Worst Memoir Opening Line

You’ve been tasked with ghostwriting a memoir for an extremely unusual person. You come up with many opening lines to the book, but one of them you write as a joke just to amuse yourself at how absurd the person’s story is. But now that person wants you to use that line. Share it below.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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100 thoughts on “Worst Memoir Opening Line

  1. 50ishnewby

    At an age when many children were learning about their shadow, I learned that insanity would attach its gloomy silhouette to my young soul, and that it would never leave. Of course, at age five, I didn’t think of it as insanity, but I felt its hold. I knew of its dark power. I marveled at its boldness, and I feared its permanence. Even at that age, I knew it was powerful and different. And that it wasn’t affixed to the other children I played with at Thornberry Hills Elementary School.
    I’ve now been an adult for decades, but it’s not at all unusual for me to think about that time and wonder what life is now like for my former preschool peers, unadulterated as I imagine them to be, by the limiting forces of bipolar disorder and the early death of a beloved parent, not to mention the everyday disappointments of grown-up life. The last one, I allowed them to have, in my imagination. I’m not so self-involved as to think that I’m the only one who has suffered. But, I tell myself, they’ve probably had more triumphs than sorrows, and they still wake up every day with a natural inclination to do another day.
    Take Lily Thompson, for instance. That blue-eyed, curly blond, immaculately clean little girl arrived at Thornberry every day with a smile just bursting from her face, her stuffed lion Leo swinging from her hand by one arm, with a missing eye and a hardened glop of what appeared to be grape jelly peeking out from under its armpit, Lily running up the sidewalk as if she were about to enter a candy store instead of a kindergarten classroom. Or little Tommy Saunders. He didn’t seem to mind, or even notice, the bubble of snot protruding from one nostril, just about ready to pop, that typically preceded him into the front door. He still went right up to Sarah Jenkins, confident as the sky is blue, and said, “Wanna play Ninja-Pop Warrior?” Ninja-Pop Warrior was the gotta-have-it toy fad of the day for boys. And, like any respectable girl, Sarah pretended to want nothing to do with it. “Tommy, go play with the boys, she’d say,” like she did every morning, “and wipe your nose!” And Tommy shrugged it off, as he always did, and ran over to Billy Kennedy. Billy Kennedy was the leader of the boys in Miss Jensen’s class. He decided what to play, when to play it, and who to play it with. But he did so with such a natural authority that none of the other kids ever questioned it. It’s just how it was. He was a nice kid, he really was, and with his wavy brown hair and perfect dimples, he was beloved by all the little girls, even then. My particular crush on him didn’t fully flourish until 6th grade, but that is a story for another chapter. Or, even Miss Jensen. She must be a very old woman by now, but as we tend to do, I still see her in my mind’s eye as the enthusiastic, twenty-something bundle of cheer that she always was. She’s still bouncing around with a brunette ponytail, held-back by a scarf that matches her V-neck sweater perfectly. By no means is she a grey-haired old lady hunched over a walker, or sitting in a wheelchair drooling into her brown-and-orange crocheted afghan, her head drooped over to the side, waiting for an aide to wheel her back to her room at the nursing home where no one comes to visit her.

  2. lionwarrior

    My daddy always knew I’d turn out to be a serial killer, he just never guessed where I’d land on all the most wanted lists. Right now I sit at number three on one list; my highest spot yet! In front of me, I’ve got a dune coon terrorist bomber and some sick bastard who likes to masturbate to the family’s home videos while they watch and then mutilates each of their genitalia. One day though, I’ll get that top spot. I just have to come up with something bigger and better than the top two.

  3. Joey

    It all started when the cat landed on the fork. You would think that as smart as cats are and their well known dislike of water that they would stay away from the sink. But Fluffy decided that she was going to “walk the plank” as it were. How was I to explain this to Dr. Thompson?

  4. robryan

    Isn’t it funny how much your bellybutton stinks? Really, when you think about it, it is quite a foul-smelling orifice. How often do we think to clean it? I just assume it gets cleaned when I wash my stomach, and then it will itch, I scratch it, and my finger smells as though it has been condemned to death. My finger, now wrought with the black plague, is now stuck with the stench for hours. It doesn’t wear off!

