Remember when, riding in the back of your parents’ old Dodge van, which spewed black noxious smoke and had way too many miles on it and was by all measures totally and completely uncool, you and your older sister used to crouch in the backseat to avoid being spotted by your junior-high classmates? And remember how you used to play Mad Libs to dull the pain when the popular kids pointed and laughed at the FOR SALE sign that your parents insisted on posting prominently in the van’s cracked window, shouting “I’ll give you five dollars!”?
Well, we’re going to re-create this memory for you, minus the crushing shame component. This year our amazing writing program is even more so due to the hiring of Danielle Deulen and Chris Bachelder—and because the latter also happens to be a two-time Cincinnati Review contributor, we’ve selected his work for our literary Mad Lib treatment. (It’s a tribute. Sort of. Anyway, he gave us permission.) So: The following is an excerpt from Chris Bachelder’s “Like Dylan at Newport,” from CR 3.1. In the fashion of Mad Libs, we’ve removed some of the words. Give it your best, most creative shot filling them in—then leave your contest entry as a comment on this post by clicking its title. Winners get the choice of free back issue, CR thermos, or CR slingpack.
The ______ ward is in the basement of the ghetto hospital. Dan Boone and Lester come in through the nonautomatic front door, drunk, smelly, and the lobby is packed, bad news, people have gone and gotten themselves very ______. There’s a lot of ____ing and _____ing. There’s plenty of blood, hardly any ________, looks like. Dan gives the rest of an opened beer to some _______ guy who has what looks like a ________ coming out of his abdomen.