Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pulp Fiction

Have you entered the NYTimes pulp fiction writing contest?   Tomorrow is the deadline.  My entry, submitted earlier this week, goes like this:

They found me with a whiskey in my hand -- the third of what I had hoped would be many -- in a shack by a dock so far up what used to be the Amazon that the sun was a distant memory.

The man they sent wore a Panama hat, a linen suit and a scar that started where his ear should have been and ended near the corner of his mouth.  He carried a Smith & Wesson .38 and a letter that hit me fast and hard, like one of those elegant Sugar Ray Robinson combinations he sometimes threw off his back foot.  First a jab, then a shot to the ribs, then a flying left hook that would have taken my head off if I hadn't already been liquored up.

Three weeks later I was back in Brooklyn.

Three days after that a beautiful woman was dead.

It feels like a sure winner to me, although I've been wrong before.  Either way, there's no denying that first sentence is a thing of poetic beauty.  On the other hand, I have a bit of a twinge about the comma that sets off the Sugar Ray clause.  It might have flowed better without.  And you might argue that the whole second paragraph is trying a bit too hard.  But hey, what's done is done.

The prize?

Nothing, as near as I can tell.  So the steaks are high.  Likewise the french-fried potatoes.


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