The object of the contest was to write the opening to a work of fiction, using one of five given Guess the Plots. Those that aren't published below may be viewed at Evil Editor's Openings (link in sidebar) by scrolling down to (or clicking on) Additional Contest Entries.
1. Thou shalt not kill, so GABRIEL does everything but. Armed with stun guns and a rubber chicken, he goes to war against the Clown Cartel.
“You think you’re so high and mighty, Gabe?” Bubbles sneered. “So much better than just us clowns? Two sides of the same coin, pal o’ mine. Take a look in the mirror some time. You take away my make-up, afro wig, jumper, big red shoes, and these balloon animals on my arms, and you and I the same goddamn thing.”
As he had been for a long stretch, Gabriel stood at the far end of the empty office floor, no more than a silhouette against the city’s ever-burning lights. The tip of his cigarette flared again as he took another drag from it, looking out over the bustling night-time city far below.
“You think you scare me, Mr. Quiet Badass In Your Muscle Shirt And Jeans That Fit Really Nice?” Bubbles went on. “Think again. You take me out and a dozen more will take my place. A hydra’s got bupkis on a clown car, baby.”
Gabriel took his last drag threw the butt aside, his mind made up. He marched toward Bubbles, who suddenly lost his verbal swagger, face dropping. Taped to the office chair, he couldn’t lean nearly as far back as he would’ve liked.
Snapping to a halt in front of the chair, Gabriel pulled the rubber chicken from his backpack and eyed Bubbles with a dark pleasure.
Time to send these clowns a message.
2. Bored with her tiresome literary agent husband, Stephanie decides to splurge on a depilatory regimen and try to bag a New York book editor.
Every morning starts the same way. The alarm in my cellphone, set to vibrate, wakes me two hours before it needs to. I reach under my pillow to stop it before he notices and I slip out of bed, guided by the early morning light that falls out from under the curtains. I scrub my face with recommendations from the painted dolls of the cosmetics counter, and I brush and I floss and I rinse and I spit.
I sit down in front of the triptych mirror of my dressing table and tease and comb the kinks out of my chestnut hair -- no hint of gray. I have a wide toothed comb and a fine toothed comb, and I leave not a hair out of place. I apply creams and foundation and blush and a shadow to blend with the cool green of my eyes. I use a lipstick that scientifically complements the tone of my skin. I spend thirty minutes to choose the right dress and the right shoes. I follow the advice from all the books and magazines and web-sites.
Then, I go downstairs to obsess over the details of breakfast: Toast the exact shade of brown; eggs minute perfect; tea, five minutes, water boiling not just hot. Every morning, every detail is more perfect than yesterday -- I’m sure of it. And yet, he comes downstairs and gives me no more than a cursory glance, and I can see that ‘not quite right for me,’ look in his eyes. I know he’s looking for something else, something special and unique; something that will grab him right from the start. Well, I know I’m special and unique, and if he rejects me, maybe I should shop around?
3. When nine year old Seymour Mertens discovers the Ancient Sunglasses of Power in a hidden cave, he becomes the only force capable of stopping the Invaders from the Dark Dimension. He becomes... The Wayfarer.
"Seymour, would you please take off those old sunglasses when you're at the dinner table?"
The Wayfarer glared at his mother, but his look was lost on her. The sunglasses were powerful. The lenses were thick and as black as Hades, and after lying in a hidden cave for eons they were considerably scratched up as well. He looked down at his plate. The dark spectacles made the broccoli look like an evil growth, deposited there by a powerful, sentient being determined to poison him before he could save the world.
"But Mommm," he said, "I have to wear these so I can see the Invaders from the Dark Dimension."
"Seymour, if I've told you once I've told you a thousand times. This is Manhattan. There is no dark dimension here. If there are any invaders they're going to have to fly in from the Midwest where everyone votes Republican. Give them to me."
The Wayfarer reluctantly handed his mother the Sunglasses of Power. The broccoli looked even worse now. He managed to work it into his napkin when his nemesis wasn't looking. He finished the rest of his so-called dinner, excused himself, and carried his plate with the broccoli wadded in its white shroud out to the kitchen.
There he quickly pulled out of the cupboard the Hearing Glass of Power. He carried it into his bedroom and placed it against the wall, listening for the telltale sounds of evil in the apartment next to theirs. It was difficult, but through the powerful Glass he could hear the tiny, staccato taps of a man striking a keyboard – a twisted man – a man from a literary Dark Dimension, who with his uncounted minions toiled destroy fiction. The Wayfarer knew that he must act soon to save the world from . . . Novel Deviations.
4. This was not just any mousehole, as Tess the feline Guardian knew well. This was a doorway into the realm of Fairie, and if she lapsed in her duties the real world was doomed!
Kibbles, scooped fresh out of a just-opened bag. The occasional sardine. A nice scratch under the chin. Long naps in the sunny spot under the window. Tess sighed and swished her tail. She had given up all those things when she left home to become a Guardian. She didn't regret her decision, but sometimes she still dreamed of the old days. Especially at times like this.
Boots was late. Tess had been keeping watch over the portal for almost eight hours now. She'd pulled a double shift, covering for Fluffy when he had a hairball problem. But Guardians were not supposed to stay on duty for more than six hours. Boots should have been here two hours ago. Her eyes began to close, and she could almost feel the warmth of that sunny spot under the window again. She mustn't sleep. Even if Boots never came, even if they left her here alone forever. Tess forced her eyes open again by sheer will.
Suddenly she saw it -- the flutter of a tiny, shimmering wing near the mousehole. Tess pounced. She growled deep in her throat and sank her teeth into the small creature's neck. Then she shook it hard until she heard a snap. She set the creature down and began to eat it, delicately. It tasted almost like a sardine, but the wings tickled her throat. Tess spat them out and licked her whiskers clean. That makes one more, she thought. One more fairie who wasn't going to sneak in and destroy the fabric of her world.
5. When Apple's low-budget CEO-cloning project goes awry, the company is left with no choice but to bring in Wozniak to clean up the mess.
"It's happened again." Talbot took off his glasses and rubbed at his red eyes. "It's always the same. We get them up through all the really tricky parts and then they do something horrible. I don't think I want to work on this project anymore, Steve. I think it's time for me to go back to the university."
Steve stared at him, at the rumpled lab coat and the stooped, thin shoulders. He sighed. "Okay, Talbot, I guess maybe 500 tries is enough. Thanks for all your work here."
Talbot left the lab. Steve looked around at the rinky-dink equipment. The idea had been a good one, but maybe they had skimped too much on the financing. That was always a problem at Apple.
"Mr. Jobs? I have Forbes on the line for you, sir."
"I'll take it in here, Mindy," he replied to his OA. Forbes. Terrific. Just the icing on the goddam cake.
The news from Forbes was grim. Carly Fiorina, one of the early prototypes, had been a disaster, escaping out to Hewlett Packard and a high-profile crash-and-burn. Pattie Dunn, from the same clone nexus, was next, also defecting to Hewlett Packard and into another spectacular scandal. Now it looked like the whole Fortune 500 was made of nothing but Talbot's clones, most of them failing in publicly embarrassing ways: Kim Woo Choong, Jack B. Grubman, Kenneth Lay, Dennis Koslawski, Jack Welch, Martha Stewart, the list went on. Even Bernard Ebbers, so promising, so flawed. And don't even talk about Ronald Wayne.
Steve made the decision he had been putting off for so long. He was going to have to go to the board and confess the failure of the CCP, the CEO Cloning Project.
They were going to have to consider the Wozniak option.