A friend of mine who works with computers sent me this handwritten short story in the post with no explanation whatsoever.
It raises many questions, for one he usually just emails me, and he's never expressed any interest in creative writing.
- The young man approached the train station, he had been out on the slopes by himself this morning, but only for a short while because it was so cold.
- Outside the station building he spies a purple and yellow flower, awash with sunshine.
- And a large old tree is looking a little worse for wear following a series of frosty mornings.
- Through the entryway and above on a sign, a lipstick mark serves as the logo to a small bookshop.
- Just inside the doorway a middle-aged Indian woman is organising the shelves wearing a colourful one-piece garment.
- In the middle of the platform, a small circular booth is serving snacks, newspapers and other essentials. A man in overalls kneels, polishing the yellow metal of the shop with a cloth and container of orange liquid.
- A young girl surreptitiously slips a chocolate into her pocket.
- The station guard reprimands her and the young girl cries and insists she wasn't shoplifting.
- The owner of the shop stands by watching the scene play out, uncertain how to respond.
- On the other side of the booth, two burly men are leaning, both are wearing T-shirts labelled 'Sydney to Hobart 2011'.
- One is relating a story with a wide grin, miming the action of rowing a boat.
- The train arrives, passengers disembark and cargo starts to be unloaded. Workers struggle to hoist a large crate containing dangerous snakes, to be delivered to the zoo.
- They urgently call out for more workers to come and assist with the weight.
- He boards the train and makes his way towards the back. In the dining car, the chef removes huge cuts of bone-in meat from a container of marinade, to be prepared for lunch.
- He sits and orders a coffee. In the newspaper, an aristocrat has unexpectedly paid to release a pair of prisoners, currently awaiting trial for a bizarre crime.
- He flips through the pages, there's a photo from a chess match, a moustached British gentleman finally captures his opponent's piece and brings it to his lips in celebration.
- Rumours circle that a football referee may be under investigation following a series of questionable decisions.
He reaches the end of the newspaper and turns to the back page. The crossword today is strange, none of the 17 rows join up, and they each have 13 letters.
Why did my friend send me this?
The 17 crossword answers each contain the same 13 letters, note the
Hint #2: Some extras, these didn't fit in the story and are a bit more tenuous:
X1. Noah's group always sit alone and watch the fish in the pond.
X2. Trumpet player's tell-all book annoyed the Biblical king.
X3. Is there a chance that the sash belt could become unfastened? Possible, but unlikely.
X4. The spaceship's captain is crying as well