True Facts publishes excerpts from unsolicited manuscripts sent to a prominent editor of serious fiction who wishes, understandably, to remain anonymous. These "Lines from the Slushpile" are the pick of the eighties.


"Then it's hopest," Dad said.

"You mean hopless," my mother said. "And it's not hopless!"


The light that was Frannie went out.


Slicing the steak in Rena's cozy kitchen, I considered taking another stab at marriage.


His teacher asked, "Peter, was you annoying Jeanette?"


His organ began to beat so hard he thought it would pop out of his chest.


When Sue and Bob came home, they found their cook in the kitchen, shot to death. "That does it!" Bob said, exasperated. "We're moving!"


Then, when man's hatred for his brother had ripened like a swollen fruit, the fighting started and like a bastard child we named it the Civil War.


Thoughts flew like spaghetti in my brain.


The anguish of being selected a human sacrifice, tied to the altar and about to go to glory, was enough to send the young twenty-year-old warrior's blood pressure sky-high.


Our days were filled with parties, tennis, and golf. But I wanted more. I needed dirty hands and faces to fill my life.


"You made Phi Beta Kappa in college, so there is no need for me to tell you the the debauching of the coterie is an exemplar for every criminally minded youngster in America--and what makes the cotumacious coterie so bold is too much menilty."


"It's not easy to eek out a living," said Yvonne.


"Spider Jackson?" I scoffed. "Spider Jackson? He wouldn't hurt a fly!"


She was furious with her bank teller for eating up her lunch hour.


Without moving, she reached across and kissed him.


"Well," she said suavely, "viola for now."


The sudden expulsion of air caused the pouches of skin he used for cheeks to flutter like sails before a stiff wind.


Dora was pleased as punch to be chosen chairman of the refreshments committee.


My mind flew back in time to fathom the cause and effect of what I now had to face in grim retrospect.


Mrs. Rogers said, "I'm sorry I lost my temper, but I was grumpy, and when I'm grumpy I get grouchy."


Ken's body declared war, and since he failed to retreat until the wee hours, it painfully assaulted him in an all-out morning blitzkrieg, taking no prisoners.


The editor sighed. Look at all those Type O's.


The four-story ranch house, flanked by cypress columns, looked majestically down on Route 66.


It was like an old Alan Ladd movie I saw with Veronica Lake.


Leonard had long ago given up dreams of becoming another Ernie Pyle, the famous correspondent, Pulitzer prize winner, or great playwright.


"I'm glad I'm not out on a night like this," Sarah said.

"We need the rain, Sarah," Daniel rebuked her. He picked up the newspaper and was soon absorbed in its pages.


Josh was at his sexual peek.


Kathy liked going to the supermarket. That was where she bumped into all her neighbors.


"An omelet for mademoiselle," Jimmy pronounced, "and an 'amburger pour moi." I think that was when I fell in love with him.


"I went to J.R. Irving's house," she sobbed, "and he tried to have his way towards me."

"If you mean rape, I'm with you all the way," Donnie said.


"Why am I like this? What am I like this? I'll tell you why I'm like this! Because those people at the party are all brittle, shallow people and I cannot see their souls!"


"Thank you, Robere--you and your gendarmes played a crucial role in the Gaullic drama of justice."


I knew I had a bestseller in me--all I had to do was plumb my depths and out it would come, like some literary bowel movement.


The medical examiner zipped his bag closed officiously. It looked to him like an open and shut case.


"Os swoh skcirt?" Jack asked when I arrived at the office.

"I'm fine, Jack," I said. "But you know I hate it when you talk backwards.


With her splendid blond mane and her ripe figure, Sally splendidly embodied the splendor of our American continent.


"Just a few questions," the lieutenant said.

"My ass," said the redhead.

The lieutenant didn't like profanity but he had to admire the woman's spirited quality. It was easy to see how she had risen so fast in the business world.


"I'd like to know what kind of jobs are open to me," Wes told the recruiter, "with the Army and the other services, and anything else I need to know to make up my mind which branch would be best for me."

"Wow, you sure know what you want!" Sergeant Lang said. "I sure wish the other fellows coming in here were as sharp as you!"


The garage was littered with greasy wrenches and screwdrivers.


Dan wasn't much, Clara admitted, but at least he was an up-and-coming lawyer or businessman.


Carlotta's eyes dropped to the handkerchief in her hands.


"You know me," Sammy said. "I never like to lay a gilt trip on anyone."


There was an "evil hint in the air," as a professional writer might put it.


Clues don't kill people, the inspector thought. People kill people.


Dale was not one to mince words and came directly to the point. "Hi," he said.


George Cohan soundlessly placed his lips to hers and excused himself to go and fix them another drink.