Finishing

T

he First Line is a quarterly literary journal to which I’ve made several submissions and more than a dozen unsubmitted drafts. “The purpose of The First Line is to jump start the imagination – to help writers break through the block that is the blank page.” My problem is finishing an idea for one of its first lines.
Five examples follow:


There were five of them, which was two more than I’d been expecting. I was faced with loading 1,000 lbs. of passengers and their luggage into the small SUV for a 50-mile ride to the mountain cabin. On a normal day, there would be options: take two trips, call for a second van, hire a ride share for the two extras… Calling the resort manager wasn’t one of the options. He was grouchy enough with employees on a regular basis, but to call him at 3:00 AM could result in my being fired on the spot.


There were five of them, which was two more than I’d been expecting. The delivery crew assured me the invoice for five chairs was accurate and the order number matched what I’d received online. I did a quick calculation and determined the total was for three of what I had paid. The response from the company’s customer service was that my order was for three and the price was as printed. To make the adjustment, I’d have to send all five back and wait for a shipment of three.


There were five of them, which was two more than I’d been expecting. The show had advertised three of Branston’s classic black and white originals for action. Branston was well known in the photography world for making one print and destroying the negative so there would never be duplicates. I thought I’d read every catalog of his work and didn’t recall seeing the extra two.


There were five of them, which was two more than I’d been expecting. Soviet T-54s were disturbing to a well-armed infantryman with a Bazooka and even more so to anyone with only a M-1 Carbine or M1911 .45 caliber pistol. Someone somewhere must have thought technicians shouldn’t be armed when gathering electronic intelligence on the American Zone/Czech border in 1961. Where I was t and for what I was doing my .45 was locked up in the company arms room.


There were five of them, which was two more than I’d been expecting. Adam Scott, my best high school friend, was there with his girlfriend Evadne Rossman. Evette, Evadne’s twin whom I was dating would be sitting in the front seat with me at the drive-in movie. But the twins’ sister Peggy, younger by a year, and Cranston Peal, her on again, off again, too old for our comfort, boyfriend, were standing just off to the side when I parked at the curb next to the Rossman home.


My previous blog was about advice. Perhaps I should take John Grisham’s and write the ending first and work the first line toward that end.

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