22 February 2005


"Damnit, you sonuvabitch."

So said the guy standing over me on the T today to his crossword puzzle. I glanced up at him and then went back to staring at my shoes, feeling slightly uncomfortable. I chanced another look at him and found him to be fairly average in appearance—not one of those crazies who screeches bible quotations or sticks a cup in your face and mumbles, "Spare 25?" Still, though, the guy was cursing at his crossword puzzle. Don't get me wrong, I don't object to yelling at inanimate objects. I spent fifteen minutes last night swearing at my Apple Airport because I couldn't remember the WEP key, but that was in the comfort of my home.

By now I was curious and abandoned discretion in favor of staring at him. He was working the Metro crossword with the newspaper folded extremely neatly to reveal only the puzzle. Each solved clue had been precisely ticked off with a diagonal line of uniform length and angle. One unsolved word remained in the grid, which he tapped with his pen.

"Oh you little motherfucker," he snapped as he penned in the final boxes and ticked off its clue. He then proceeded to pull another perfectly folded copy of the newspaper out of his bag, whereupon he copied the entire puzzle from the first to the second sheet.

"Broadway. Brooooadway!" sang the conductor in a surprisingly chipper voice, "This is a Braintree train." Another day, another train ride, another story.

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