Fiction

All there in black and white


Every day Jim turned the paper to the crossword page,
All else was disregarded, which made his poor wife rage.

Chewing on his ballpoint pen, he didn’t have a clue
About how angry she’d become, or what she would do.

Little did he realise, as deep in thought he sank,
That his days were numbered and his future: blank, blank, blank.

One word left: an anagram so tough his brain was sore…
But then the right word struck him, along with many more.

Jim dropped both pen and paper, collapsed dead on the floor.
And what had caused this quick demise? Married woman (4);

As a chip shop fish might be (8); He (3); Frequent (10);
Without without (4); Weighty (5); Johnson’s word-book (10).

He lay in his coffin because death he couldn’t cheat,
And with his last box all filled in, Jim’s life was complete.

In the Co-op funeral home, his wife’s laugh could be heard
For she knew that she, not he, would have the final word.

Handcuffed at the graveside she, no sign of tears or frown,
Laughed loudly as they buried him 3 Across, 6 Down.