12
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This is the story of a man:

He was designing a booster rocket that could put people on the moon. (3)
Every day he would drink a whole pot of hot coffee. (2)
One day he knocked his best mug off the table. (3)
It already had a chip on the rim from before. (2)
But that turned into a big crack because of the drop. (3)

He looked for another cup but all he had was a glass that wasn't clean. (2)
It had a foul grape odor, like a cheap wine gone bad. (3)
The next day he got up at 10 o'clock. (2)
He opened his wallet and saw that he was down to his last buck. (3)
So he went to the bank to get some money. (2)

But when he went in, he saw a dead body on the ground. (2)
There was a robber with a gun to the teller's head. (2)
A guard tried to jump the robber, and things quickly went to hell. (2)
Lead went flying everywhere, and the man took a bullet in the arm. (2)

When it was over, his clothes were covered in blood. (2)
His arm was in a sling and his ear wouldn't stop ringing. (2)
At the police station, the getaway driver cut a deal and sang like a bird. (2)
It reduced his potentially long sentence to a slap on the wrist. (3)

Actually this story isn't really about anything.
Its entire purpose is to hide clues that point to a single word.
The numbers in parentheses are the number of clues in each line.

What is the word?

Hint:

There is no trick to the puzzle, just trust your gut instinct, and you might be the first to find the answer. (3)

Hint 2:

About 25% of the clues are related to .

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  • $\begingroup$ Rot13(Hr fqzllzq, h.d mntmr, udqar, zcuzdqar, dsb, hlonqszms gdqd?) $\endgroup$ – Jens Oct 21 at 3:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Jens rot13(Tenzzne ab, ohg jbeqf (abhaf, nqwrpgvirf, rgp) lrf.) $\endgroup$ – JS1 Oct 21 at 5:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Jens, think that's Rot1? $\endgroup$ – Mohirl Oct 21 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Mohirl - There's no such thing as a rot1. I think you mean a Caesar Cipher with a shift of 1. $\endgroup$ – Voldemort's Wrath Oct 21 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Voldemort'sWrath The rot13.com website lets you rotate by amounts other than 13, and the dropdown selector you use to do it says ROT1 ... ROT25. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Oct 21 at 16:34
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I think the word we're looking for is

SHOT.

The general idea is that

each line contains some words that combine with "shot" to make new words or stock phrases.

Line by line:

He was designing a booster rocket that could put people on the moon. (3)
Every day he would drink a whole pot of hot coffee. (2)
One day he knocked his best mug off the table. (3)
It already had a chip on the rim from before. (2)
But that turned into a big crack because of the drop. (3)

He looked for another cup but all he had was a glass that wasn't clean. (2)
It had a foul grape odor, like a cheap wine gone bad. (3)
The next day he got up at 10 o'clock. (2)
He opened his wallet and saw that he was down to his last buck. (3)
So he went to the bank to get some money. (2)

But when he went in, he saw a dead body on the ground. (2)
There was a robber with a gun to the teller's head. (2)
A guard tried to jump the robber, and things quickly went to-hell. (2)
Lead went flying everywhere, and the man took a bullet in-the-arm. (2)

When it was over, his clothes were covered in blood. (2)
His arm was in a sling and his ear wouldn't stop ringing. (2)
At the police station, the getaway driver cut a deal and sang like a bird. (2) [not sure about "driver shot" -- golf?]
It reduced his potentially long sentence to a slap on the wrist. (3)

Title:

"Shot in the dark".

Hint 1:

"Trick shot" is obvious. Maybe "gut shot" and/or "first shot", though neither feels 100% convincing to me.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very good! For the iffy ones: Rot13(V vagraqrq sbe "bar fubg" (yvxr bar punapr) ba yvar 3 naq "fubg pybpx" (onfxrgonyy) ba yvar 8, ohg lbhe "fubg ng" vf npghnyyl n tbbq bar. Yvar 17 jnf fhccbfrq gb or "phg fubg" (n tbys guvat). Gur uvag jnf "thg fubg" (cbxre) naq "svefg fubg" (yvxr svefg punapr).) $\endgroup$ – JS1 Oct 21 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ Sounds reasonable :-). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Oct 21 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ @JS1 Well, I really went down the wrong lines with my thinking... rot13(Univat fcbggrq 'xnohy' fcyvg orgjrra jbeqf va cnen 3 naq 'tnaquv' gur fnzr va cnen 4, lbh qba'g jnag gb xabj ubj zhpu gvzr V fcrag frnepuvat sbe bgure guvatf yvaxrq gb Nfvn...) Well done Gareth :) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Oct 21 at 16:39

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