    What is that smell anyways? Is it alien DNA that has remained since they populated our world? Is it food that has rebelled against being eaten and attempted a vain escape? Is it just that I’m a dirty pig that never learned to wash properly? That one seems most likely. Still, aliens…

    This is the story of my life. I am the stinky belly-button on an otherwise exquisite specimen we call humanity. I am the necessary evil. And I have saved the world more times than I can count. All I can say is, at least I am not the anus (though my three ex-wives may say otherwise).

    I am Sir Michael Gruene; professor, explorer, space-traveler, billionaire, and douchebag. This is my story, and you’re welcome to it.

  5. Jennifer Perron

    People have treated me very badly since I was a very small child. Woe, woe is me. But you know what? To hell with them, I am smarter, prettier and basically more fit to be on this earth than over 99% of the world’s population. So go ahead, sneer at me. Then read the next 2038 pages and tell me otherwise.

    You will see that I’m right.

  6. MDB

    I was born a beautiful child. Nay, I was born THE beautiful child, so lovely that three maternity nurses collapsed in astonishment the first time they gazed upon me, another two rent their garments, and a sixth demanded the doctors write her a prescription for a drug proven to cause sterility, unwilling to run the risk she might bear children that would be inevitably compared to me.

    A final nurse declared her intent to end her life once I was taken to my parent’s abode, despairing that she would never be blessed to gaze on me again. Despite the fact my buttocks still ached due to my impertinent clod of a physician having the audacity to slap them after I emerged from my mother’s womb (note to myself: be sure to send a mocking note to his prison cell), I asked, “dearest mother, can this poor wretch be allowed to serve the household in some capacity? I’m sure she’ll you handsomely.” (Please forgive me, but I had not yet reached my current loquaciousness, being only a few hours old.) My mother nodded her assent (she was still mute from the shock that she had given birth to someone as glorious as myself), and father contacted his legal team to see that the appropriate contracts were drawn up. I still see her today, among my staff of hundreds.

    Now, five years later, I am dictating the first of what is certain to be many volumes of my memoirs. I look forward to the praise my millions of adorers will lavish upon it.

  7. pvenderley

    They say you should write what you know (and I guess that’s really important when you’re writing your memoirs), so when I tell you that our position, our societal standing, is the result of equal parts hard work and two propitious moments — one occurring 42 in the past and the other 79 years in the future — I want you to believe me before reading any further.

  8. DesertSky

    [Worst Memoir Opening Line]
    Since you asked, I guess it’s been an okay life, especially for a Bakersfield cab driver born in Napa. But, there was that summer I spent in Eureka on a tuna boat, and the Captain’s daughter. The guys all made fun of her and said she was ugly. They even called her Rapunzel. I never understood why because she had dull, mousey brown hair that was shorter than mine and I thought she was beautiful. You just had to look deep inside of her to find it. I admit her voice was like finger nails clawing across a chalkboard, but she had this way of explaining how stuff worked so that even I could understand it. And she liked me to read my poetry to her. In fact, that’s how we met.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      This certainly is creative. You did a great job in describing the tuna boat Captain’s daughter. I’m not sure I didn’t date a few who were similiar in high school. Seems like the MC may have been a little shy of small grey cels and appreciated the way she explained things. You know I just wouldn’t stop there. I’ve give it a read at least the first few chapters. Never down grade a woman because she’s not a raving beauty. Some of those are royal pains in the keister.

  9. snuzcook

    Round Peg, Square Hole, a Memoir by H. Lester

    Editorial comment: This story is being submitted under this title at the insistence of Mr. Lester. This publication does not condone making light of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Mr. Lester’s demise. However, his family has instructed us to honor his wishes in this matter.

    Note attached to manuscript by author’s ghostwriter: Re: the title.

    Hubert Lester contacted me to tell his story last spring. He was in a battle with his landlord, with the City of Springfield, and with the medical community at large. As Mr. Lester himself put it in his dry sense of humor, “at large is the operative word.”

    Hubert Lester was 815 pounds the day that he contacted me, and he knew he was dying.
    When you read the memoir, you will learn how he came to be in this situation, how his life changed from an active family man gainfully employed to a recluse, and how a medical diagnosis forced him eventually to come to grips with the life choices he had made.

    In the end, everything came down to this: Hubert Lester’s obesity led to a condition that could only
    be corrected by a risky surgery. But Hubert was living in a small basement apartment below an old Victorian house, and he could not leave the apartment through the existing egress, i.e., his 815 pound body could not fit through the 34” door frame. Engineers determined that the door could not be widened because it was cut into the foundation of the house at a crucial load-bearing point. The only windows in his apartment were high and narrow and could not be modified to accommodate his dimensions.

