Opening Lines – Hot Lead, Cold Iron

We all know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover (yet, publishing companies spend big bucks on cover design/art). But, the opening sentence(s)/paragraph(s) are fair game. So, when I stumble on a good opening (or remember one and pull it off the shelves), I’ll throw it up here. Dare you not to read the rest of the book


I really feel that fewer of modern society’s bits and pieces are sadder—more banal, I guess—than a big office. It’s kinda like, once mankind perfected the assembly line, there was nothing left to do but live on it. Desk after bulky desk, endless rows reaching into the distance like railroad tracks to nowhere; constant monotonous clacks and dings of typewriters and adding machines; tacky marble floors—and maybe columns, in the swankier joints—trying to echo the glories of ancient temples and libraries, and miserably failing at it. Honestly, I dunno if it’s more depressing or more boring.

Unless someone’s trying to rub you out in one of ’em. Then I’m pretty damn confident in telling you it’s a lot more depressing than it is boring.

Right that minute, I wasn’t looking at the desks, or the typewriters, or the pillars, because I was staring blearily at the growing puddle of red soaking into the piss-yellow carpet between my scuffed Oxfords. (Yeah, carpet. This was the second story, so no marble flooring here.) It wasn’t a whole lot of leakage, not yet, but the brick-fisted galoots flocking around me seemed right eager to help me add to it. We were having a friendly little get-together, me and the four of them, wherein I was helping them to relax by massaging their knuckles with my cheeks and my gut. Repeatedly; they musta been really tense. But hey, at least the coppery scent in my nose kept me from gagging on the mixed bouquet of old sweat, typewriter oil, and carpet shampoo.

from Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell


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