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Thursday, December 23, 2010

It Was A Dark and Stormy Christmas

If you are unfamiliar with the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, click that link and become familiar with the awesomeness that is bad writing.
As I may have mentioned a few hundred times before, I used to fancy myself a decent writer, but I've spent a fair number of years not writing much of anything so I am surely rusty at the least. I also used to have an insatiable appetite for books. No really, dip them in an egg wash, coat with breadcrumbs and deep fry them, I guarantee they are as tasty as anything you might find at the state fair. But I also enjoyed reading them, yet this too was something that I had gotten out of the habit of doing. So a few weeks ago I downloaded the Kindle app for my phone and, being the cheapskate that I am, I've been plowing through the hundreds of classics that I downloaded from Project Gutenberg.
As I had hoped, reading has sparked my interest in writing once again, but I'm taking baby steps. I plan to submit a few deliciously bad entries to Bulwer-Lytton, then graduate to slightly less bad creative endeavors here. From there I may try my hand at a short story, or perhaps a novella. If I persist through to a full fledged novel I will have surpassed my own expectations several fold, for I thoroughly expect to crash and burn on stage one.
Writing takes practice, and surprisingly, bad writing takes far more practice. So consider this my first exercise. I've concluded, through no actual study, scientific or otherwise, that the detective fiction genre holds the record for having the worst opening sentences of all fiction. Really though, with detective fiction it isn't just the opening lines. There is a reason this stuff is parodied.
Paired with the fact that I did indeed promise holiday themed blogs, I now present:

Dead Reindeer Pull No Sleighs

Rudolph took a long drag off his fourth cigarette since entering his office less than ten minutes before. The Chesterfield was stale, as stale as a Christmas cookie in February, perhaps more so now that hydrogenated oils kept baked goods fresh longer than any comestible had the right to exist. He picked up the manila envelope that had been slid under his door at some point during the night and dumped the contents onto his desk. Surely the chief knew about this by now and would be calling him for a lead. This case hit close to home.
Dancer was dead.
Rudolph knew she had hit hard times since the layoff, and he was well aware that dancing wasn't the only thing she was doing down at The Jolly Pole, but the girl had a head on her shoulders and had always kept her nose clean. Sure, no one bought that line that she was only doing it to pay her way through med school, but The Jolly Pole was a class establishment, at least as much as an establishment that served watered down drinks to lonely businessmen looking to fuel their lonely motel night fantasies could be. But murder wasn't on the menu.
Rudolph cursed the day that Santa called them into the office only to inform them that they were being replaced by Sony's new old stock of Aibos and cheap pixie dust from China. If he hadn't lucked out and ran into the chief back in his beat cop days, and offered to sit atop his patrol car and blink his nose in place of the broken emergency light, Rudolph could have ended up in a worse situation. He thought about poor Cupid. Despite the foppish name, no one really had any use for a Valentine's day reindeer.
The door handle clicked and Rudolph looked up, expecting the chief to walk through with some lame line about cheap booze and red noses, like he had every day for the last 2 years. But the voluptuous silhouette that he spied through the frosted glass was not the chief, not unless the chief had hastily acted upon some hitherto unknown secret desire. With a deft motion, Rudolph swept the envelope and its sordid contents into the top drawer and crushed the Chesterfield into the overflowing ashtray.
Vixen.

She cast a sultry glance around the shabby office, barely concealing her distaste for shabbiness, before settling Rudolph with a smoldering look that would have made Texas barbecue out of any other reindeer. But he wasn't any other reindeer. He had a red nose and a memory like a bear trap, and he still didn't trust this dame.
"Rudolph, it's been too long." She flounced across the threadbare carpet and draped herself into the faded upholstered chair across from him. "You used to tell me that you couldn't bear to be away from me for hours, yet it's been years."
"Save it sister," he puffed through a freshly lit stale Chesterfield, "You're trouble and you know it and Dasher happens to be a good friend of mine. I can't say I didn't warn him, but he's a grown man who stands on his own four feet so if he gets hit in the tenders he has only himself to blame."
Vixen frowned. "Dasher, there's nothing tender about him anymore. All he cares about is that stupid business of his and talk of IPOs, ROIs and a bunch of other silly letters that I simply haven't the head for. Oh don't think bad of me! I'm as gentle as a lamb with him, I just wish he'd pay more attention. Sure he buys me nice dresses, but does he compliment me when I wear them? I should dress myself in stock quotes if I want him to pay attention."
"I'm sure you didn't come all the way down to skid row for a shoulder to cry on and those letters on the door say 'Detective Rudolph, Private Investigator' not 'Dr. Rudolph, Head Shrinker to the Rich.' So spill it."
"It's about Dancer."
Rudolph's blood ran colder than Santa's black, capitalistic heart. There was no way Vixen,wife of the most successful of all of them who ran with the A-list and had permanent reservations at the most exclusive restaurants in town, could have known about a murder that had only happened a few hours before. But it was no secret that there was no love lost between these two broads. Their cat fights back at North Pole were legendary.
"What about Dancer?" Rudolph's poker face would have made both Kenny Rogers and Lady Gaga proud.
"Don't play dumb with me. Who do you think slipped those pictures under your door?"
Rudolph raised one eyebrow and took a deep drag off his fifteenth cigarette. This case was getting more interesting by the minute, and he hadn't even had his first whiskey laced coffee of the day.

And there you have it, the beginning of some seriously bad Christmas pulp. Who dunnit? What did they do? Where the hell is this story going? Don't ask me, I didn't even think up this much plot when I started out. Feel free to imagine the rest, or not.

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