Gerald began -- but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash -- to pee.OK, this isn't a well-formed sentence of English to me: "until buried" is impossible; I'd have to say "until they were buried". The shtick he's going with here is not just having a monstrously long clause buried within a short sentence, and interrupting before we know what's being interrupted. I actually find that clever.
Of course the organizers always comment on the winning entry:
Scott Rice, an English professor at San Jose State, called Gleeson's entry a "syntactic atrocity" that displays "a peculiar set of standards or values."Really? I could see a great story built around this. You could write a whole novel about a ten-minute span, or you could shift perspective when Gerald gets covered by lava.
"If you think about it, unless it's a flashback, there's not very far you could get with that story."