Crossword Creation: There's an Ogre on My Ulna

Updated on June 30, 2020
boxelderred profile image

I have been writing off and on for many years. I'm moving away from off and more toward on since I left the workforce.

Crossword Creations are Born

One morning before the sun woke up, I found in a stack of papers in my home office the folded, completed crossword puzzle section from our 2 April 2020 edition of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. I remember thinking I must have had a particularly good solving day that day as there were minimal stray marks and corrections on the page.

What also occurred to me, though, as I was preparing to discard the completed crossword, was that I did not have a pending project to hand. I looked at the solved puzzle and an idea began to take shape.

I spent the better part of that morning crafting the flash fiction story that came to me from the words in the crossword. I built a spreadsheet to track the only rule of Crossword Creations: every word in the puzzle solution must be used in the story. The course thus charted, I marked out each word as it was used, let the muse run rampant with whatever ideas came along.

My conception of Crossword Creations was born that morning, though the particular feat has yet to be replicated. Sadly—or maybe encouragingly?—what instead has transpired is an accumulation of solved puzzles. Noting their collective and collecting presence now reminds daily that if there is not a pending project, there is, in fact, a pending project.

I hope you enjoy this quick little tale as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Or more, even!

Solved crossword puzzle from 2 April 2020 edition of Moscow-Pullman Daily News
Solved crossword puzzle from 2 April 2020 edition of Moscow-Pullman Daily News | Source

There's an Ogre on My Ulna

I was headed to the Depot, keyed up and looking for “oohs” and a score, but certain it would elude after a lifetime of denials. Nattier than usual, wearing sneakers and white with my glasses on, I looked like a college campus nerd, a member of the literati or Ollie Lee ready for Yom Kippur.

I passed my friend Edie, who owns the Palm Reader salon around the corner. She saluted, cat-called and hollered, “Bah ha ha ha! I’m telling Doug!!”

“I’ll sue for libel!” I scream, more nerd-like than literati, but talking really only to myself. Edie was long gone, ‘round the corner, and in any case knew leniency was my wont more than not. In any case, too, Doug and I were no longer a thing as of this morning. Edie just didn't know that yet.

But a thought did occur to me at that very moment:

Hmmm…if a seer says, then maybe I will overcome this inertia. Maybe tonight I am destined to meet my lifetime partner!

And then, just as quickly, another preemptive notion:

Nope, nope, nope. Reset. Ctrl+Alt+Del here, missy. Not going to happen. That is NOT your dole…

But before that second thought was complete, there appeared in a flash an ogre, caught me off guard, sprang out of nowhere and alit erect on my ulna, stuck there like remora to a shark.

Source

I used to drink the driest of ryes

And I loved oh loved me sweet berry pies

But now it’s mash sweet

And I always eat meat

Though young bones are me biggest big prize

— The Ogre on My Ulna

“Tehee,” roared he into my ear, in a panting voice of swallowed helium. I halted in my tracks, lest the beast should be as hungry as bold.

Truly stumped, I wondered who this guy was, this inane goon, like an imagined character from Epcot:

His tongue was taupe-colored; breath rotten onion, Dow chemicals and escargot; teeth dripped goo like raw white of egg. Stagy, ogee-arch ears reminded of Spock from USS Enterprise, though left pointed ENE and right pointed WSW, respectively, and at all times. Tens of hairs looked lonely, like companions had rioted, sorted themselves out, said toodleoo and departed. They appeared also to be nailed in place, ion-charged, and Beaut Blanc-dyed individually by hand. His skin was drier than years’-old cabin firewood stored indoors to avoid morning dews.

He had with him accoutrements, giving his striking appearance even more oomph: The first, which he held in his left hand, was a stuffed animal he’d named Lorelei. It looked like Muppet Ernie, but with two sets of eyes, and it bore a dated CBS tattoo on its chest. When he squeezed it, Lorelei would emote in a beautiful singing voice like Eros Ramazzotti, “Amore. Amore.”

The second was a medal he wore around his neck. It said, “Olé” on the front, and had a poem written on the back:

I used to drink the driest of ryes
And I loved oh loved me sweet berry pies
But now it’s mash sweet
And I always eat meat
Though young bones are me biggest big prize

This all kind of horrified me at first, but I figure as long as he’s stuck to my arm I should be ok.

