My Sloppy Seconds entry

I entered and did not win a writing contest, so now I’m posting my entry here.
The contest took place on The Morning News, and was called Sloppy Seconds With Opal Mehta. The concept here hops along with the minor outbreak of humorous plagiarism-lit that’s been going around lately since the revelation of Opal’s poor practice. The goal of the contest was to create a new story using only other people’s words.
The winning copier, Bonnie Furlong, wrote a humorous and creative piece that, frankly, boots mine right out of the water. (I’m going to risk sounding bitter — although, who cares, I lost a contest, I have a right to be a little sad — and note, without exaggeration, that the winning story in every single writing contest I’ve entered has been a story about writing a story. I’m not making a judgment call here, I’m simply making a statement. I think I know my angle for the next contest I enter. It’s an approach that allows creativity, yet is accessible and very much plays to the humor and wit of the judges.)
After reading hers, I regret not cutting and then stringing more sentences together with the citations. I made a decision to keep my lifted sentences intact — I was hoping to make a new story while at the same time allowing readers to see how each citation could stand up on it’s own. I figured it would be humorous, given the variety of books from which I stole, to discover how each one was stolen out of it’s context and used for my own means. Of course, I did that in a totally ridiculous way (see the block of Faulkner right in the middle). I thought it ended up being neat.
Worn Blues, Yellow With Kisses
The smitten suitor seized every opportunity to engage Iskowitz’s nurse in conversation1. They sat drinking and talking for a while about one thing and another2.

“The modern world has only vulgarised emotion by letting it loose,”3 he explained4. “What we need is classic control.”3

“Yeah, I guess so.”5 There was no remorse in her eyes6.

The sabra was transfixed but impatient7. Joel sat up8. “We think Honoria’s a great little girl.”9

“To be sure,” cried she, playfully, “And is she, at seventeen, just entering into life, just beginning to be known, to be wondered at because she does not accept the first offer she receives? No—Pray let her have time to look about her.”10

Miss Habersham in her turn repeating and paraphrasing and he thought how it was not really a paucity a meagreness of vocabulary, it was in the first place because the deliberate violent blotting out obliteration of human life was itself so simple and so final that the verbiage which surrounded it enclosed it insulated it intact into the chronicle of man had of necessity to be simple and uncomplex too, repetitive, almost monotonous even; and in the second place, vaster than that, adumbrating that, because what Miss Habersham paraphrased was simple truth, not even fact and so there was not needed a great deal of diversification and originality to express it because truth was universal, it had to be universal truth and so there didn’t need to be a great deal of it just to keep running something no bigger than one earth and so anybody could know truth; all they had to do was just to pause, just to stop, just to wait11.

“We don’t force.”12 As he spoke he wrinkled a little his freckled brow and bit, between his phrases, at a tiny bone pencil13. “It’s exactly about not-forcing.”12

Then she gave a little cry and clapped her hands and said, “Git on away from here, dog! Look! Look at that dog!”14

He smiled—but sat sideways on the sofa, his elbow resting on the back, his fingers playing with his mouth and chin15. He found a clean sheet of paper and wrote in the top right corner16:

The couple who sought a secluded, green spot in the late summer shade discovered they had brought home unexpected souvenirs17

“I was heartshatteringly et cetera to confront my doggy friend again.”18

Confused, the explorers looked at one another19. A hot and mean and bitchy desert with a naturally formed misanthropic mood seemed to be saying well Loop good buddy, how you want it dished up, scorpion bite, rattlesnake, order anything you see, it seemed to be whispering in the voice of the rude hash slinger of the rockbottom dives of our lives20.

“What you need to do is accept her decision and let her know that you will be around when and if she needs you21. Cope with spring fever by planting marigolds.”22

When he finally spoke, the voice that fell from his lips was both jarring and vulnerable: like a bloodshot eye23. “Fair enough.”24

His mistress and secretary, Francine Pefko, had thirty-seven-inch hips, a thirty-inch waist, and a thirty-nine-inch bosom25.

Most men have had the experience of watching a game with a woman who really isn’t interested26. The possessor and the possessed, looming death and the frail maiden27. The “sin” in the sex act is not that of love but that of parentage28. Of course teenagers don’t know about that kind of stuff and they just have to learn. They must be taught29.

They would go together into the future, and the unknown tragedy that must have darkened the past would be lost forever down the dim corridors of prehistoric time30.

1 Side Effects, Woody Allen, p.152

2 Barabbas, Par Lagerkvist, p.21

3 Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence, p.130

4 World of Wonders, Robertson Davies, p.162

5 Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami, p.33

6 A Child Called “It”, Dave Pelzer, p.88

7 The Aquitaine Progression, Robert Ludlum, p.230

8 The Aquitaine Progression, Robert Ludlum, p.266

9 Babylon Revisited, F. Scott Fitzgerald, p.3

10 Emma, Jane Austin, p.58

11 Intruder In The Dust, William Faulkner, p.89

12 Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace, p. 424

13 A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, James Joyce, p.202

14 A Worn Path, Eudora Welty, p.5

15 Sonny’s Blues, James Baldwin, p.26

16 Keep the Aspidistra Flying, George Orwell, p.78

17 Don’t Scratch! The Book About Poison Oak, Daliel Leite, p.1

18 The Zoo Story, Edward Albee, p.41 from Three Plays.

19 Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down, Ishmael Reed, p.92

20 Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down, Ishmael Reed, p.33

21 Living With Your Teenage Daughter And Liking It, Meryl Fishman and Kathleen Horwich, p. 138

22 You Know You’re 50 When…, Richard Smith, p.89

23 Another Roadside Attraction, Tom Robbins, p.23

24 The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon, p.34

25 Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut, p.145

26 Spend All Your Kisses, Mr. Smith, Jack Smith, p.87

27 The Magus, John Fowles, p.195

28 Fearful Symmetry, Northrop Frye, p.388

29 Atomik Aztek, Sesshu Foster, p.157

30 Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke, p.64</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

Sketch of Kyle Maclachlan

It retracts, and then OH MY GOD, it detracts!


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Founded 2005. Over the years I've posted writing, comics, ringtones, and stuff about maps, bikes, programming, pinball. And I had a robust music blog mostly about '90s hardcore punk (category = music).