    Engineers said they could get him out if they dug a trench on the other side of the building and cut a hole in the foundation there. But the old house was positioned in such a way that the water mains and gas lines lay right across the path of any such trench, and the sidewalk and part of the street would have to be torn up. The City of Springfield was in the midst of a moratorium on demolition and construction permits, and at war with the local utility companies. They estimated it would be months before such a permit could be approved.

    They could cut holes in the old house upstairs to install heavy duty block and tackle and winch him up through the floor, but that would forever destroy certain design elements of the State Certified Historic landmark, and, as the elderly owner’s son told the local press, it would break his mother’s heart.

    The final alternative was to arrange for the surgery to be done on site. This proved impossible, as Mr. Lester’s insurance company ruled such a procedure as an unnecessary liability to them, and also considered his obesity to be a personal choice that absolved them from taking on that risk. As their representative told me, their new policies were created to encourage their clients to live responsibly and minimize their own impact upon the costs of coverage.

    I was out of town when he left his tearful phone message Labor Day weekend. He said he intended to take matters into his own hands, and I was to finish the memoir regardless of what happened. It was not until early the following Tuesday that a meter reader discovered Mr. Lester’s lifeless body. He had attempted to force his way out through the narrow door in the middle of the night, and become pinned, unable to expand his diaphragm to call for help or even to breathe, he had suffocated on the spot.

    Ironically, all the parties involved managed to remove his body very quickly now that his prior need for their assistance was mute.

    In his final message, he insisted that if things did not work out and he failed in his ill-advised plan, I must publish his memoir under the title he had provided. At least, he said, he could enjoy a good laugh at everyone else’s discomfort.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Loved it also Snuz. Me thinks there is contractor blood somewhere in your background. It’s pretty creepy, we are starting to restore a Victorian house in San Antonio.. Conservation society is going to watch everything we do
        We have a $300,000.00 dollar budget, but it’s not enough. There’s no fatty in the basement but there’s plenty of problems. Are you available for consultation?

        1. snuzcook

          Ah, Kerry. I have been on the other proverbial ‘side.’ I sat on a local landmarks board for awhile that reviewed permit applications for their compliance with landmark statutes, and then worked through a local historical society to help some homeowners who were seeking landmark status for their property. A very knotty territory, with lots of landmines at every step.

  10. Beebles

    Oh, its another biggy. I wonder if it will post.
    ————————-

    It began as a chance encounter at the inauguration ceremony for President Trump IV.

    By rights I shouldn’t have been there. My style of writing was frowned upon by the Bureau of Censorship, but they were virtually giving tickets away, so I went along to spectate our country’s latest car crash. I couldn’t believe my luck when, amongst the empty seats, I found myself sitting next to the Grand Ambassador Xerxes, a solitary figure in his iridescent bio-suit.

    The arrival of the Ambassador and his embassy could not have come at a better time for the human race. The international fight for resources was accelerating the rape of our planet, nuclear war loomed anew and yet this first contact with an alien race offered humanity a real solar wind of hope. As a smoke stack of promises from the podium dissipated into the air like so much greenhouse gas, Xerxes told me how his own race had been where we were now, teetering on the brink of self -destruction.

    ‘You should have seen our planet when we left,’ he said, the colours on his suit shimmering in an affectation of laughter, ‘it was like one of your Swiss cheeses. But we fled and we survived, colonising new planets and finding species such as yourselves who have not totally consumed all they need to survive.’

    Even through his digital interface he was one of the most engaging creatures I have ever met. The lilt in the communicator reminded me of my late Uncle and, like Uncle Graham, Xerxes had an endless propensity for mirth.

    ‘So what do you think your governments would do, my friend,’ he said, when I asked him about his mission here, ‘if our entire Restoration Fleet arrived out of hyperspace one day, ten thousand vessels suddenly ringing your planet?’

    ‘Well, I think they would reach for the nuke button.’

    The carapace sparkled like the northern lights. ‘Precisely, my friend. So I am here to prepare the ground, to open the eyes of your leaders to new experiences and opportunities, to tell you it is not too late for your exhausted planet and,’ – the suit shimmered again – ‘to make sure our fleet is not destroyed the moment it appears.’

