First Paragraphs

by Dwight Newton

Dwight Home | Oriscus Home

Hey, this is MY website and I can put anything I want on it. Nyah.

So I have this half-baked talent for writing that is severely handicapped by a short attention span. I'm pretty good at writing the first paragraph or so of something, but then I'll lose interest or I'll not have thought about where it's going, or whatever. Here are some of them.

WARNING - - Some language used may be offensive to some readers. This page is not intended for children. All content copyright © 1983 - 2003 by D.A. Newton.

Living in the shadows

That place where we keep our darkest secrets - the ones we won't confess even to the one from whom no secrets but this are possible. The ones we can't confess even to God or to ourselves because we know there can be no absolution. Nothing we can do to wash away the shame from our hearts. My greatest fear is that on my deathbed, this will be my final thought, and I will carry the corruption of my soul into the ultimate corruption of my flesh.
-October 5,2003

Wendy Balboa
woke up with a hairy green headache growing out of her left ear. This was not altogether unexpected, considering the considerable amount of crème de menthe she had ingested the previous evening. What made this particular headache unusual was the way it kept making fun of Wendy's nose. Wendy had always had a certain pride in the way her nose pointed just the slightest bit to the northwest. Just enough to give her a slightly haughty and wry look, but not enough to warrant discussion. She thought it gave her character, but this morning it seemed almost a disfigurement.

It was at just the moment that she was considering smashing her nose with the bathroom door, in order to have an insured excuse for rhinoplasty, that the phone rang and caused her to completely forget about it. The call was from her Aunt Gilda. She was coming to stay the weekend and would Wendy mind if she brought a gentleman guest. Wendy thought quickly for a believable excuse to be out of town and in the meantime heard herself saying, "Great. See you Friday about eightish, then. Sounds great. You bet. No problem. You can have my bed. I'll sleep on the couch. No really." etc. When she hung up the phone she still had the polite smile on her face that her mother had taught her to wear in the face of impending doom. Wendy went to the bathroom, saw that smile as though it were nailed there by a psychopath, and promptly threw up.

Freddie Guano
scratched his left ear with the screwdriver he was using to jimmy the storage room lock. It was clearly the wrong tool for either job, but it was all he had. Inside the room was rumored to be a case of seven year bourbon -- not very old for premium liquor, but downright ancient compared to the white lightning he was used to getting warm from the still.
-June 19, 1991

Freakin' gum disease?
My girlfriend's knocked up, my cat's sick, my carburetor's shot, the toilet leaks, and now she says I got fuckin' gum disease and she wants a grand to cut 'em out. Christ, like I got money fartin' out my ass. Like I give a shit if my teeth fall out. Like fuckin' George X. Bush is gonna hand me a check and say "Here ya go, boy, git 'em paved in gold." Everybody thinks I owe 'em a living.
-October 7, 1991

There was this kid named Dennis
see, and this kid thought he knew everything. Well I tell you, mister, he didn't know shit. He didn't even know up from corn. That's the worst kinda ignorance is arrogant ignorance. So this kid Dennis he come up to me and he says, "George," he says, "How come you got no wife at home?" Like he don't already know my Lucy been dead and gone for two years already. So I whup him upside the head an tell him, "Boy; didn't your papa ever tell you to respect your olders?" And he like to blow a gasket for laughing so hard. I could tell he was in a real hurt of pain from something struck him awful funny. 'Course I was a bit riled with him thinking I was such a joke, and I would of give him a whippin' if it wasn't for how he was so all doubled up with the gigglies already. It was the most courioused thing I ever did lay eyes on. So I just sat down on the steps there nearby and waited for the boy to get aholt of hisself.

After a while he starts to calm down a bit, his breathin' started getting a bit more regular and him peerin' at me over his knees with tears comin' out his eyes and that stupid looking grin on his face. I says to him, "So what's the big joke, son?" This sets him off once again, but not quite so bad this time. Finally he comes around...

Jerry Giraffe
has lost his voice. , says Jerry. Jerry's girlfriend Gloria gulps. "Yoicks!", says Gloria. She takes Jerry to Oliver Owl who knows a lot of stuff, but whose wife Olivia hits him. "Beats me", says Oliver, which only confuses Jerry and Gloria since they don't know whether he's referring to the laryngitis or Olivia. Gloria wants to ask Crandall Crocodile, but Jerry looks at Crandall and thinks, "That's a crock" so they look for Doctor Duck. Doctor Duck is a sexist and when he takes a gander at Gloria's long legs he quacks up. "Duck you", says Gloria. Jerry is starting to turn an odd shade of blue and his eyes are bugging out. Gloria realizes it's not laryngitis at all -- Jerry has something caught in his throat. Gloria performs a quick Heimlich on him and out pops Ferdie Frog. Ferdie hits a rock and croaks. Gloria looks at Jerry and says, "Serves you right for eating like a pig". This offends Peter Pig, but Gloria doesn't care since Peter is such a boar.

