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Crosswords (standard:drama, 777 words)
Author: Paddy65Added: Apr 25 2004Views/Reads: 1801/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Gimmicky story about a crossword puzzle.


Fullerton, a sometimes affable-sometimes depressed, lazy neurotic, after
a good 3-hour ritual of being jarred awake by a shrill alarm and 
smacking the snooze button every twenty minutes, shirtlessly smacked it 
once again and looked out the window.  Leaves lightly fell, passing 
balding, November elms.  Must be 38. . .39 degrees, he thought and put 
his head back down on his pillowless bead.  He let out a loud, slow 
breath through his nose; the sound of which ornamented by a minute, 
high pitch whistle from partially stuffed nostrils.  He tilted his head 
slightly to get a glance of the clock.  12:30?, he thought.  Damn 
that's late.  Again. 

Motionless for a good 5 minutes, he stared at the ceiling.  He felt
nasty.  He knew he smelled bad even though his stuffed up nose forbade 
him from smelling.  He had not showered in days, and was wearing the 
same socks for two days, pants for four, shirt for three days, and 
underwear for two days. 

Abruptly, Fullerton tore away his single blanket and sprang out of bed,
simultaneously grunting a half-triumphant “Ha!”  He then walked to the 
bathroom to shower. 

Throughout the shower, there were periods in which Fullerton did not
wash. Instead, he mesmerized himself with the distorted reflection of 
the metal surface of the “Hot” handle.   During these periods, as the 
hot water massaged his head and cascaded down his still body, he was 
able to get some very productive thinking done.  He pondered many 
elements of his life, especially ones that were problematic and in the 
course of this quite lucid thinking, he gained a better understanding 
of these problems and possible solutions to them. 

Fullerton stepped out of the shower and grabbed his damp towel off of
the hook.  He dried himself with great proficiency, and with the 
dedication and care for detail of a brilliant scientist, whose 
technique and familiarity with his field was unparalleled. 

He stared into the mirror and rubbed his scruffy and dirty, yet
pubescent-looking facial hair.  He applied shaving cream and proceeded 
to shave with both vigor and meticulousness.  He always felt good after 
shaving, but he did not do it with exceptional frequency.  But, when he 
did, it made him feel like less of a scrub.  After wiping the remnants 
of shaving cream from his face, he continued to stare into the mirror, 
now feeling a bit more attractive.  This diminished some, however, when 
he noticed that he had cut right through a pimple on his cheek with his 
razorblade.  A speck of blood the size of a small ant rested in his 
face.  Fullerton properly stuck a corner of toilet paper onto it. 

Fullerton dressed and went downstairs.  He proceeded to start a
crossword puzzle while eating cereal.  He had been recently evolving 
into a competent crossword enthusiast.  Competent, not brilliant.  He 
occasionally could complete his local paper's puzzle, but when he got 
his hands on a New York Times, he always became frustrated and gave up 

On this one, he solved clues with proficiency.  Not quite effortlessly,
but better than normal.  He bounced from word to word, filling in the 
missing letters, coming back to fill in unsolved ones revealed by 
letters from opposite clues; saying “Kremlin.  Aha.” 

However, with 4/5 of the puzzle done, he came to a couple of stumpers
and began to get discouraged, as he easily was.  For a couple moments 
he pouted and pondered doing something else.  He kept looking over the 
missing clues and began to think that it was hopeless.  Man, he 
thought, it's always something, isn't it. 

But, after minutes of inertia, he trudged through and slowly got it down
to one final clue.  Well, five clues, I suppose: one full, four-letter 
word missing in the “across” section , and four four-letter words with 
their final letters missing in the “down” section, corresponding with 
the full missing word of the other axis. 

He decided to solve the “down” clues first to reveal the “across,”
rather than to possibly finish the puzzle with one final, triumphant 
solve.  With minor tribulation, he filled them in. 

55 down: 50's NYC linebacker.  Answer: Huff.  56 down: Ballet garment. 
Answer: Tutu.  57 down: Cable stocks net..  Answer: CNBC. And 58 down: 
Breakfast ----. Answer: Nook. Yes, to Fullerton's amazement, the answer 
to the final “across” clue was, indeed, “Fuck.”  Fullerton looked at 
the clue: “Copulate.”  He tossed his head and laughed loudly. 

The next day, Fullerton woke up at 7:00 AM, showered and grabbed the
paper.  He glanced at the headlines which included: “State To Vote On 
Tax Freeze,” “Bush Appoints Bach As Treasury Secretary,” and 
“Disgruntled Newspaper Editor Takes Own Life.” 


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