Today’s prompt was inspired by a used book I bought a few years ago at a now defunct store in Brooklyn. I bought the book based solely on its cover. The title, Revenge of the Lawn, had interested me due to its strangeness. What sort of revenge would and could a lawn be taking? And upon whom would it take its revenge? The book’s cover photo, a black and white photograph of a large-eyed, bright-faced brunette sitting in front of what appears to be a chocolate cake and smiling widely for reasons I can’t begin to imagine, had done the same. It’s an odd cover for a book of fiction. Though, odd in literature is something I typically savor. And so I ended up leaving the store with the book in my hands.
Soon afterward, I devoured the book’s 62 stories (which vary in length from a single page to seven), finding out that the contents of the book were as pleasantly odd as its cover. I also discovered that the author of the book was somewhat of a folk hero in the ’60s and ’70s. His name his Richard Brautigan. And here’s how The New York Times described Brautigan last year in a review of Jubilee Hitchhiker, a biography of Brautigan, who died in 1984: “For a committed sensualist and prototypical hippie, a man who wore floppy hats, granny glasses, love beads and a droopy mustache that made him look like General Custer at an acid test, Richard Brautigan had a potent work ethic.”
Earlier today I returned to Revenge of the Lawn and was again struck by the book’s odd contents. I reread several stories and made a note to reread several others. I also re-realized Brautigan’s opening lines are quite brilliant, and would make excellent starting points from which to write.
And so, below are nine first sentences of various stories from Revenge of the Lawn. The prompt is this: choose the first one the strikes you and continue the story.
1. When I got there they were burying the lion in the back yard again.
2. He was found lying dead near the television set on the front room floor of a small rented house in Los Angeles.
3. She didn’t think there would be any trick or treaters, so she didn’t buy anything for them.
4. There were a couple of pool tables in the back and a table full of drunks nearby.
5. I have a bank account because I grew tired of burying my money in the back yard and something else happened.
6. I have been thinking about this little item that I read in the North County Journal for a couple of months now.
7. This love story took place during the last spring of the Beat Generation.
8. I’m listening to a talk show on a new radio that I bought a few weeks ago.
9. It sounds like religious music.