Angie's discussion on clichés reminded me of Donna Moore's wonderful posts of yore (on another list so long ago and far away, back before they had pictures embedded with the person's post, so you'd know who to avoid at the next conference... ;-) in which she *purposefully* used clichés to weave a great and ultimately hilarious tale. And with the collective minds of readers on this list, I can well imagine some of the whoppers. So here is your challenge. In a short paragraph, let's say 75 words or less, weave a cliché-ridden mystery that will make us laugh. Ready, set, cover your keyboards...

And for those of you who are cliché challenged, Jordan Dane has provided a link to a cliché-generating site:

I'll start: It was a dark and stormy night...

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Aw shucks Robin, you made me blush. But now I know why you avoid me at conferences :o) Well, I wrote 60K words worth of cliches, so I love them.

Death By Cliche

Had I but known the awful things that were going to happen when I was woken up at 2.30am by strange noises coming from my basement, I would just have put my head back under the covers and gone back to sleep. Instead, I lay in bed wondering if I should a) sensibly call the police, or b) jump out of bed, put my slippers on and pick up my trusty torch which I always have on the table next to my bed for this very opportunity. I jumped out of bed, put my slippers on and picked up my trusty torch which I always have on the table next to my bed for this very opportunity. I crept down the stairs to the basement, flung open the door and hit the intruder on the head with my trusty torch. As he slumped into an armchair in his tartan pajamas, I realized that my apartment doesn't have a basement and that my downstairs neighbor Dennis was not going to be very happy when he regained consciousness.
A Cosy Cliche

It was 6am and I'd been up for a couple of hours baking poppy and sesame seed bread for the childrens school lunches. While it was baking, I had knitted an afghan depicting the entire solar system as seen through my telescope in the Den. My ex-husband (before he ran off with the floozy who worked in Macy's lingerie department) used to say I only kept the binoculars to spy on the neighbours but my evening class in astronomy had led me to turn my telescope on the heavens, as well as the neighbourhood. The phone rang.

"Hello, Mindy Manderson speaking," I said, gazing at my face in the mirror above the telephone. My raven curls tumbled about my porcelain face in gay abandon. My hair was impossible to tame, but luckily my boyfriend, Police Chief Kurt Studly, liked it that way, and often ran his gun through it in a teasing, but erotic way.

"Mindy. I'm so glad I caught you before you started on the 7 school runs you have today. You'll never guess what has happened." It was my best friend Savannah. "I know you're the best person to call after you solved that murder last year at the astronomy class. There's been another death."

"Another one? That's the 15th in this neighbourhood in 7 years. Goodness, this is really going to bring property prices down. Who is it? No, don't tell me. Is it that mysterious man at number 46 who we think is blackmailing 6 residents of this street who previously had unblemished reputations but that we've now worked out all have guilty secrets from their past?"

"How did you guess?!"
Cliche Me Deadly - A Walk on The Noir Side

First time Evie LaDame walked into my office I knew she was gonna cause me trouble. Maybe it was the way her buttocks wriggled like a bucketful of frisky eels in that tight red dress. Maybe it was the way her gams went all the way to the floor. Or maybe it was because she said in that husky voice of hers "Moose, I'm here to cause you trouble". Moose. That was me. Mickey Moose - Private Dick, that's what it said on the door.

Sometimes I needed that reminder after a night slugging back the hooch. My left hand moved of its own accord to the bottom drawer of my desk where I knew there was a half full bottle of whisky. I had a thirst so bad I thought someone had replaced my tongue with the contents of a cat litter tray.


I had better stop there.
Donna---You can try to write cliche but you will always be an ORIGINAL. Her buttocks wriggled like a bucketful of frisky eels? You really made my day.
Donna, no one will ever read clichés again without thinking of your wit. Those are too, too good. Anyone else up to the challenge?
Donna is intimidating, Robin. I'm trying to make time to cuff it but I'm cranking on some deadlines. This is a thread right up my alley. Glad you started it. I'll ck back later.
This is hysterical. And I thought the cliches over in Romancelandia (my literary home town) were bad. Yikes. I had a book that started this way sorta, but it was done humorously as a parody. You'd be surprised how few folks got that. I doubt I could distill it down to 75 words and be as funny as you guys. My hat (a fedora, natch) is sufficiently tipped.
For those not wanting to admit you KNOW any cliches, here is a random cliché picker. You can place the blame somewhere else--the Internet. Or if you're Paris Hilton, "My evil publicist made me do it."
I added it up top so that those of us who are intimidated by Donna's expertise in this matter can actually try our hand instead of working on whatever really needs to be done! (hat site is too, too hysterical!)
Oh my god Jordan, that site is wonderful! I've got to try my hand at this too. Deadlines be damned!
It was dark and stormy and I was feeling as useless as a pay toilet on a diarrhea ward. That’s when he walked in. Trouble with a capital T. He looked like he had the morals of an alley cat and the scruples of a snake, but what did I care? I’d been married to worse and he’d be preaching to the converted.

“You come here often? What’s your name, doll face?” he slithered up to my desk, his voice low and seductive and right as rain.

“Since this is my office, I’d say I come here often enough.” I blew smoke from my nostrils and ground out my butt. My cigarette butt, that is. “You trust me to tell you the clear and unvarnished truth?”

“Hell no, but I’d take a bullet for you.”

“That might come in handy.” I winked. “You got references, sweet cheeks? You know what they say, it’s not who you know, but who you do.”

He looked as nervous as a fox in a forest fire, like I caught him in bald faced lie, but the way he filled out his Armani suit made it all worthwhile. Eye candy, pure and simple. Grade A male. Call me mad as a Madhatter, but I wanted a piece of his action. And I was bound and determined to get it. My way! He had me up to the hilt, so this called for my best line.

“Look, we can talk ‘til we’re blue in the face, but we both know what we want. I’m an editor, looking for the next DaVinci Code. And you know what I’m wishing? That you write like Dan Brown, but have the body of Brad Pitt. You catch my drift?”

He smiled, that slow lazy kind of grin, then opened his mouth to speak. I hung on every word like I was sucking hind teat.

“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, doll.”

I narrowed my eyes and took him all in. I even gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought about what he’d just said, but nothing happening.

“What the hell does that mean?” I grimaced, finally beginning to figure him out. The guy didn’t have an original bone in his body. “If you can't run with the big dogs, you better stay on the porch. NEXT!!”

I cut him lose.

Besides, his 8-minute pitch was over and I had 20 more authors to hear. They can’t all be Dan Frickin’ Brown.
I'll never top Jordan's. But here's my pitch:

I wouldn’t send a dog out on a night like this, I thought to myself when the dish with red hair waltzed into my office.

“Sid, you gotta help me,” she sobbed. “Frank’s done me a bad turn with that funny money. Cops think they got the dirt on me now for sure.”

“No worries, babe. All we gotta do is give that poor excuse for a man a dose of his own medicine.”

She gasped. “You mean Johnny’s kid-glove treatment? That old con? He’ll never fall for that.”

“Ya gotta believe in yourself,” I told her. “Be your own master, doll.”

“You’re the boss, big spender.”

We were finally seeing eye to eye. But I doubted I’d find her check in the mail. No good deed goes unpunished.


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