Saturday, 19 May 2012

4 - Enigma

Cryptic crosswords are nothing to a mind such as Alan’s, and chess but a diversion. But the big puzzle in his mind is how to approach that beauty in the queue ahead. She’s not uniformed, and judging by the inked-in seam up her leg, no GI is treating her to stockings. He can’t remember on which finger people who are married wear a ring, but there isn’t one on any of them: chance, still, perhaps.
The queue shuffles forward, and more first-name-only acquaintances move off with their prize of sausage peas and mash. The table she sits at is full of wrens, and he blushes as one of them catches his eye. He goes elsewhere with his culinary consolation.
Soon he’ll be back in the hut, pencilling in algorithms that will help decrypt harbour traffic from the Führer’s North Atlantic Group. Tonight his work will save the lives of 350 sailors in a convoy south of Iceland. But he will end the war with no clearer idea of the enigma which is woman.

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