46 Great Opening Lines: 29

If an anaconda bites your hand – as, no doubt, one someday will – gulps your fist whole and holds fast, fight the keen urge to yank back. Really.

Opening line, Emergency Instructions: If an Anaconda Bites Your Hand, David Macey

This is the first line of a short short story, perhaps it’s called flash fiction, found in issue 84 of the journal Agni.

I definitely don’t have a thing for snakes, but in this three-paragraph story I saw something humorous, reminiscent of an illustration in Le Petit Prince of a boa constrictor swallowing an animal.

Image result for "little prince" boa constrictor
First illustration in ‘Le Petit Prince’, Antoine de Saint Exupéry

It also reminded me of a rock formation I once saw, with a long snakish snout, a semblance of teeth and a fierce eye.

Like anacondas, and boa constrictors, rock can be dangerous. You can be washed off it, fall from the top, disappear into its midst like Miranda in Picnic at Hanging Rock. But rock doesn’t search for prey, doesn’t coil about those too near, is never hungry. Its jaws won’t open, it won’t bite your hand. My husband is safe.

Eden NSW


4 Replies to “46 Great Opening Lines: 29”

  1. It will appear somewhere between Great Opening Lines 30 – 46. The south coast, by the way, has the best rock formations I’ve ever seen, on better beaches than Qld.

  2. Hi Gerry, Thanks for complimenting my imagination! Do you know that when I click on your name (in the comment) it takes me to a very different Restawyle: restawyle.com in Carlingford. “The sweeping backdrop of Slieve Foye Louth’s highest mountain provides Carlingford with a magnificent setting of raw beauty. Restawyle Avenue in Hayling Island is in the South East region of England.” Sounds great, but I’m guessing it’s not you.

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