Thursday, January 13, 2011

#FridayFlash--Sudoku in the Sky with Diamonds

Sudoku in the Sky with Diamonds
by Eric J. Krause

James stared up at the night sky, doing everything he could to forget the whole goddamn week. The problem was the memories didn't want to go anywhere. His week had sucked so bad, why wouldn't they want to hang around to help mock him?

The stars twinkled down at him, and he couldn't suppress a chuckle. They all looked like little diamonds. Not surprising. Ever since he gave Kate the diamond engagement ring, everything looked like diamonds. Big honking mocking fucking diamonds. Would the world have taken on this sparkling new hue if she hadn't disappeared with the ring? Yeah, maybe, but at least they would have been happy hallucinations. At least he'd spent way more than the recommended two paychecks on it. He always had that.

As he stared up at the sky, the normal constellations shifted into strange new patterns. He blinked hard to see if he was imagining things, but the stars still lay in their new positions. Was that . . . ? No, couldn't be. But, yes, it was.

The stars had formed a Sudoku puzzle.

James loved solving Sudokus. Maybe this was a sign. Maybe if he solved this one, everything would be clear. It made no sense, but neither did the night sky becoming a huge Japanese number puzzle. Neither did his life, for that matter.

He stared up at it for a few minutes. Oh, geez. If this one was in his one-a-day calendar at home, it'd be listed as an easy one-starrer. He began filling in the blanks, and as he did, more stars popped into view and formed the new numbers.

The puzzle moved closer to completion, and James kept plugging away. He was having so much fun--the first bit of fun since Kate said yes before skipping town--that he missed two important factors. One, he wasn't dwelling on losing Kate. That was a good thing. And two, he didn't notice his chest tightening and the tingles running up and down his left arm. That wasn't such a good thing. As he put the final number in place, the pain hit, and he slumped back onto the grass. The stars shifted, showing their natural order.

#

Officer Reynolds frowned. Something was a bit off about this one. He pulled on a pair of latex gloves, pried open the dead guy's eyes, and gasped.

His partner, Adams, pointed to the body. "See the discoloration here? I've seen this before. He had a busted ventricle. The paramedics will back me up on that, I'm sure."

Reynolds shook his head as he continued to stare into the dead man's eyes. "No, partner. You may say he suffered from a broken ventricle, but I know the truth. This guy died of a broken heart."

23 comments:

  1. Well there's nine ways to go on this hit number to get it all in sync, but diamonds to two paychecks, you already nailed the tale ... in definitely a unique way.

    What a calming way to forget sadness and go - solving a sudoku. Bravo - Would love to challenge you sometime. (smile) ~ Absolutely*Kate

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  2. If you'd like feedback, Eric, I would actually have preferred this without the epilogue. I am a staunch supporter of puns and that ending is a fine one, but ending with the first and fuller scene would leave it more abstract in a distinct way. The implications of a stroke or heart problem are already there from your descriptions of the tingles and arm.

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  3. I knew this was going to be good the first time I heard the title, and it was good, very good. I love what you did with this, Eric, though I must confess Sudoku puzzles make my brains leak out my ears, I simply can't get the hang of them.

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  4. Awww, sorry James had to die. Talk about a rotten week! But not a terrible way to go... like Sam, I don't get Sudoku but I can imagine puzzling through a crossword would take my mind off the dying thing. Very imaginative, Eric!

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  5. Sorry you didn't like the ending, John, but I had no choice in the matter. I had to. I groaned when I wrote it, but gold dang it, I had to. I wrote this one for me.

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  6. "Big honking mocking fucking diamonds."

    B e s t line ever.

    :0)

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  7. Good story, Eric. I like the Sudoku idea (although I prefer crosswords, myself). It's very creative. I sort of agree with John that you don't need the epilogue. It works, but it would be a more powerful story without it. Good job, though!

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  8. I concur with John but it was a good read anyway. So nice of the stars to usher him out peacefully.

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  9. I've had a few of those endings. Ones where I *Groaned* as I wrote it and I know exactly where you're coming from. i didn't mined it so much. Certainly it could be tighter, but i thought it worked pretty well, and hte story was superb. a wonderfully imaginative piece.

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  10. I liked this but I do agree with John...at the same time, it doesn't make sense that he'd suddenly be over her, and then die of a broken heart. Still, nice to see sudokus pop up in a Friday Flash (such a fan), and nice of the universe to give him something productive to do to occupy his mind!

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  11. I love this line: "His week had sucked so bad, why wouldn't they want to hang around to help mock him?" Ah, memories.

    Poor fellow. Sudoku is a great touch, though those puzzles laugh when I come near them. And the pun-- groaner excellence. I can see why you had to. :)

    Enjoyed this one a ton.

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  12. Poor guy, I'm not sure which turned out to be the most expensive, the two-paycheck ring, or maybe the sudoku... it's a puzzle. :-D

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  13. One of the most, if not the most, original stories I've ever read Eric. Great job with this one!

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  14. I love Sudoku! I suck at crosswords (which is quite funny being a writer and all). It was a nice story and I agree with Karen on the best line ever!

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  15. I'm with Icy and John. The epilogue seemed a bit abrupt, plus why would the cop assume it was a broken heart? Sorry just confused. I love the first part though. The visual of the stars turning into a suduku puzzle was inspired.

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  16. I like it Eric, very creative!

    That the last line is such a topic of conversation "puzzles" me. < See, see that? Cheese is tasty. As a matter of fact, I wonder which came first, the cheese or the rest of the story? :)

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  17. Poor, poor man. I puzzled through this too, right through to his unfortunate end. At least he died doing something he loved... :(

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  18. It was an unfortunate end; but hopefully he's in a better place, doing as many Sudokus as he desires. Funny how the mind can take you away and mask the worst things in life. Well written, Eric.

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  19. Love, love the title and the ending line to go with the piece.

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  20. Thanks for all the comments! I realize this one is probably better without the ending tacked on, but I love it too much. I still groan and then cackle when I read it. C'mon! He didn't die of a busted ventricle, but of a broken heart. Funny! (And, yes, I did rip that off from The Simpsons. If I was going to publish this, I would leave the ending off, but I'm not, so I don't have to. Usually I write for my audience, but this time I'm being self-indulgent. Take heart, though, if you didn't like the ending. When I put out my FridayFlash ebook volume 2 after story #100, I may put this one in there with the ending and without. If I remember--It won't be until September at the earliest. Anyway, thanks again for all the comments, and I'm glad many of you got a chuckle out of this one.

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  21. If Sudoku in the stars is the last thing i see before i go I will not be amused, unless of course we all get to play something we like (celestial scrabble, anyone?). I feel sorry for him, just realising he can live without the girl and then, curtains.
    There's always space for a pun or two on a depressing January day Eric.

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  22. Mr Krause: Epilogue or not, this one ruled, sir... I particularly liked the notion of "The problem was the memories didn't want to go anywhere..."

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  23. Love the pun ending. Clever all round.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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