    I was not surprised to find that I missed the gentle alien as soon as the ceremony had dwindled to its inevitable conclusion, but the path-com he sent the next day stunned me. It was an invitation to write the ambassador’s memoirs.

    ‘Why me?’ I asked when we met.

    ‘I’ve read your work …,’ – the suit colours danced – ‘… your uncensored work. While your style is not the … cup of tea of many of your own species, it suits my people very well. I place myself at your disposal.’

    He settled me into his atmospherically regulated and hermetically sealed facility just outside Washington where it was my joy, and his too I believe, to interview him over the next few weeks. Chattering like school friends we were interrupted only for his diplomatic duties. I took those opportunities to write up our conversations.

    The media referred to his people as The Travellers. I saw them in my mind as something out of the celluloid era of entertainment, before The Censorship, films like Battlestar Galactica, or akin to the federation in the Star Trek franchise, finding new worlds, redeeming others. I toyed with a new name for them, even The Gypsy or The Dispossessed, but Xerxes preferred my suggestion of Nomads.

    As Xerxes and his staff ramped up their efforts and the world buzzed in expectation of his fleet’s arrival, I set to editing down my friend’s seven hundred years of existence. It was an extraordinary tale, certainly the best I had ever written, and yet I struggled with the opening.

    I wanted something that reflected the human take on the ambassador’s mission, something that harked back to those distant celluloid images and to our own paranoia and insecurities as a race; images that the Nomads and all their superior technology had the power to dispel for ever.

    In the end I merely pencilled down some thoughts and on Xerxes’s return offered my suggestions. We laughed together as I read the list, my voice ringing amidst his elegant kaleidoscope.

    ‘Truly excellent, all of them, but what of this one?’ His energy field indicated a line I had written in the margin and crossed out. I laughed a final time.

    ‘Oh that.’ I explained about the films.

    ‘And what does it say?’

    I coughed. ‘It says, ‘Die puny Earthlings, die.’’

    The silence tore me apart. ‘I’m sorry,’ I said, ‘have I offended you?’ After all we had shared, had I just articulated all the mistrust and prejudice that my friend had spent those seven hundred years trying to overcome. I felt I had slapped my own Uncle in the face.

    ‘Absolutely not,’ his interface expressed at last, ‘My readers will love it. It is what they will be thinking after all.’

    I anticipated the shimmer.

    It never came.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        The fourth, good grief
        There aren’t enough bleeding heart liberal media around to last 100 years after the sterilization movement. So what happens then? Restore King Arthur and the boys? There’s a lack of fair maidens left, you know.

  11. dustymayjane

    “Darling! I love it! You’ve captured my first romantic encounter perfectly.” Madam M gushed. 
    “Um, really? I was only adding a bit of spice as a joke to, to…” My hands swirled through the air as I struggled to complete my thought. I was going to say, keep from dying of boredom, but this was Madam M I was talking to. As her ghost writer I was given the impossible task of creating a masterpiece from paltry dribblings and trivial anecdotes from the most eccentric woman I’d ever met.  
    To liven things up.” I cleared my throat to hide any chance she might hear flippantry in my voice. 
    “Humph!” M stood to her full five foot two inch height, crooked as it was, and waved her feather trimmed sleeve in front of my face, barely missing the tip of my nose with her bubble gum pink manicure. Her cloying scent wafted through the air, threatening to close my airway.  
    A look of disappointment was tossed in my direction through faded grey eyes.”My dear Jane, if you must joke, perhaps you’re not equipped to write my memoirs.” Memoirs was pronounced mim-whaaaauoirs. 
    Rats! Me and my micro-expressions. “Beg pardon Madam. I just meant that our readers may want…” 
    Quick to interrupt, M stressed her imagined prestige. “Oh Jane. My readers don’t know what they’re in for.” The word, my, was emphasized to remind me for whom I was working. 
    Madam M continued flitting around her parlor with an air of a goddess who was long past her prime. She fluttered to and fro, like a drunken butterfly, lilting this way and that. Her long, bony fingers touched one treasure after another as if they were flower blossoms filled with nectar and she a hummingbird. I’d heard repeatedly, the stories behind the antiques that littered her home. Gaudy and pretentious, each piece seemed to bring her immense joy.  
    “Let’s put a pin in that for now Jane and talk about Jarvis. Oh I can’t wait to tell the world about my affair with the Count Jarvis of Moldova. He came right before Lord Van der Heyden in Czechoslovakia. 
    As Madam M began her telling of an escapades in a mountain top castle of Europe, unsuitable for most ears, my ears however, perked right up. I gasped. “Madam M! Am I to write verbatim?” 
    “Well how else will the world learn of my erotic life Dear?” M’s eyes twinkled as she fed me lines so rich with passion and explicit detail that I couldn’t help but blush. My fingers flew over the keys, capturing every sumptuous word. 
    “Now, let’s hear it.” M demanded. 
    I cleared my throat and began… 
    “My breasts swelled as his calloused hands squeeze my pale thigh. I felt the sharp edge of the stone wall against my buttocks but I didn’t care. I needed more, more of his hard, godlike body pressed upon my virginal womanhood.”

