Fiction

Another Story

by Paula Whyman

 

Another Story Word Cloud for real

One Down. Seven letters.

Clue: Can be itself, or the opposite of itself, or different in infinite fractional degrees. Or alike. It can be just alike. More of the same.

This is what you get for choosing the ‘challenge’ puzzle.

The clues are rife with contradictions. How can it be all these things? That’s like saying it could be anything. A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. Eight letters. Damn.

Need more help? Turn to page 54.

Clue: Can be a separate entity; or, can be more of what you’ve got, an additional…something. Can be called on when what one has is not adequate; or, it can merely exist, with no judgment about the adequacy of the original. It implies options, but does not weigh quality. It’s indifferent. It can be grouped with similar entities: It can be like others. Like you. Or it can signify independence—alone, standoffish, an outsider. Its meaning is dependent on context. It can be unique or lemming-like.

If this word is separated into two words, it still makes sense. It probably became one word after many years of vernacular usage as two words spoken together. But no one is checking the Oxford English Dictionary to be sure. Not when you can just turn to the back of the book.

Answers on page 193.

One day, a drunk in a bar slurred, “I’ll have—” A word was born.

How could you be so stupid? There is only one possible solution.

One Down. Seven letters. A-n-o-t-h-e-r.

A word with unlimited uses: Another phone call, as in ‘yet another’ phone call. Another quarter; I need another quarter to make another phone call. Another time: Today is no good. This moment is no good. Another time will be better. When? Another day. Another afternoon. There will be another time, and another. Multiples. Infinite in their vagueness. Infinite in their promise. Another time: Tomorrow. Or cutting: Not now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Another time can come, or it can never come.

It can be used for separating, one from another. Another bus. Another room. Another pillow.

It can be used for a favorite pastime, collecting: Another meal. Another kiss. Another touch. Another talk. Another goodbye. Another strained meeting. Another insult. Another fight. Another look.

It keeps going: Another need fulfilled. Another unfulfilled. Another misunderstanding. Another attempt to reconcile. Another tear. Another sigh.

It is both cruel and kind: Another turning away. Another turning back. Another calloused hand on your thigh. Another darkened room. Another hasty decision.   Another flaw exposed. Another naked pronouncement. Another caress. Another climax. Another secret. Another lie.

It never allows a full stop: Another failure.

Another regret.

Another conclusion.

Another problem to solve. This one is easy.

Two Across. Three letters. Second letter borrows the “a” in “another.” Clue: Fellow. Works with One Across.

Solution: M-a-n.

Another man.

Another story.

 

“Another Story” was originally published in Gargoyle #57 (2011). 

Paula WhymanPaula Whyman’s short fiction appeared in seven literary journals in 2014, including Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, and McSweeney’s Quarterly. In recent years, she was awarded residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and The Studios of Key West, and she was named a 2014 Tennessee Williams Scholar in Fiction by the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her humor writing has appeared in The Rumpus and The Washington Post, and her commentary has been broadcast on NPR. Paula teaches in writers-in-schools programs through the Pen/Faulkner Foundation in Washington, DC, and The Hudson Review in Harlem, NY. She lives in a suburb of Washington, DC, where she is working on a novel. Find out more at her website, PaulaWhyman.com.

Author Photo by Jo Eldredge Morrissey

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