Here's how the game works:

I'll pick five objects. The next writer, brave soul that s/he is, will write a five-sentence opening scene using all of the objects, to start the 'novel.' Then the next writer adds five more sentences, and so on, until the 'novel' is 'finished.' The object of the game is to make the next writer's job as challenging as possible.

Ready? Here are the objects:

- a dead body (natch), you pick the specs
- a car battery
- a library book, "The Varieties of Religious Experience" by William James
- a pair of womens' shoes that does not fit the dead body
- a live python


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He bent down and eyed the python and the wing-tips again.

"Jesus," he mumbled to himself, shaking his head in disgust. "I should have listened to mom and taking up dancing--or maybe just ran off and joined the circus."

He stood up and half turned to peer at the goofy looking kid wearing a deputy's uniform two sizes too big and grinning at some convenience store chick dressed in just enough cotton and blue jeans to keep everything more or less in place.

"Amos! Get your ass over here. Take some photos of the victim--bag the body--dust for prints--and don't get your pecker bitten off by that damn snake!"
Amos' grin vanished, but he kept an eye on the convenience store chick. That is, until he got closer to the snake. Then he couldn't seem to look at anything else. He seemed mesmerized by the thing.

"Whattsa matter with you, boy?" Sheriff Longhorn said. "You scared o' snakes?"

"I ain't never seen a rattler."

The sheriff rolled his eyes heavenward. Yes, the circus was looking like a pretty good career option right now.

"That ain't no rattler, chunkhead. You hear a rattle?"

Amos, who was trembling, shook his head real hard. Sheriff Longhorn thought if there were a rattle, it would come from his moron nephew's head.
Amos reached for the snake, his hands trembling like a tv preacher about to perform a miraculously staged cure. The snake didn't so much as blink an eye, which in fact it couldn't, not having any eyelids but then Amos didn't know that. It did bolster Amos's courage, however, and he hefted the snake.

"Boss," he said, "there's something hinky about this snake.

"What's your problem," snarled Sheriff Longhorn.

"Are snakes supposed to be square in the middle? Cause this one is."

Longhorn looked at the block-shaped protrusion in the snake's belly. "Ah crap! It looks like he swallowed a car battery."
"Son," the Sheriff grunted, frowning. "Snakes don't eat batteries, look closer at it. It ain't square, It's something else."

Hours later Doc Thompson, the county's only doctor--and only coroner--found out what it was.

"Petey, it's a hand; a human hand. A woman in her early thirties', I'd say"

"Jesus," the sheriff gunted over the phone. "Doc, I'm tell'en ya--I hate this job. Really hate it."
“Where’s my damned hat, goddamed sun gonna soak my eyes dry,“ Longhorn muttered under his breath.

After letting a few moments pass, Longhorn finally remembered that muttering for answers unknown does little in finding them, he gave it another try, “Ah, hell, we better call up Reverend Smith, he knows these rattlers like nobody else, might have something to do with that damned book.”

After another round of silence, and knowing the second rule of investigations that two pregnant pauses mean your deputies have nothing, Longhorn continued, “There’s only the one Payless in town, they have loads of them womanly shoes, maybe we can find something there.”
The sheriff was about to launch into a diatribe about his busted dreams of being a Broadway dancer or joining the circus, when there was a rap at the door.

"Hold on, Doc." The sheriff punched the hold button and was about to acknowledge the knock, but two men in matching black suits wearing sunglasses had already entered. "Sheriff Pete Longhorn?" one of them said.

Before he could answer, the man whipped out a badge, and said, "Special Agent Ellis Parker, FBI, here to talk about Matthew Stone."

(My apologies for the previous long post--I overlooked the five sentence rule. Is my face red? Yes. :))
"Stone is in cold storage downstairs."

"Why would you put a python in a cooler?" asked the lead agent.

"It's a man not a snake," said the sheriff as he scratched his head.

"Matthew Stone is a snake," said the second agent.

"Sir, there's no need to speak ill of the dead," said the sheriff.


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