    1. Rene Paul

      Loved it… excellent story – fit the prompt well. One suggestion… you want want to separate the paragraphs for easier readability. Look forward to reading your next post.

      FYI some of you are posting stories in the reply section!?!? To post a new story go to the very bottom of all the stories and post there.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I couldn’t agree more with Beebles. Flitting around the house touching her antiques hit home with me. You chatacterized Madam M beautifully. There’s still some coals burning deep inside her, I’d bet money on it.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      This is just about the weirdest sentence I have ever read and….. I wouldn’t stop here. Great job in the bizarre. and the strange. Does he hire out for work?

  12. DMelde

    Worst memoir opening line ever?

    My life has been good, not great but pretty good, okay maybe that’s an exaggeration, but if we ignore the dog stains on the carpet and the moist cat barf in the upstairs hallway, I’ve led a pretty clean, maybe good but not great life.

  13. thewritinggirls

    She sat at her desk with her head in her hands. Why on earth had she thought it was a good idea to start ghostwriting? She wasn’t a ghostwriter any more than she was a mountain climber. But this was such an amazing opportunity for her to “bust in to the writing scene”. How could she turn that down?! It was the only thing she had ever wanted to be in her life.
    Lydia stood up and stretched. The dim glow of her screen was the only light in the den. It sent a blue hue over everything. She walked over to the windows and stared out in to the night. She was on the 12th floor of her building and her floor to ceiling windows were the envy of all her friends. She could see from one end of the boardwalk on the waterfront, all the way down to the historic pier. It was always abuzz with people. Day time was office workers and families taking a break and breathing in the sea air. In the evening, it was couples going for first dates and groups of friends hitting the bars or the casino. Tonight as she watched couples stroll along the boardwalk in the early summer evening, she longed to be out there too.
    A soft ping brought her back to the job at hand. Lydia’s story had pretty much written itself. The woman, Dorothy, was a legend in her community just outside the big city. She had survived the Halifax Explosion. It didn’t get much more interesting that that, especially for locals. Dorothy had moved out of the city to help care for an ailing uncle and devoted her life to the church and her community. Bam! Ready made tale of a beloved figure. Lydia’s trouble wasn’t the story, but how to start it.
    “How do I introduce her?” Lydia yelled in to the screen. She sighed and flopped back into her chair. Lydia wanted it to be a mysterious opening, making the reader long to find out more about this woman. Her phone pinged again. She rifled through the papers on her desk and found it.
    “I found a penny on the sidewalk and it made me think of you. I miss you. Plz call me or at least text back when you can,” read the text. Lydia sighed. She would get around to it later. She dropped the phone back in to a pile of papers.
    Inspiration hit her like a ton of bricks! That was it! The penny.

    1. Beebles

      Hi TWGs, I guess that’ll be Nova Scotia then? I have a story set there, though about 200 years earlier. Well, I am keen to know more about Dorothy, and I liked the little insight into Lydia’s private life, though I confess to be struggling with the penny reference. Is it me?

    2. snuzcook

      I have to agree with Beebles that I don’t really grok the significance of the penny, but it has been fun sitting here trying to figure it out. So it works that way…making the reader long to find out more.

  14. Kerry Charlton

    A DALLIANCE

    “It looks like you’ve stepped out of a cartoon,” Brian asked.

    “Why are you changing the subject Mr. Larkin.”

    “Because everyone already knows your story, why write it again?”

    “There’s a story within that tale, crying to get out and you can write it, I’ve read your work.”

    “Thank you, you are a real beauty you know.”