And besides, I think he’s kind of cute.

© 2020 greg cain

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    • boxelderred profile imageAUTHOR

      greg cain 

      3 days ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      Thanks, Dora! That is high praise coming from you, and I appreciate it. And let's hope it all remains in the realm of fantasy!

    • boxelderred profile imageAUTHOR

      greg cain 

      3 days ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      Thanks, Flourish. I'll take oddball any day of the week! The ogre himself was the main inspiration for the piece, to be quite honest. There were so many words in the puzzle that jumped out at me as applicable to him. That's what sent my mind off to the races...

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 days ago from The Caribbean

      Unique! Great creativity and every bit of it enjoyable. Your descriptions are so detailed, it makes the ogre seem real. Glad I read this .

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 days ago from USA

      Oddball but I really loved the extreme creativity. What a wonderful writing exercise! The character was vivid.

    • boxelderred profile imageAUTHOR

      greg cain 

      5 days ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      Thank you, Liz, for the wonderful comment. This was an engaging project that I am inclined to do again someday in future.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 days ago from UK

      This is a unique and inspirational way of writing. You have done well to work within the parametrrs you set to create an interesting tale.

    • boxelderred profile imageAUTHOR

      greg cain 

      6 days ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      Thanks, William. This work in progress was a weird combination of constraining and liberating. It was quite a good exercise in discipline and diligence, I think. Thanks again for stopping by!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      6 days ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Quite a nice job, Greg. I have trouble writing short stories and then to

      write under those guidelines would have been impossible for me. I admire your work here.

    • boxelderred profile imageAUTHOR

      greg cain 

      6 days ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      DreamerMeg - funny you should mention that about the dictionary. I had been considering putting something together based on the "Word of the Day" e-mail I get daily...more to follow!

    • boxelderred profile imageAUTHOR

      greg cain 

      6 days ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      John - give it a go, mate! I would love to see what you come up with. Thanks again for stopping by for a look-see.

    • boxelderred profile imageAUTHOR

      greg cain 

      6 days ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      Nor would I have believed it a few short weeks ago, Ruby. It is a new on on me, and though I want to try it again I am now having trouble finding the time! Busy, busy, busy!

    • boxelderred profile imageAUTHOR

      greg cain 

      6 days ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      Hey Sha - thanks for the great comment. I had a blast putting this thing together. It was a bit of a challenge to use all the words, but I manged to squeeze them in...Thanks again for stopping by and giving it a look!

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 

      7 days ago from Northern Ireland

      That's certainly a creative story and a creative way to develop a story too. Professional crosswords usually are set around a theme so that might make it just a tad easier to come up with a connected story but it must take some work. I think the only harder way would be taking random words from the dictionary!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      7 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Well, using the words of crossword puzzle is possibly the most creative writing prompt I have heard, Greg. You story was both weird and funny, but well done. I could be tempted to try this, If I get stuck for ideas, but then again maybe not...lol.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 days ago from Southern Illinois

      Well, who would have ever ' thunk 'about writing a story from a completed crossword puzzle? Not me in a million years! But, by golly I liked it!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      8 days ago from Central Florida

      What a clever way to kick your muse into gear, Box! Who would have thought random words in a crossword puzzle could come together in a story?

      Your brain seems to be working overtime - to our benefit.

    • boxelderred profile imageAUTHOR

      greg cain 

      8 days ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      Eric - haha! I'm going to be okay, my friend. My bride reminded me on her reading of this that the little green guys with pointy ears are not real. Between you and her, then, I think my sanity shall remain in check.

    • boxelderred profile imageAUTHOR

      greg cain 

      8 days ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      Thank you, Ankita. Much appreciated.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      8 days ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Can I have your phone number, full name and address, like date of birth or even SS#.

      It would be well to get a Health and Human services folk over there sooner rather than later.

      Just a thought. You do know that ogres are "generally" not real.

    • Ankita B profile image

      Ankita B 

      8 days ago

      Very creative thought. The story is as much entertaining.

    • boxelderred profile imageAUTHOR

      greg cain 

      8 days ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      Thanks, Bill. Very kind of you. And I had lots of fun putting it together. Time will tell if this can become a thing or not...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      You, my friend, have an overactive imagination, and I love it. You never disappoint with your writings. This was brilliantly entertaining.

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