The Big Problem

She sat on the couch of the cozy coffee shop, staring at the paper in her hand. It had been years since something so small had bothered her so much. She hadn’t eaten anything in two hours, the longest she had been without even a jet-black coffee.

The owner of the restaurant had grown accustomed to people basking in his vacuumed furniture and freshened air without returning the favour. Every time someone left without ordering, he’d have a silent fit that only the employees had the misfortune to witness.

People came and went but she remained, still and looking at the piece of paper. The black and white of it made her eyes sore.

Another ten minutes later, a waiter approached her in baby steps. He had already been singed an hour ago. He had to get the woman to order something or the boss would be furious. He paused a little closer to her than he did the last time and noticed what she clutched in her hand.

Trying to keep his face impassive, he began to clear his throat. She threw him a look mingled with fury and perplexity.

The crossword puzzle had outwitted her.

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