    “I already knew that from looking in my mirror. Don’t try to distract me.”

    “Okay, I’ll need the names of your boyfriends.”

    He wrote them down diligently and finally stopped.

    “How come so many and what about last names?”

    “No last names.”

    “Why not? Are they worried about notoriety?”

    “Don’t be absurd, they’re already famous.”

    “Okay, okay, skip it, tell me the real story. Sit, sit.”

    He pulled a chair up and as she gently became seated, he noticed her perfect skin and struggled not to touch her.

    She realized what he wanted, and with a frown muttered under her breath,

    “All men are alike, go ahead if you want to.”

    “Want to what?”

    “You can touch my arm for a moment.”

    He eagerly did so and his hand gently slid to her shoulder. “Your skin is so soft, ninety nine and forty four one hundred percent pure.

    “Don’t get carried away, remember the boy friends.”

    “Yes ma’am, sorry. What about the inner story.”

    He listened carefully for a few minutes and started to squirm in his desk chair. After awhile perspiration appeared on his forehead and he wiped it off. Finally she finished. By that time he was breathing heavily and started to apologize.”

    “No need for that,” she stated, “it’s merely nature.”

    “Double wow,” Brian announced. “We’ll sell ten million copies.”

    “I hope so, privacy is a pain and I need to build seven houses.”

    “You’ll do better than that, I guarantee you.” He leaned over to kiss her cheek.

    She refused him, “Let’s see how you write first. I’ll be back in a week in my carriage.”

    “Carriage, aren’t you getting your stories mixed up?”

    “No, she didn’t need it after she married.”

    “I suppose so, next Monday then, ten o’clock in the morning.”

    “Goodbye, Mr. Larkin.”

    “Good bye dear, be careful. He leaned over again to kiss her.

    She refused again, “Remember the writing first.”

    During the next week, he wrote the first six chapters but was frustrated with the opening sentence. Finally he scribbled one on a separate sheet of paper. ‘If all goes wrong, I’ll show her this one. ‘The epic story of a young princess living with seven men in a forest and loving it.’

    She arrived next Monday and four hours of discussion later, frustrated and exhausted, she finally spoke,

    “The story is okay but I don‘t like the introduction.”.

    Brian showed her what he had scribbled. She went into a rage and slapped him as hard as she could, standing over him as he fell.

    “I love it, love it, you are a genius. Get off the floor and kiss me.” . .

    q

    1. Beebles

      Gosh, this took me longer to recognise than it should have, something wrong my Feydar (as in fairy folk/stories – nah doesn’t work does it?). Well you creeped me out, Kerry, i have to say. that line was just NOT RIGHT.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            Here’s her second movie. .. Iota nu Sigma iota Delta episone. . . Sigma nu omicron.omega psi

  15. DrZoidberg

    This man of the hills, this simple man of the common clay, deserved the catchiest, most-eye grabbing opening I could come up with for his memoir. His hard-hitting talk of life among the poorest of the poor, the most forgotten of America’s citizens, would wring tears from the coldest heart. But I needed to break my writer’s block first, and as his name ran through my head my long-dormant sixth-grade poet self awoke…little did I know that my subject would see that scrap piece of paper, and love it.

    “Some folk’ll never eat a skunk, but then again some folk’ll, like Cletus, the Slack-Jawed Yokel!”

    *hat tip and all rights to The Simpsons*

  16. steelebob

    There isn’t enough money in the world that can inspire me to write something interesting about this man. I wanted to write human being, but the jury may still be out on that one. I grew up across the street from him. On a daily basis he’d yell at my friends and I for being too loud playing in the street. When I was delivering newspapers, making $25 a week, 5AM every morning, his paper was never delivered to his satisfaction and let’s not forget the Sunday that the paper stopped including the USA Today Weekend insert, my parent’s phone was ringing at 6:30AM on a Sunday. My parents weren’t church goers, so Sunday mornings, dad slept to about 8 and we didn’t see mom until after 10. So here we are, almost 30 years later, this man knows I’m a writer and he wants me to ghost write his life story. This is going to either be the end of my career or the greatest accomplishment in my life.

          1. Pete

            I took out “hell”, that didn’t work so I made sure it was right at 500 words. No luck again. Oh well, it really wasn’t great anyway!

