Style Invitational Week 1328: Hooked on ‘classic’: A sort of do-over

This time, the stories to retell in another’s voice don’t have to be

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
By Pat Myers

Pat Myers

Editor and judge of The Style Invitational since December 2003
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April 18

(Click here to skip down <#report> to the retelling of Bible stories and
other tales by other “authors”)

*Chapter 10 of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” as told by Lou Reed:*
Huckleberry came from St. Petersburg, M-O,
Him and Jim just drifted with the flow,
Wore a dress on the down-low,
Jim said, honey, go, go, go,
Said, hey, Huck, take a raft to the wild side . . .
/— Frank Osen /

Four weeks ago, the Empress asked the Loser
Community to “tell or describe a Bible story, or another classical or
folk tale . . . in the voice of a particular author or other person.”
And she got a lot of creative tellings of Testaments Old and New, Roman
myths, fairy tales, nursery rhymes — the best of which you’ll see in
today’s results.

But there were also retellings of “Moby Dick,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” the
Harry Potter series . . . clearly, the E should have specified “ancient
tale” rather than a “classical” one; the term was taken, understandably,
to mean a “classic” work, old or recent.

But we’re coming into making-lemonade season anyway, and it would be
awful to toss such good stuff. So *for Week 1328: Summarize a book or
play by any author, or retell a scene (or even a moment) from one, in
the style of some other person, *as in the example above, which was an
entry in the previous contest. As in Week 1324, we’re looking for a
paragraph, not a page. The entries could also be in verse. If an entry
you sent for Week 1324 would fit Week 1328, you may send it again.

Submit entries at *
* (all lowercase).

Winner gets the *Lose Cannon,

* our Style Invitational trophy.

In this week of reverence, we offer for second place a Spock prayer
candle, a classic glass
cylinder depicting the solemn Vulcan in front of a glowing halo,
complete with a flaming Sacred Heart in front of his chest. Made in
Texas and donated by the long-lived and prosperous Kevin Dopart.

*Other runners-up *win our “You Gotta Play to Lose”
Mug or our “Whole Fools”

Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser
magnets, “We’ve Seen Better”
“IDiot Card.”

First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener”

for their first ink). *Deadline is Monday night, April 29; *results
published May 19 in print, May 16 online. See general contest rules and
guidelines at . The headline
for this week’s results is by Jesse Frankovich; William Kennard wrote
the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the Style Invitational Devotees on
Facebook at . “Like” Style
Invitational Ink of the Day at ;
follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.

**The Style *Conversational *The Empress's weekly online column,
published late Thursday afternoon, discusses each new contest and set of
results. Especially if you plan to enter this week's contest, check it
out at .

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .


**As we note in this week’s new contest, in *Week 1324*
the Empress asked for a Bible story or
classical or folk tale retold in the style of some particular person.
Lots of people imitated Heming-way, which proved not so easy.

4th place:

*The Creation, as told by Garrison Keillor: *“Well, it’s been a quiet
week in the formless void.” (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Isn't he sort of Jewish for this? The Spock prayer candle.
3rd place:

*The miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11), by Emily Dickinson:*
I taste a liquor never brewed —
But how, I do not know —
I swear these urns held water — just
A half an hour ago!
You’ve saved the wedding, Nazarene —
Had we but known your flair:
We would have asked you — months ago —
To — cater — the — affair!
(Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

2nd place

/and “The Golfer’s Prayer Book”
*The Tortoise and the Hare, * *by Samuel Beckett: *
Hare: Shall we race?
Tortoise: Yes, let’s race.
(The hare does not move)
(Frank Mann, Washington)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:

*"Oedipus Rex," by Allan Sherman:
*Goodbye Faddah, Hello Muddah,
I slew one and wed the uddah,
When my judgment got less hazy,
I gouged out both my eyeballs and went crazy.
(Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

Burnt offerings: Honorable mentions

*The Creation. by Eminem: *
Annoyed in the dearth of a void
God unearthed and deployed
from superior material
a spherical miracle
and thus this terrestrial ball called Earth was formed.
All in a week’s worth of time
this sublime gold mine shined
and in a nugget of time
God worked; created celestial worlds and blessed it,
then Day 7 in heaven He rested.
Mic drop. Amen requested. (Will Stutzman, Millersburg, Ohio)

*The Creation of Eve, by Dashiell Hammett: *
Her legs didn’t stop until they knocked my eyes out, and then there was
more, but I didn’t have any more eyes to be knocked out. “Hey,
dumplin’,” I said, “which garden are you from? ’Cause that rib looks
familiar. (Neal Starkman, Seattle)

*The Creation of Eve, by Jane Austen: * The operation having been
performed with little inconvenience to the gentleman, as he was
accustomed to dozing upon a sofa when anything disagreeable might be
going on, the woman was expertly sculpted from his rib-bone, displaying
all the delicacy and loveliness one might expect in the female form. As
she moved to stand before him with a lightness and alacrity in her step,
the man woke abruptly and turned to observe her. He found her a good
deal more than tolerable, and the two presently expressed a wish to be
wed as speedily as propriety would allow. (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.,
a First Offender)

