Home Country – The price of art

People - Slim Randles
Published Sunday, January 24, 2021
by Slim Randles

A new year. A new start. Who said I can't finish this book? 

Dud Campbell walked the frozen sidewalk and blew steamy breath out through his parka hood.

All I need, really, are a few ideas. 

Dud's been working on his novel, "Murder in the Soggy Bottoms," for several years now, and it has taken on different blends of seasoning, largely depending on what things were happening here in our little valley.     

For example, the bizarre romantic connection between Dewey and Emily led to a rewrite of the part where the book flashed back many years to when the Duchess and the Truck Driver first met.  

And when the Truck Driver's son met the Duchess's daughter, 20 some years later, it was the courtship of Randy Jones and Katie Burchell that he patterned that after.

What is still left to solve, however, is what happens when the Truck Driver and the Duchess discover that their children are sweet on each other, because the kids happen to be half brother and sister.

And then, the guys at the coffee shop wanted to know why the Truck Driver, an American truck driver, was there driving below the Duchess's castle in Europe. At first, he was just calling it a special assignment, but the guys wanted to know what the special assignment was, and did he have to change his name for it, and was he armed, and did theme music play when he shifted gears.

He'd already killed off a few characters early on in the book, so he believed he was under no obligation to bump off any more, but then the book is called "Murder in the Soggy Bottoms," (which his friends think sounds like wet diapers) and the soggy bottoms are back in the good ol' U.S. of A. and how was he going to get the Duchess and her daughter across the foaming tide?

And as he walked and thought, he asked himself if really good writers like Balzac and Max Evans had to struggle like this. He nodded and smiled to himself.

Sometimes I'll bet they just wanted to sit down, open a beer, and watch football.

Hey, not a bad idea.

Art does exact its price.

In memory of my mentor, pard and good friend, Max Evans. He used to "fist fight for fun." Thankfully, not with me.

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