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thetycoon
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A true hero.
Mar 12th, 2013 at 5:05pm
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Vilhelm Slovonick was a word wizard, a champion of cross word puzzle in all categories. The same way Alekhine the world chess champion was able to play thirty games against local champions simultaneously, all in his head and win them all. Vilhelm could memorize a grid and keep analyzing it while doing all sorts of other things. Like driving through town, or waiting at a restaurant to get his table. He even had an eidetic memory that allowed him to look at a page for a few seconds and memorize every detail of it, even the slight imperfections in the paper. That had served him well as a child since he was able to commit his textbooks to memory in a couple of days and then could spend his time doing other things that were more important to him.

He earned a nice living as an art expert for a few years and was able to retire early in a cozy little house where he was able to afford a more than adequate professional housekeeping which freed him for what had become his latest passion in life: Cross word puzzles. The really hard ones, with obscure definitions and multiple possibilities.
Just to give you an idea of how strong Vilhelm was, he would look at an ordinary cross word, the kind that you find in your local newspaper for a few seconds, grid and definitions, and then he would lean back in his favorite easy chair and fill the whole grid in a couple of minutes, or less.

Now he was thinking of a really hard one. One that had eluded him for days, one word was the key to the whole puzzle but for some reason he couldn’t find it. It was driving him crazy. In his mind, the grid would fill itself with words until it would get to an impasse, an impossibility and then he would have to start over again. “If only I could find that word,” thought Vilhelm,” the rest would just be child’s play in comparison.”

Unthinkingly he walked toward the bank, entered and started waiting in line, barely aware of where he was. When all of a sudden everything fell into place the word! He had found it! He was so happy, he felt like telling everyone, he never noticed the worried looks on the people around him… He heard a bang and at the same time an intense pain in his chest, he felt weak and collapsed a woman with a worried smile was looking at him, he didn’t feel much pain anymore but he was still happy he had found the key. He tried to tell her but only part of it came through and then everything went dark.



“So tell me again how this happened?”, asked officer Hermann, he was addressing an athletic man in his mid-twenties, “Well, it all happened so fast,” answered the man “That man”, he was showing the man in dark clothes that the police was pushing bodily toward the squad car “He pulled a gun and started threatening every one saying that the first one to move would be dead.” You see I am a black belt in taekwondo and well… I thought… I thought I could get to him before he could shoot me but I was wrong, I was too slow, the man turned his gun in my direction and was about to fire…

“That’s when that courageous man”, he was showing Vilhelm that the paramedic were zipping in a body bag. He said the last words with a tear in his eye. “He saved me!”, “He yelled, I got him, I got him!” “Thanks to him I was able to get the man but not before he shot, that man.” The respect in he put in that last word was incommensurable.



“We must do something about that, we must petition the city and get them to put a plaque in this place”. The young man was very persuasive and the bank director also saw it favorably too, after all it couldn’t be bad for business if there was a plaque there for everyone to see. There were a few other people around, including the young woman who was near Vilhelm when he expired.

“You were the closest to him; you must have heard what he said.” Asked the bank director. “Yes I did,” answered the woman but I could make out only one word.



“Look at that dad, there’s a shiny square on that wall, what is it?”
“Actually, son, it’s a rectangle, from here it looks like a plaque.”
“A plaque? What is it for?”
“Well, son, it to celebrate something important that happened there. Maybe we can move closer and see what it is.”
“Yes, dad, I’d like that.”

And the plaque read:

“In Honor of Vilhelm Slovonick,
  a true American, who gave up his life so that others could live.

As he was dying his last thought went to his beloved country, his last word was: AMERICA


A true hero.”
  
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Darwinist
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Re: A true hero.
Reply #1 - Mar 12th, 2013 at 6:31pm
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This is very nice. Is it based on a true story, or pure fiction you came up with? The ending, I assume, is meant to be at least a little ironic?
  

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Writers_Block
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Re: A true hero.
Reply #2 - Mar 12th, 2013 at 6:35pm
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Very intriguing and a story unexpected. Only criticism would be to work on your sentence structure, but I enjoyed it very much.
  
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thetycoon
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Re: A true hero.
Reply #3 - Mar 12th, 2013 at 6:47pm
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Darwinist wrote on Mar 12th, 2013 at 6:31pm:
This is very nice. Is it based on a true story, or pure fiction you came up with? The ending, I assume, is meant to be at least a little ironic?

First, thank you.  Smiley
And yes, as far as I know, it is purely fictional. I just like stories with surprising endings, a little like O Henry, if you see what I mean.
  
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thetycoon
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Re: A true hero.
Reply #4 - Mar 12th, 2013 at 6:50pm
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Very intriguing and a story unexpected. Only criticism would be to work on your sentence structure, but I enjoyed it very much.

Thank you. Smiley

You're absolutely right. Now I can see that I made countless mistakes. I need to spend more time proofreading.
  
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Re: A true hero.
Reply #5 - Mar 12th, 2013 at 7:05pm
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First, thank you.  Smiley
And yes, as far as I know, it is purely fictional. I just like stories with surprising endings, a little like O Henry, if you see what I mean.

That's what I thought of when I read the ending - an O. Henry story. So ... damn nice job on that! Smiley
  

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Re: A true hero.
Reply #6 - Mar 12th, 2013 at 7:09pm
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Thank you. Smiley

You're absolutely right. Now I can see that I made countless mistakes. I need to spend more time proofreading.

If I may make one brief comment (and ignore this if it's not relevant): write exactly the same way you speak aloud. (Yes, I really do talk like my writing. Undecided) It's at least the best place to start. Then read the story back to yourself aloud. If it doesn't sound natural to your own ear, then chances are it won't sound natural to others.
  

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Re: A true hero.
Reply #7 - Mar 12th, 2013 at 7:23pm
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Thank you. Smiley

You're absolutely right. Now I can see that I made countless mistakes. I need to spend more time proofreading.



It really is a great first draft. I hope you can continue with that style.
  
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Re: A true hero.
Reply #8 - Mar 12th, 2013 at 9:52pm
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I liked it a lot.

Like Tales of the Unexpected, very Roald Dahlish....

Except I was expecting a gag, like the word was "buttstroke" or "felt".

Maybe "spasm".


I read too much Milligan as a youth. Sad
  

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