What a delicious name. As in "Cook me up a Mesopotamia and some greens." Fairly swimming in fat -- enough to make your arteries seize right up. Just enough cayenne to squeeze a single tear from your left eye. The romance, nay, the naked lust that name elicits. An odalisque on a bed of rice, gently caressed in a creamy clam sauce.
-October 1, 1991

The great Radish.
Walking unsteadily down the stairs while a small ball of hair marimbas at his heels. Andreas Kaplan is his amanuensis, quill in hand, making curious marks on the page which actually have no meaning since AK is illiterate. Radish is the world's greatest deipnosophist and has the belly to prove it. The belly is a shrine to music. Trumpets hail it, harps and harpsichords revel in its logic, tympani quiver in envy of it, conductors bow in obeisance to it. The earth itself finds it rather pretentious and points to her own grand tetons in defiance.

Do you like this?

I don't know. It has a sort of edge to it...a certain abrasiveness that's somehow attractive. It makes me want to eat pomegranates. Seedy, but not in the pejorative sense. It's strange. It makes my elbows itch, you know. Sort of an off-green kind of feeling.

Ah, yes, but do you see the political implications?

Well of course, that's the obvious thing, isn't it? The whole futility of military adventurism tied into the failure of capitalist totalitarianism to stifle the fight or flight reaction to imminent disaster. Adrenal. I find his use of medieval symbolism confusing, however. In context with his other works this stands out as anachronistically subjective. It's like he's trying to prove he can be subtle by being blatantly obvious.

But don't you think there's a wonderful sense of eroticism underlying that cold, impersonal facade?

You mean the phallus hanging off the side? Seems more like an expression of phenomenal ego to me. Outrageous.

Hmm. I was thinking of buying it. One of his pieces went for twelve thousand last month. This one's only thirty-eight hundred.

It is a reasonable investment if that's all that interests you. Surely you wouldn't intend to display such a thing in your home?

No, I expect not. It's pleasant enough, but I shouldn't want to face it before breakfast.

Or dinner.

Or cocktails -- I see what you mean. Ah, well...

-ca. 1988

Et in terra pax

The lights are flickering. Cold concrete walls dripping from condensation, the smell of mildew. Who else would volunteer to spend eight hours a day in the hole? It wasn't that hard a decision, really. At least they fed him. What chance would he have had in the outside world? 

People usually refer to the hole, when they refer to it at all, as the containment housing. But the unspoken word that invariably comes to mind is "nasty". Not a very vivid image perhaps, but peculiarly appropriate. The place isn't horrible or disgusting or awful. It's nasty.

It was never clear just what the containment housing was supposed to contain, or why exactly they needed someone to be in it all the time. They never specified anything for him to do while he was in there, except to report at the end of his shift if anything unusual had occurred. He'd been "working" in the hole for six years and nothing ever changed. Nothing ever happened. Sometimes it's hard to get up in the morning, shower and put on the uniform, walk down those seventy-two stairs into the bowels of the complex and go through the ritual of security checks to relieve the night man. Sometimes it seems so pointless. It seems like there should be more to it than just being there.

The hole. A not very large concrete block room with a double row of fluorescent lights in the ceiling and a drain hole in the middle of the floor. That's al there is. No furniture, no clock, no electrical outlets. Not even a wall switch for the lights. And no air vents. That's the worst. The place is musty and damp. The cold steel door is the same drab gray as the walls and seems to disappear when it closes. The hard walls echo every sound. Sometimes he can hear his heart beat. He can always hear his breathing. 

Security would not permit him to bring in reading or writing materials. Usually he spent most of the morning walking in a slow circle, counter-clockwise. The walls and floor are too cold and damp to sit on for very long. The cold penetrates to the bones. At least he can keep the blood circulating by walking. 

At noon they would bring a tray and he would eat while standing just inside the door so he could still monitor the room. By mid-afternoon he would be squatting on the floor to take some of the strain off his legs. Then sometimes he sings. He never learned any regular tunes, so he makes them up as he goes along. There are never words to his songs, just sounds. But the sounds are sometimes glorious. The natural resonance of the room reinforces his voice with rich harmonics and the echoes last long enough to create fantastic dissonances. He has learned to manipulate the acoustical properties of the room by moving about and aiming his voice in different directions so it bounces off the corners. Ooooohhhwhaaaatatatatadadassshhhhhhoooooommmmm..... powopwopeeeeeeeeeessssssss...... He goes on testing new sounds and retrieving old ones in a seemingly endless concert. After about two hours of this he centers himself in the room and hums a single tone, letting it slowly die away into silence. The relief man will soon arrive. 

The security people sometimes ask him how he can stand to be locked up in there for so long and with nothing to do. It's not so bad, he says.


.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


Yeah, what?


I know, I know. Leave me alone.


Shut up or I'll pull your damned plug.


.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  HARRY?

All right! I'm up!


O.K., o.k. . . . .

