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The First Line – Spring 2004

The First Line is a fiction magazine in which every short story begins with the same first line and, of course, ends in an entirely different place. This issue’s first line is “There were five of them, which was two more than I’d been expecting.” Some of the resulting pieces are mainstream fiction, and rather funny.

The First Line is a fiction magazine in which every short story begins with the same first line and, of course, ends in an entirely different place. This issue’s first line is “There were five of them, which was two more than I’d been expecting.” Some of the resulting pieces are mainstream fiction, and rather funny. I particularly enjoyed Tom Green’s “No Comment,” about a sleazy political campaign manager who bumbles his way through an embarrassing news conference after his candidate winds up in the hospital following a drunk driving accident. Other stories are more speculative. Some pesky Cubs fans cause trouble for an angel in “A Problem with the Catholic Account” by Steve Massart. (The angel expected Three Dowries of the Soul, not Five; the two extra appear to be beer and polish sausage). Stephen Paske’s “All for an Extra Dollar” gives us a well-meaning school teacher bitten by a “demonic” student, an incident which fails to irk the cheerful money-grubbing principal in any way (a product of the Chicago Public Schools myself, I hesitate to label this story “speculative” and not “mainstream”). The First Line is a fun experiment in imaginative thinking, and perfect for readers looking for short bursts of highly creative fiction.

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