The running back started to the left, then cut back to the right and had just broken into the open field when the television screen went dark – along with all of the lights in the house. The blizzard had been causing intermittent power outages, but it soon became apparent that electricity would not be returning tonight.

Steven immediately focused his attention on the highest priority task. He grabbed his crutches and hobbled around the house in search of a portable radio. He was convalescing at Amy’s house and was still figuring out where things were located. Ten minutes later, he was in possession of a state of the art boom box, circa 1985. The radio was even equipped with dual cassette decks (for easy dubbing, according to the manufacturer). Steven popped open the battery compartment and saw that he would need 4 D batteries.

His battery search bore fruit when Steven stepped into Amy’s “game room”. The room held dozens of board games, puzzles, golf clubs, a croquet set – anything you needed to have a good time. Steven could spot a cache of batteries on the top shelf of a closet in the room. He put all of his weight on his strong leg and reached above his head. He was able to reach the batteries, but they came down in a less orderly fashion than he would have preferred – the box of batteries conked him on the head on the way to the floor.

Steven grabbed a handful of D cell batteries and quickly had the radio tuned to the game. He looked around the room and saw that the pieces to a jigsaw puzzle had been laid out on coffee table in the middle of the room. Amy was crazy about puzzles – there were probably a hundred of them in the closet.

Steven decided to take a shot at the puzzle while he listened to the game. He took a seat on the floor and positioned his legs under the table. He began the task by separating out the outside pieces.

Two hours later, the football game was over – and Steven was becoming increasingly frustrated at the puzzle. He had only been able to put together bits and pieces of the outside of the puzzle. He had assembled some interior pieces, but he struggled to figure out how they went together. He had one chunk that pictured snow capped mountains, other pieces that showed a herd of elephants, and another portion an amusement park in a state of neglect – with roller coaster tracks that had begun to break into pieces and fall back to the ground. Other pieces didn’t seem to fit at all.

Steven was lost in his thoughts as was started when he heard the sound of a cough coming from the doorway. Amy had returned from work.

Steven smiled and looked up at Amy. “Finally, someone who can answer the great mystery of the universe. What the heck is this puzzle supposed to be.”

Amy laughed before responding. “Oh, dear. I hope you haven’t wasted much time. Those are all the extra pieces I found on the floor of the closet when I did spring cleaning. You’d got parts of at least a dozen puzzles.”

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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