    1. Beebles

      The story of Foghorn Leghorn, from waiter to cartoon icon. Enjoyed the story, by the way, Pete. Your characters always feel like they’ve been grated, so we get to see the raw underbelly of their emotions.

  17. cosi van tutte

    I rub my hands against my eyes, but I really want to bash my head against the keyboard. I had thought that ghostwriting this memoir would be a breeze. I mean, come on! Everyone knows him. He’s an icon. No, he’s something more than an icon. He’s like a mega-icon. A megalith. With white gloves.

    White gloves…Could I incorporate that into my opening sentence?

    I type, “Something, something his white gloves dancing to the sound of the tinny music.” Blah. But I can fill in the something’s later. I need to—-

    My phone rings.

    “Hi, Joe Parks talking. I…”

    It’s my client. He wants to know how things are going with his memoir.

    I smile like I’m in pain. Mercifully, he can’t see that. “Oh, things are swimming along.”

    I can feel my face turn pale.

    “Read it. Like…Out loud reading it?”

    He calls me a word that he really has no business knowing.

    “Of course. You’re the boss.” I look at the weak words polluting my computer screen.

    I clear my throat. “Something, something his white gloves dancing to the sound of the tinny music. What? You’re kidding, right? You’re trying to humor me, right?”

    He uses another word that I can only imagine a particular character in a blue sailor shirt taught him.

    “Really. You shouldn’t say things like that. It will ruin your reputation. But back to the matter at hand. I’m going to change that line. It’s really not all that good. Keep it? Keep it in? No, really. I…But…You want me to title it what? What?? No. No, I don’t care how much money you offer me. I have artistic integrity. I have professional standards. I…”

    The sound of a cash register rang in my head. “That’s a lot of money. Okay. Whatever you say, Mickey. You’re the boss.”

    ***

    Mickey Mouse’s memoir “I Am A *******” hit the top of the charts and broke every possible selling record.

    Doesn’t matter though.

    I still hate that first line.

    1. snuzcook

      Wonderful, Cosi! And what fun imagining those words that should never come out of that mouth said in the high, squeaky voice!
      Clever idea. Still working on the *******!

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Cosi, the seven letter word ..
          B*****D , certainly fits the sentence, however the mouse club isn’t going to like it.the story itself is a gem as usual.

  18. Rene Paul

    The Thrill of Waterboarding. 

    “I understand the need for a catchy title but I’m not sure the word waterboarding paints a factual portrayal of your life’s story or what you do for a living. Ok, maybe it is accurate… but… it’s misleading.” I waited for a reply.
    Joey ‘The Barrel’ Scarduzio sat across the table from me at Dino’s Diner in San Pedro, California, waiting with two friends and a tow-in driver to make their way out to the Bank.

    I was on my second refill of some nasty tasting drink the menu described as coffee; he was drinking something made with Kale.  The clock behind the counter clicked a notch to 6:15 a.m. I gazed at the yearly calendar hanging on the wall depicting muscle cars from the 60’s. Today’s date was highlighted with a red circled. Yesterday was X’d out.

    Joey was on Dawn Patrol.

     “Explain again the pleasure you derive from being buried under all that water for up to two minutes or more before you can breathe again. The panic that must overwhelm you, the sense of dying that enters your mind, to my way of thinking, that would be torturous. The first time I experienced it would be my last. I guess my survival instincts would kick in. I wouldn’t wish that kind of abuse on my worst enemy. But you, and others like you, you seek it out. Why?” 
     
    The kid said, “Dude… no one seeks getting worked, being radical is in my blood. It was in my old man’s blood too, and probably in his old man’s blood. Gramps lived in Hawaii, you know. So, it’s our family’s tradition and I’ve enjoyed it my entire life. After all, for most of the time, you’re only under the water for a few seconds. I’ll agree, it can get gnarly the first time it happens, I’ve suffered my fair share of dirty lickings, when you’re a Grom, it can be troubling. But you get use to it. But if you get clucked, you know, scared, you’ll stop doing it. The experience is either your best dream fulfilled or your worst nightmare come true. Me… I get amped. I love the long board, I’ve got nothing against short boarders, but I like the thrill of using my gun out at Mavericks, the Pipeline, and for sure today’s adventure out at Cortes Bank.”

