Ten Openings

While reading through my journal in preparation for an experiment in alternate reality, I came across an exercise I completed over twenty years ago from a book on writing called “What If?”: come up with the opening lines of ten different stories. I kinda like what I came up with at the time.

  1. He had thought on the first day of class that he’d eventually fall in love with Janine, but by the end of the third class he knew he had fallen in love with Connie.
  2. John raised his hands in victory on the treadmill as the digital readout told him he had finished his mile in under 10 minutes.
  3. Humphrey snorted a laugh at the error message on the blue screen and, turning to Gillian with a sniggering grin, said coolly, “You’re screwed.”
  4. I was watching Wheel of Fortune when my father walked into the room and, turning the television off, said that my grandfather had just died.
  5. I hate broccoli, which is why I make it a point to eat it at least once a week.
  6. “A week. Ten days, even. Probably no more than two weeks.”
    “That’s how long it takes?” asked Daniel, scratching the back of his head even faster now.
    “That how long I take.”
  7. He was the first hitchhiker I had ever picked up. I want you to keep that in mind, because the rest of the story depends on the fact that I’m a newcomer to such activity.
  8. “My name is Helen Smith, and all I want to do now is go home.”
  9. Cafeteria, 7:48. Time for a quick note before facing another hour with those runny-nosed shits.
  10. Maxine’s shoulder was still sore from racquetball the other night, so when the stranger grabbed her there her first instinct was to scream. Which she did.

I even came up with an eleventh, which I just very well might turn into a full story:

11. I can’t say I’m wild about the title of Vermin Control, but yes, I am the one who’s called in when one of our employees turns into an insect.

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