescued him from the clutches of Bernard, the curmudgeonly one-eyed dogcatcher, whose own tongue — she remembered vividly the tongues of all her lovers — was coarse and lethargic, like a slug in a sandpaper trenchcoat.
Christopher Wey, Pittsburgh, PA
The complementary crepuscularities of earth and sky shrank away from one another as the roseate effulgence of a new dawn burst forth, not unlike a reclining pneumatic beauty’s black silk stocking splitting apart at the seam to reveal the glowing radiance of an angrily sun-burned leg.
Graham Thomas, St Albans, Hertfordshire, U.K.
Bill swore the affair had ended, but Louise knew he was lying, after discovering Tupperware containers under the seat of his car, which were not the off-brand containers that she bought to save money, but authentic, burpable, lidded Tupperware; and she knew he would see that woman again, because unlike the flimsy, fake containers that should always be recycled responsibly, real Tupperware must be returned to its rightful owner.
Jeanne Villa, Novato, CA
Like a mechanic who forgets to wipe his hands on a shop rag and then goes home, hugs his wife, and gets a grease stain on her favorite sweater – love touches you, and marks you forever.
Beth Fand Incollingo, Haddon Heights, N.J.
He was a dark and stormy knight, and this excited Gwendolyn, but admittedly not as much as last night when he was Antonio Banderas in drag, or the night before that when he was a French Legionnaire who blindfolded her and fed her pommes frites from his kepi.
Leslie Muir, Atlanta, GA
Carmen’s romance with Broderick had thus far been like a train ride, not the kind that slowly leaves the station, builds momentum, and then races across the countryside at breathtaking speed, but rather the one that spends all day moving freight cars around at the local steel mill.
Bruce Portzer, Seattle, WA
Winner: Spy Fiction
Special agent Mark Park’s strong chin and firm mouth showed that he was a man to be reckoned with, while his twinkling blue eyes revealed surprising depths of kindness and humor, the scar on his cheek a past filled with violence and danger, and his left ear a fondness for M and Ms, but only the red ones.
John R. Cooper, Portland, Oregon
Dishonorable Mentions: Vile Puns
Jan Svenson, having changed his fortune in the annual “Scandinavian King of the Beach” in Santa Cruz with a bottle of black hair coloring and thus standing out in a sea of fair-haired rivals to win the coveted title, realized the ironic truth of the old adage “That in the kingdom of the blonde, the one dyed man is king.”
Matthew Chambers, Parsons, WV
Nell Gwynn, a descendant of the famous English actress and friend of King Charles II, decided she would help French aristocrats, who were being decimated by the guillotine during the French Revolution, cross to safety in England by hiding them under her voluminous skirts and putting off French customs inspectors by confronting them with a face and arms covered with angry red pimples, earning for her the sobriquet of Scarlet Pimple Nell.
Alec Kitroeff, Psychico, Greece
Miscellaneous Dishonorable Mentions
Behind his pearly white smile lay a Bible black heart, not like the Psalms with its, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,” but like Revelations where God just smites people.
Elaine Deans, San Jose, CA
There are certain people in the world who emanate an aura of well being — they radiate sunshine, light up a room, bring out the best in others, and fill your half empty glass to overflowing – yes it was these very people thought Karl, as he sharpened his mirror-finished guthook knife, who were top of his list.
Jason Garbett, London, U.K.
Though her beloved Roger had departed hours ago, Lila remained in their rumpled bed, daydreaming about his strong arms, soulful eyes, and how, when he first fell asleep, his snoring sounded not unlike two grizzly bears fighting over a picnic basket full of sandwiches, but as he drifted off into deeper slumber, his snoring became softer, perhaps as if the bears decided just to rock-paper-scissors for it instead.
Lili R. Lillie, Alamo, CA
Emerging from the dark and dusty wine cellar of Lord Parker after a year of fattening up on wine, truffles, and caviar, head butler Hastings, sans his servility and his tan, was well larded and ready to slip into the Lord’s slippers after pickling Parker in a punt of port.
Jay Solmonson, Orinda, CA
The day started out as uneventfully as any other, and continued thus to midday and from there it was nothing at all to ease into an evening of numbing, undiluted monotony that survived unmarred by even the least act of momentary peculiarity-in fact, let’s skip that day altogether and start with the day after.