    With that said, he drained the last drop of green… whatever… from his cup, stood up and said, “It will be epic.”  
    I wasn’t sure how to reply in his youthful vernacular, but I remembered from watching surf movies like ‘Ride the Wild Surf’ and ‘Beach Blanket Bingo,’ to say… Cowabunga, Dude, and Surfs Up. But that seemed so old school from this grey belly so I gave him the Shaka hand signal, Hang Loose my friend. 

      1. Rene Paul

        I surfed a few times, near the Huntington Beach pier when I was a teenager in the 60’s, but had to look up in a surf dictionary to find the newer vernacular. Boss and Cherry are out of date. Who knew?

    1. Beebles

      That is an awesome penultimate paragraph, Rene. the description of the diner added to the mc’s discomfort I felt. Excellent. Surf music festival in Livorno in June if anyone’s up for it! Danana nana nana nana, nananananananana ….

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Great story with a fab title.Unless you’ve been held under water against your will, you wouldn’t apprecsate this. I have been once in a large pool, the panic was unreal. You don’t ever forget.

  19. jhowe

    The writer dozed under a tattered beach umbrella as the lobster man pulled his skiff onto the shore. The thin black man with a mass of tangled dreadlocks glanced at the rising tide and pulled the wooden boat a little further onto the dry sand. He walked to the sleeping writer and kicked him in the shin.

    “Hey, mon. How’s story time coming?”

    The writer rubbed his leg and squinted into the Caribbean sun. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.”

    “We talk later. You write now.”

    “So far I’ve got the ganja plantation, your illegal lobster trade with area restaurants, the constant bribes to local law enforcement and your cousin Manny with his string of ladies of ill repute. If I’m missing anything, let me know, but you want to market this memoir to children?”

    “What can I say, mon? I like kids.”

    “Yeah, we all do. But you can’t expose them to this kind of activity.” He tested his shoulder blades for sunburn. “And the title… I don’t like it.”

    “It was your idea, mon.”

    “I was yanking you chain. ‘Ganja, The New Kale’ was a joke. I didn’t think you’d jump on it.”

    “It’s got a good catch to it. Manny likes it too.”

    “Yeah, he would. Look, I don’t think I’m going to be able to write this book.”

    “Well, here’s the ting, mon,” the lobster man said with narrowed eyes. “You see… that little problem you had at the airport… I had to pull some strings to set you free.”

    “I know, but it was your weed. You slipped it in my bag when I was getting out of the car.”

    “Details, mon. I needed a writer and you needed some adventure.” He smiled with gold capped teeth. “Win win if you ask me.”

    “Okay, I’ll write it, but the kid angle is out.”

    “Whatever you say, mon. Kids don’t have money for ganja anyway, now that I think about it.”

    “Now you’re using your head for something besides a hair rack.”

    “Was that a dig on my dreads, mon?”

    “Yeah, sorry. I better get to work.”

    “Later, mon.” The lobster man looked at the dipping sun. “It’s time for a break now.”

    The writer raised his eyebrows as Manny ambled out from the beach shed. He carried a bottle of rum and three glasses in one hand and a small folding table in the other. He cracked open the table and set it on the uneven sand, uncorked the bottle and filled the glasses to the rim.

    “To Jamaica, mon.” Manny said and they clanked their glasses.

    The men drained their rum and set the empties beside the bottle and Manny filled them again while rolling a fatty with one hand.

    “Ganja, the new kale,” the lobster man said. “I love it, mon.”

    1. snuzcook

      jhowe, I don’t think I’ll ever get that title out of my head. Perhaps you need to expand to full story under that title? As always, love your lobster man dialogue.

  20. rle

    For anyone who is interested, I will reveal the lie about me from last prompt.

    1. True. I am in fact the oldest of two brothers, and also true is the fact that he and I rarely speak. Although we are close in age and geography, we simply live in two different worlds.

    2. True. The fire was the first real tragedy I’d ever experienced. I would never wish this on anyone. Luckily, friends and the community rallied around us and worked nearly around the clock to help us build a new home on the same site in less than twelve weeks.

    3. True. I did start a blog last August, but I seem to have a hard time posting anything there. Maybe I’ll do better in 2017.

    4. True. It seems that I am among several of us who never learned to swim. When folks ask me if I can swim, I usually reply, “like a brick.”

    5. Lie. Jhowe, your reply was eerily accurate. Have I made mention of my profession as a retail/wholesale greenhouse owner in the past? Truth is, I don’t have any more business being a patent attorney than I do being an astronaut.

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