Lines from the Slushpile
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 97 12:40:28 -0700
Subject: Lines from the Slushpile
[And if you like this, I have a whole book of half-sentence cliches that
could have been used to create these masterpieces... for a tidbit about the
book, see <http://www.devachan.com/RRJtunes.html#phrases>... -psl]
Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forwarded-by: email@example.com (Craig Good)
Forwarded by: firstname.lastname@example.org
True Facts publishes excerpts from unsolicited manuscripts sent to a
prominent editor of serious fiction who wishes, understandably, to remain
anonymous. These "Lines from the Slushpile" are the pick of the Eighties.
"Then it's hopest," Dad said. "You mean hopless," my mother said. "And
it's not hopless!"
The light that was Frannie went out.
Slicing the steak in Rena's cozy kitchen, I considered taking another stab
His teacher asked, "Peter, was you annoying Jeanette?"
His organ began to beat so hard he thought it would pop out of his chest.
When Sue and Bob came home, they found their cook in the kitchen, shot to
death. "That does it!" Bob said, exasperated. "We're moving!"
Then, when man's hatred for his brother had ripened like a swollen fruit,
the fighting started and like a bastard child we named it the Civil War.
Thoughts flew like spaghetti in my brain.
The anguish of being selected a human sacrifice, tied to the altar and about
to go to glory, was enough to send the young twenty-year-old warrior's blood
Our days were filled with parties, tennis, and golf. But I wanted more. I
needed dirty hands and faces to fill my life.
"You made Phi Beta Kappa in college, so there is no need for me to tell you
the the debauching of the coterie is an exemplar for every criminally minded
youngster in America--and what makes the cotumacious coterie so bold is too
"It's not easy to eek out a living," said Yvonne.
"Spider Jackson?" I scoffed. "Spider Jackson? He wouldn't hurt a fly!"
She was furious with her bank teller for eating up her lunch hour.
Without moving, she reached across and kissed him.
"Well," she said suavely, "viola for now."
The sudden expulsion of air caused the pouches of skin he used for cheeks
to flutter like sails before a stiff wind.
Dora was pleased as punch to be chosen chairman of the refreshments
My mind flew back in time to fathom the cause and effect of what I now had
to face in grim retrospect.
Mrs. Rogers said, "I'm sorry I lost my temper, but I was grumpy, and when
I'm grumpy I get grouchy."
Ken's body declared war, and since he failed to retreat until the wee hours,
it painfully assaulted him in an all-out morning blitzkrieg, taking no
The editor sighed. Look at all those Type O's.
The four-story ranch house, flanked by cypress columns, looked majestically
down on Route 66.
It was like an old Alan Ladd movie I saw with Veronica Lake.
Leonard had long ago given up dreams of becoming another Ernie Pyle, the
famous correspondent, Pulitzer prize winner, or great playwright.
"I'm glad I'm not out on a night like this," Sarah said. "We need the rain,
Sarah," Daniel rebuked her. He picked up the newspaper and was soon absorbed
in its pages.
Josh was at his sexual peek.
Kathy liked going to the supermarket. That was where she bumped into all
"An omelet for mademoiselle," Jimmy pronounced, "and an 'amburger pour moi."
I think that was when I fell in love with him.
"Why am I like this? What am I like this? I'll tell you why I'm like this!
Because those people at the party are all brittle, shallow people and I
cannot see their souls!"
"Thank you, Robere--you and your gendarmes played a crucial role in the
Gaullic drama of justice."
I knew I had a bestseller in me--all I had to do was plumb my depths and
out it would come, like some literary bowel movement.
The medical examiner zipped his bag closed officiously. It looked to him
like an open and shut case.
"Os swoh skcirt?" Jack asked when I arrived at the office. "I'm fine, Jack,"
I said. "But you know I hate it when you talk backwards.
With her splendid blond mane and her ripe figure, Sally splendidly embodied
the splendor of our American continent.
"Just a few questions," the lieutenant said. "My ass," said the redhead.
The lieutenant didn't like profanity but he had to admire the woman's
spirited quality. It was easy to see how she had risen so fast in the
"I'd like to know what kind of jobs are open to me," Wes told the recruiter,
"with the Army and the other services, and anything else I need to know to
make up my mind which branch would be best for me." "Wow, you sure know what
you want!" Sergeant Lang said. "I sure wish the other fellows coming in here
were as sharp as you!"
The garage was littered with greasy wrenches and screwdrivers.
Dan wasn't much, Clara admitted, but at least he was an up-and-coming lawyer
Carlotta's eyes dropped to the handkerchief in her hands.
"You know me," Sammy said. "I never like to lay a gilt trip on anyone."
There was an "evil hint in the air," as a professional writer might put it.
Clues don't kill people, the inspector thought. People kill people.
Dale was not one to mince words and came directly to the point. "Hi," he said.
George Cohan soundlessly placed his lips to hers and excused himself to go
and fix them another drink.
© 1997 Peter Langston