Ken Kiser, over at A Writer’s Journey, bravely posted the opening paragraph of his novel and challenged the rest of us to do the same.  Sure, I thought.  No big deal.  I blithely pointed out what I thought might be a small glitch with his generally excellent paragraph, confident that mine was perfectly fine.

And then I sat down at the computer and actually looked at the darn thing.  It’s become so familiar to me, something I’ve looked at repeatedly for about two years now, that I suddenly realized I haven’t actually read it for a very, very long time.  Suddenly it’s as full of faults as Southern California.  But, I will do what I said I would do.  So, I tweaked it, just a little, because the last thing I want to do is initiate the domino effect where one teeny little change causes a major rewrite of the entire first chapter.  So, here it is, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  (Actually, it’s the opening two paragraphs.  Because.)  Constructive criticism welcome.  If you had a bad day, please go take out your aggression on an inanimate object.

“He woke up in a hotel bed, eyeball to eyeball with a cat.  His body was soaked in sweat, the dank sheets plastered so tightly to his limbs he could barely move.  The cat was calm and appeared to find him familiar.  It sat on his chest as though it owned him, as cool and calico as you please, its wide green eyes intent on his own.  The horrible feeling of waking up fast and strange immobilized him and he lay still, waiting for memory to fill in certain empty spaces in his brain.

Certain empty spaces covering categories like who am I, where am I, and why is there a cat digging its claws into my chest?  Unfortunately, as the minutes ticked by, the spaces stubbornly refused to fill.  The cat purred and kneaded, eyes half closed with pleasure.  The sweat was cold on his body, a chill second skin that made him shiver.”

  Passing on the challenge – what’s your opening paragraph?