Collaboration With Neil Gaiman
Some time back, noted author Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) offered up a chance to collaborate with him via The Guardian by providing the opening sentence to a story. I thought I’d posted it here, but I can’t find a trace of it. Here is his opening and then my portion (hope you enjoy):
It wasn’t just the murder, he decided. Everything else seemed to have conspired to ruin his day as well. Even the cat.
“There’s so much blood.” he thought.
He snapped another picture on his digital camera before doubling over. His stomach erupted the remainder of his lunch over the police tape with such violence that his press badge fell to the ground and bounced into the mess. He picked up his badge and flicked away the disgusting, partially-digested goop that covered his credentials: Robert Barnes, Associated Press. Clipping it to his shirt pocket, he mumbled, “Great, now I need to change shirts.”
With a full memory card of crime scene photos, Robert retreated to his car. The words of his boss sprang to his mind like a meeting reminder notification – “Get those photos in by 5:00 PM or you’ll be back to photographing ground-breaking ceremonies.” Arriving at his modest car, he placed his camera bag that still reeked of cat urine in the passenger seat before noticing the parking ticket on his windshield. He looked up at the no parking sign he was too rushed to see earlier, ripped the ticket from beneath the wiper blades, and tossed it on the growing stack on the passenger floor. As he peeled out of his parking spot and cut off an oncoming car, he glanced down at the dashboard clock that read 4:00 PM. This was going to be close.
As he sped through the streets of downtown Chicago, his thoughts raced back to the crime scene and questions filled his head. What was a French diplomat doing in the back alley of a seedy bar district? Where was his entourage? What happened to his pants? His cell phone rang and broke his concentration. He fumbled pulling the phone out of his pocket and it fell to the passenger seat. Looking over to locate his phone, he swerved and nearly clipped a bicyclist. Righting his vehicle, he looked at the caller ID that read Sunshine. Sunshine was his wife of precisely one month and her real name was Kerri. He accepted the call.
“Hey, Sunshine, I’m almost at the office and I’ll be home shortly.” he said.
“Robert, you’re the one who wanted to invite your parents out for dinner. Please don’t leave me alone with them any longer than necessary.” she said. He could hear the cat mewing in the background. Mewing. Mewing. He had grown to hate that sound.
“Okay, okay, I’m driving as fast as I can.”
“I’m sure your mom will find some way to blame me for your absence. How much longer will you be?” Mew.
“I should be there in 30 minutes so that’s only 20 minutes late. Mom shouldn’t start judging you until I’m at least 30 minutes late.” The joke fell flat. “I’m kidding. I’m kidding.”
He heard silence, the cat mewing, and the call disconnecting. He would pay for that comment later. In his mind, however, he was already paying for it with his tolerance of the cat’s presence. It had already defiled his camera bag and several cherished photos on his desk and he didn’t even want to think of all the sleep deprivation it caused. He took a deep breath to calm himself and said, “Cats are assholes.”