Jon Starr, Rumford, ME
Watching Felicia walk into the bar was like watching two fat Rottweilers in yellow spandex and spike heels that had treed a scrawny bleach blond cat at the top of a skinny flagpole that for some reason had decided to sprout casaba melons.
Melissa Alliston, Coraopolis, PA
Her name was Mauve, like the color of paint, which was apt: not only was she “pretty as a painting,” she was also “smart as paint,” and certainly as thin (assuming sufficient solvents had been added); she was, however, Arnold discovered when she stepped from the shower, a lot more fun to watch dry.
Steven W Alloway, Granada Hills, CA
When he concentrated, his thick black eyebrows furrowed, looking not unlike a pair of Hypercompe scribonia caterpillars on a collision course over the bridge of his nose, but unlike them, his eyebrows would never evolve into giant leopard moths, and would find better places to hover after nightfall than around her 40-watt backporch light.
Jane Auerbach, Los Angeles, CA
Earthy ochre and russet hues in the lifeless leaves which rustle under his feet, and spiral down from the majestic trees above, signal that October has now arrived, but of course he knew this already because he has a calendar above his breakfast bar in the kitchen.
Roz Black, Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
As she skipped past the giant mushroom Alice was not surprised — because, after all, she had always suspected it was opium and not simply hookah, as many Lewis Carroll defenders had claimed, and tar heroin had since become a much cheaper and more available alternative — to see the track marks up and down the Caterpillar’s abdomen.
Chris Carlos, City of Industry, CA
The homicide detective was an aging woman with a crusty and somewhat ill-tempered personality, an individual who reminded me of the kind of woman my mother, a Sunday-school teacher, would have been if she had been a crusty and somewhat ill-tempered homicide detective.
Bill Crumpler, McKinney, TX
I heard her husky breathing as she came up the stairs, breathing exactly the way a sled dog breathes after competing in the Iditatrod as she sauntered into the room her hips swiveling from side to side like a Sherman M-4 tank with a 75mm gun forcing its way through the hedgerows of Normandy after D-Day in 1944.
Bruce Hanne, Citrus Heights CA
Carey, unnerved by an affair that had suffered through weeks of volatility, walked unsteadily, her dress etching complex runes in the fine patina of dust along the antiquated floor, to a rose-scented box of love letters in a vain attempt to find solace, like a security fund struggling to find liquidity in the US sub-prime mortgage market.
Ray Pasimio, Chicago, Illinois
As a cold winter sun was just rising above the lonely French village of Vicres-le-Buffeur, the forlorn figure of a man dressed in rich Arabian silks could be seen crouching in the center of the market square, crying softly and cradling in his arms the limp and lifeless body of what appeared to be a large hamster.
Arndt Pawelczik, Hennef, Germany
Like almost every other post-Hegelian neo-hipster angst monkey at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Rene flatly rejected the labels society placed upon him.
Bob Salsbury, Spokane Valley, WA
It was common knowledge around town that Bill drank like a fish, the kind of fish that consumes large quantities of cheap scotch on a daily basis.
Brent Sheppard, Morganton, NC
Although the family resemblance was almost palpable, there was no glint of recognition in the eyes of the separated-at-birth-but-nearly-identical quintuplets–Pixie, Trixie, Moxie, Gertie, and Howard–as they reached for the same size-10 champagne-colored lace Teddy in Filene’s basement that fateful Thursday morning.
Julia Tryk, Shaker Heights, OH
Rudy’s feline senses tingled as he watched Minerva pour a glass of milk, thrusting his tongue outward involuntarily, urging him to inexplicably lick his hand and smooth his cowlick, but he could not let Minerva know about the vampire kitten that had sucked his neck–attacking him with a feral ferocity that belied its adorable whiskered face–and how the meowing and purring that had become an integral part of their lovemaking was really just an injection of half-dead Calico.
Tara Lazar, Basking Ridge, NJ
Surveying his shattered and splintered ship, Baskin pronounced it wrecked, glanced at his first mate, Robbins, and began a careful assessment of his new surroundings: sand as white as whipped cream, lush greenery layered like a cake against the fruit-filled treeline, a vanilla sky blended into an evening as dark as chocolate with a pie-shaped moon, prompting him to wonder aloud, “what’s so unappetizing about being stranded on a desserted island?”
Jay Dardenne, Baton Rouge, LA