Opening Lines

"So was she playing the accordion or the piano?"

The tone in Inspector Grant's voice was beginning to reveal his frustration.

"Well..." But no answer was forthcoming.

"Well," encouraged the inspector.

"Well, he was carrying the instrument, so at first I thought it was an accordion. But then I saw the keyboard and I realised that it was, in fact, a piano."

"A piano! You're su..." Too late.

"No inspector. That's what I've been trying to tell you for the last thirty minutes. I'm not sure of anything. At least, not concerning the instrument. But he did definitely slump forward. Of that I am sure."

"You mean, you actually saw him."

"Or no inspector. I only saw him lying on his back. That's what made me realise he must have slumped forward."

"But had he slumped forward, he would most likely have ended up lying face down."

"No Inspector. Joey never went to sleep lying face downwards. He was far too afraid of the dark to do that. He always lay on his back so he could see the first rays of sunlight streaming in through the window."

Margaret tore the page out of the typewriter. It joined the others in the waste-paper basket sitting beside his desk. Yet, she was not downcast. With each attempt she was getting closer to the perfection. Surely, it would now be only a matter of time, before she came up with something people would spend the rest of their lives reading.

Slowly threading another piece of paper into her typewriter, inspiration struck her. She had to let her readers know that Joey was an unreliable witness, if not people would in fact take her testimony for gospel and never be able to follow her trail from crime to solution. All that was missing was that one, perfect opening sentence without which nothing would make sense, but with which no one could refuse her the crime writer of the year accolade. She began to type:

"Now inspector, let me make it quite clear from the very start, that I am absolutely sure about everything that happened and even if I wasn't in the room at the time I saw in my mind's eye the exact moment the piano accordion player slumped forward."


Hi Paul, great to see you at FF again.
Once again - your story unfolds deliciously layer by layer, forcing us to re-read each detail as it reveals something different with the next read.
Visitors can see my submission at

13 June 2009 at 15:42  

Cool story, always fond of the story-within-the-story stuff, but this is the first time I saw it in short. Well done.

check out my submission:

13 June 2009 at 20:22  

I liked thw switch between the two layers of the story. I especially appreciate that feeling of being just shy of perfection but kowing its there just one more draft away (or two).

13 June 2009 at 20:27  

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