More Noteworthy First Paragraphs
The White Shoe Staff
While the following seven First Paragraphs did not win The White Shoe First Paragraph Contest, they are all fine examples of what we were hoping to receive when we introduced this contest. We hope you enjoy them. The final First Paragraph on this page has received a special award: the Best Promotional Material Award (read: the Sucking Up to the Redactor Really Works Award).
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Elizabeth Butteridge pulled the door closed snugly on Kensington Jewelers. She turned the key in the heavy dead-bolt, shook the handle to be sure, and glanced back inside once more to be sure the lights were off and that all the glass cases were empty. As she walked toward her waiting car, she thought about her enduring love of fine gems, of her impending, last flight out of London, and only momentarily of the hapless and trusting clerk lying quietly behind the velvet curtains.
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Naked. The feverish child's feet are cooled by the cracked tiles of the bathroom floor. Mother shuttles back and forth from the kitchen to the bath, bearing blue tray after blue tray of ice cubes.
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Anyway you look at it, he was gonna crash. The car was out of control and there was nothing he could do. Not that he even wanted to. In the longest eighteen seconds of his life, he wondered if:
1. All the money under the seat would burn up in the crash.
2. It was early enough for the accident to make tonight's paper.
3. Rosalyn still subscribed to (and read) the paper.
4. His father would figure out what the chopsticks were for.
5. His high school science teacher was still alive and living in Sandusky.
May the road rise up to meet you, he thought. And how.
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The shelves near the door of his one bedroom apartment were where he kept most of his prized stuff: a stereo, a set of keys, a fish tank, a picture of Lydia, and a toothbrush. Each morning the fish were fed first; then he brushed his teeth; music from his favorite CD, "The Greatest Hits of the Back Doors" filled the room with its weirdness; Lydia's glassed and one-dimensional face was kissed; and last, his keys grabbed and pocketed. Carefully, he would step through his doorway onto the smooth, freshly buffed hardware floor of the apartment building. Stopping then, he looked back, and re-crossed the threshold. The crossing and re-crossing would continue, over and over until he got it right. Sometimes he missed the bus, but that didn't bother him much; after all, things had to be perfect.
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Things looked grim in Apartment 12, and it wasn't just because the small one-bedroom got absolutely no natural lighting. Blood was all over the place, even inside the Tupperware, which was advertised as having airtight sealing properties. This was my fourth double suicide today, and it was only 1:00 P.M. While the coroner poked and poked (the guy carried his long pokie thing everywhere), I noticed a double suicide note. Written in a singsong sort of way, with each participant taking turns explaining what was to be done with the cat, I was struck by the plain spoken way in which they referred to shooting each other in the backs, "just like Jesse James." Then a reference to Cher, and a smiley face. Surely they realized this would arouse suspicion. Who mentions Cher in a suicide note? Not a straight couple, that's for sure. Okay, they'd shot one another in the back, but so what? It just didn't add up.
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It wasn't much to look at. That didn't matter. It didn't overlook anything and lacked the three most important things every self respecting real estate agent looked for. She didn't much care about that either. Her requirements were exorbitantly modest. Privacy and neighboring houses that were far enough away. This shack in the barrio appeared to be the place. The deal was done on the half destroyed kitchen counter in less than thirty-five minutes and ended with the real estate agent hurrying to his car with the attaché case full of money tucked under his arm and visions of sugar plums in his head. As he sped off, the chemical on the counterfeit bills was already beginning to melt the paper back to pulp. After she watched him leave from the front window, she set up the device in the middle of the room. Its size belied its power and purpose. As it powered on, the howl of all dogs within a mile betrayed its damage. That didn't matter. The field held. The stresses caused the house to collapse as she stepped through.
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Do You Remember?
Do you remember that time we slipped out of work early and headed down to the White Shoe Headquarters? Man, Mr. Politny was really screaming when he found out we left to go check out the competition. Oh, do you remember how we lied to that lady working the reception desk? She was like, "Do you have an appointment with the Redactor?" And you said, "Look lady, You might call him the Redactor, but I call him my biological father!" Dude, that sure shut her up. She just pointed us to his office and you just walked in without knocking or nothing. Do you remember how he got all mad and red faced when we stormed in and demanded to know who was running this joint? He looked like he was gonna blow out his temple when you took his name plate and threw it out the window. And he really didn't like it when you said that White Shoe was really just a money laundering website for Microsoft created suspiciously right around the time the Justice Department filed its antitrust lawsuit. When he said, "Prove it!" and you laid it out like you were reading a manual I almost cried.