First (lines) Love

(This post is a story narrative put together from the opening lines of well known books. Each sentence is from a different book, so the narrative may appear a bit disjointed at places. I have stuck to the original lines and used the strikethrough minimally. This is something i have wanted to do for some time now. It was fun. )


I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. I have never begun a novel with more misgiving.

Call me Ishmael.

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.


Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. The sun shone, having no alternative, on nothing new. It was a pleasure to burn.

Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing. He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull.  He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. It is a truth universally acknowledged , that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife.

It was love at first sight. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins…. -Money “. . . in a voice that rustled. It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets , rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

The day broke grey and dull. The clouds hung heavily, and there was a rawness in the air that suggested snow.  Like the brief doomed flare of exploding suns that registers dimly on blind men’s eyes, the beginning of the horror passed almost unnoticed; in the shriek of what followed, in fact, was forgotten and perhaps not connected to the horror at all. They shoot the white girl first.

I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man. 

Where now? Who now? When now?

Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested. Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting. A screaming comes across the sky.

I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man.

All this happened, more or less.

They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days, not any more though. Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there’s a peephole in the door, and my keeper’s eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me.


Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. ”To be born again,” sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, “first you have to die.”

It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.

They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days, not any more though. 

It was a pleasure to burn.

This entry was posted in over a cup of coffee, Random and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to First (lines) Love

  1. Shanu says:

    Wonderful. Such a creative, imaginative idea…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s