A cerebral jumpstart could ruin most of a guy's morning. But it absolutely guarantees a state of wakefulness. Sort of clears the sinuses, too. But it makes your teeth feel like they're about to fall out.

Harry opted for an ultra-scrub. He needed something to get the blood circulating. The ion generator tended to make his skin itch, but at least he knew he was clean. On the outside, anyway.

It was all very depressing. The C2-AI protein chip was his own brainchild and its clones were selling like hotcakes. "I'll C2 it" has become a household phrase in America. With worldwide distribution futurists were predicting yet another new age of leisure time activity, the more mundane tasks of everyday living having been taken over by self-replicating machines. Each C2 had its own "personality." It could genetically alter its clones to adapt to virtually any task. It was a dream come true.

Except for one thing. It made you feel as though your mother was always standing over your shoulder. There are three absolutely predictable traits in every C2: it is absolutely reliable, absolutely adaptable, and it truly cares for its host's well-being. Once a newly manufactured C2 is imprinted by the personality of its end user, that imprint is passed on to all of its replicas. "C2 it! You'll have a friend for life!"

Friend. Right. Won't let you out of the house without a hat and mittens. Then everyone on the street is wearing a hat and mittens.  

The heather-creeps
are sneaking up on us. Getting the low-down on the uptown action. See how they run. Melanie Melanoma has been spending too much time at the tanning salon. Jumpin' Jack Murph just got his fix for the night. So where do ya wanna go tonight, honey? Oh, I don't know. What say we just stay home and fuck?

Hey, works for me. Got any dope? Nobody seen any dope for weeks. Wrong time of year. So we go without. No problem.

The drummers thrumming up the back alley are starting to rattle the windows. They're some kind of voodoo cult that works itself up into some kind of altered state with drums and drums and drums and drums. Dudabee dudabee duda duda duda dudabee... Can't sleep with that going on. Can't decide whether to call the cops or get up and dance. Got to do one or the other. Drums don't let you just sit there.

Cosmic humping, couldn't even wait to get to the bedroom. Not sure if she was even really there, but might as well have been. If you can't tell, what's the difference? She came good and hot and wet. Feel the shivers go down her back. See her toes point and then curl up. Yeah, she comes good. It's good to watch, to make that happen. Makes me want to do it again. Do it again. Again. Yeah.

Hummmmmm. Smoothed out after cosmic food and cosmic dancing and cosmic fucking. What else is there? We call it afterglow. That sated feeling following a feast of sensory overload. After good food, good sex, good dope, good music, a good story. It's really so decadent. Makes it worth getting up for another go.

Can I have a gimme a do a buy a take a look at a what a piece a real doozy of a want a want to touch a just once a real live one, huh? Okay? Please? May I? All right?

'Scuse me I just work here. I'm not in charge of anything and that's the way I like it. Don't drag me with your needs, man. I got enough of my own. Nobody's in charge of anything, 'cept when someone puts 'em there.

Ca. 1990

Here are some things I could do if I wanted to.

I could:

  • be a dancer
  • drink a toast
  • have a party
  • be depressed
  • kiss a hamster
  • dig for truffles
  • dream about sheep
  • kick stones in the street
  • tell a story
  • be red with blue spots
  • sit on a television
  • buy a new compass
  • wear gloves
  • file my nails
  • sing a song about wood
  • eat french fries
  • make a movie
  • have people over for pie
  • build a fence
  • pet a cat
  • touch something sticky
  • think about naked women
  • file my bills
  • write a song about doorknobs
  • turn off the lights
  • move to Neptune
  • not step on worms
  • believe in ghosts
  • shear a sheep
  • watch actors acting
  • start my own religion


Get away

TV dreams, hypnotic alibis for reality. Going to another place. Another place. There is only here. Don't need the technology to make me happy. Don't need to spend my life waiting for the technology to catch up. Singing Bridges or computers, it's all the same. Stream of consciousness is too fast for my fingers, but not fast enough.

We derive meaning from that which we pursue to the exclusion of all else. Campbell called it following your bliss. My bliss keeps changing. I have difficulty following it because it changes before I've really quite figured out what it was.

Language is a virus from outer space. (Laurie Anderson). There are many perspectives. We as a species are ill equipped to survive on this planet without altering it radically (which, of course, we have done). Based on human physiology, humans belong in a semi-aquatic environment that is very safe and have a wide variety of easily acquired foodstuffs. There should be nothing corrosive, rough, hard or sharp here. Many of the most intelligent of our species have feelings of ALIENATION. They (we) sense that we don't really belong here. That there's something about the way humans live on this planet that is Not Quite Right.

All it takes is someone to do it. I keep hearing myself say that. It is the response to complaints I hear about lots of things, e.g., why doesn't somebody...? The proper question is Why don't I? And if there isn't a good answer for it then either do it or shut up about it. The common answer is "I'm no good at..." But have you ever tried it? Maybe you can't do it, but you might be able to get someone else to do it? Have you really examined your resources?