*Adam and Eve as told by Edgar Allan Poe:*
In the Garden known as Eden, one without a single weed in,
Grew a tree with a bad seed in: one who worked toward their downfall.
“This is the lone Tree of Knowledge. Eat and know the truth — no college!
Such a deal, you must acknowledge!” So they ate, quite in his thrall.
God appeared. “That’s it! Now get out! But before you pass the wall…”
And He handed Eve Midol. (Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)

*Adam and Eve, as analyzed by Robert Mueller: *The investigation
uncovered that Adam did meet with a snake, and fruit was consumed. The
fruit was shared with Eve. Adam and Eve subsequently concluded that they
were naked and hid. Through the course of the investigation, we can
neither confirm or deny the snake informed any change of opinion. (Mary
McNamara, Washington)

*The Flood, by Marie Kondo:* God had seen that humanity no longer
sparked joy and decided to do a little decluttering . . . (Jeff
Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

*Balaam’s donkey, by Jeff Foxworthy:* The ass sees the angel right there
and stops, so Balaam gets down and beats his ass. Right there in the
middle of the road! I tell my kids this and they’re like, “Daddy, you
should read the Bible more often!” An ass /talking!/ I’ll tell you, the
last time I saw an ass talk was after three cans of Bush’s Baked Beans.
(Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn.)

*David and Goliath, by Dick Vitale: *
Goliath is a human spaceship, folks — a primetime player! At 3 cubits
and a span, a true high-riser for the Philistines. And here comes David,
trying to bring a W today for the Israelites — this kid might be a
bench-warmer, but he’s no knee-knocker. David lines up . . . slings the
(Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va., a First Offender)

*David and Goliath, by Napoleon Dynamite:* David is pretty much my
favorite king. He had great skills, like slingshot skills, psalm-writing
skills, stealthiness skills. But if it was me facing Goliath, I would’ve
used a fricking 12-gauge. Gosh! (Paul Burnham, Gainesville, Va.)

*Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the visit of the Magi: *So these three
rich guys saw a star. Yes, they were diverse, but ALL MEN! And they
represented special interests: gold, obviously Wall Street;
frankincense, the polluting fossil fuel industry; myrrh, death merchants
of the funeral lobby profiting from climate change. Under the Green New
Deal, they would have arrived not by air-fouling camels but by
solar-powered sand vehicles. Under Medicare for All they would have not
gone to a stable, but to a hospital. And under College for All the baby
would grow up to be, not a carpenter or the Messiah, but Bernie Sanders.
(William Joyner, Chapel Hill, N.C.)

*The miracle at Cana, by wine critic Robert Parker: * Starting with
virtually nothing, this vintner has crafted a tawny, luscious merlot
with overtones of frankincense and myrrh that will make a believer out
of even the most jaded skeptic — simply divine! A solid 95. (Mark
Raffman, Reston, Va.)

*The first Easter, as told by local TV news: *Jesus was found missing
from his tomb today — but first, how to tell if your husband is watching
porn on your home computer. (Roy Ashley)

*The Trojan Horse, by Ogden Nash: *
The Trojans’ gullibility could not have turned out worse.
A shame they hadn’t heard the sage advice passed down to me by my
great-uncle Winthrop, namely: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts, and vice
vers. (Elliott Shevin, Oak Park, Mich.)

*The Odyssey, by Ernest Hemingway:* It was a long journey home. He was
weary in a way that drinking and fishing could not fix. His dog saw him
and died. (Dan Gibson-Reinemer, Alamosa, Colo., a First Offender)

*The Emperor’s New Clothes, by Donald Trump:*
There was this emperor who was unbelievably popular. Many people say I’m
even more popular, but this guy was close, okay? He decided he could
walk naked down Fifth Avenue and no one would say a word. This one kid
spoke up. He was a low-IQ loser. (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

*Rumpelstiltskin, by Sarah Huckabee Sanders: * Mr. Rumpelstiltskin has
always been a dealmaker. And yes, he believes in the gold standard, once
the foundation of this country. This purposeful misleading of the people
by the media has to stop; it has never been the policy of Mr.
Rumpelstiltskin to take children from their mothers. (Kevin Dopart,

*The Pharaoh in Exodus, as told by Gilbert & Sullivan: *
I am the very model of a mean authoritarian,
I rule quite iron-fisted my society agrarian.
I minimize my labor costs by holding folks in slavery,
Elicit lamentations with assorted acts of knavery.
I bring on plagues where boils grow all over the extremities,
Won’t let the people go or offer any other remedies.
It prob’ly would be wiser to relent and take up gardening;
Perhaps I need a doctor, ’cause my heart is always hardening.
My captives’ living quarters sure aren’t Doubletrees or Marriotts,
But if they run away, I’ll go right after them with chariots,
And by the time I’m finished, all my army will be carrion;
I am the very model of a mean authoritarian. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

** *Still running — deadline Monday, April 22: our perennial bank
headline contest. See *

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