Since 1982, the English Department at San Jose State University has held the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, in which entrants submit the first sentence of a terrible novel. Here are some I’m thinking about submitting:

It was the kind of day that shone with the brilliance of a silver turd that got stuck somewhere in the toilet of a billion universes; the planet’s top scientists said such luster would not be seen again until the ice age of 3045, which would kill off all the Venus flytraps, xenophobes, and alter boys.

He awoke from a deep, sultry, and ironic sleep, likely induced by a harsh drug mined from some evil pocket deep in the earth, and discovered to his delight that his entrails were wrapped around both his neck and his genitals; from his experience, this was probably either a hilarious sorority prank or a sign he should buy a condo in Vermont.

The logy and sarcastic ant was prone to flatulence, which caused tremendous unrest amongst not just the colony, but all living creatures in a two-mile radius (it was quite the talk around the water coolers); the queen, however, adored the intoxicating scent, which drove her into a murderous frenzy when she listened to Mel Torme.

Quasar was cruising to the Pleasureplex in his vintage hovercar, chartreuse and exfoliated hair flapping in the balmy breeze, when a dilapidated orangutan from a hostile wormhole appeared and smashed him in the cheekbones; he was sent careening into another dimension where nuns and accountants run rampant in the streets and eat raw possum.

Eighteen dollars and seventy-nine cents later, Sandra discovered that the shiny but eerily-glowing toe ring was neither whimsical nor fragrant as promised but was, instead, a portal to the very depths of hell (or Miami, depending on the tides); she began to grow suspect of the slithery but gorgeous bullet-train engineer who sold her this droll but unholy relic.

The surly barista, weary from seven straight hours of Mongolian throat singing, looked lustfully at the knick-knacks on the tawdry Ikea shelf, then – with no provocation from his criminal parrot Irving – swept them to the uncannily clean floor with a robust gesture of his macho hand; the trinkets shattered into 438 heart-rendering fragments of a world gone mad.

Sure, he was a master of upside-down ping-pong, owner of a second-hand hubcap empire, father of 25, grandfather of 3,942, held the record in projectile vomiting (class 5), thrice beat up drunk congressmen, ate 32 ounces of meat an hour, and could smash a LEGO brick with his pinky finger…but could he name the capital of Fiji for $200?

The hunchbacked and fertile bricklayer approached the sarcastic and unruly koala with the brazen cojones of a hopped-up preschool teacher whose last paycheck bounced and whose box turtle had savagely bitten her buttock; as he rudely closed in, he readied the nine-iron wrapped in spoiled bacon and prepared to annihilate the beast, or at least offer the fuzzy bastard a smelly gift.

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