By Slim Randles
Dud rounded the corner on his block and headed for the edge of town at an easy jog. Well, easy for an Olympic miler, he thought. It was making him breathe hard and he wasn't even a block from the house. But this is the price. Oh yes, the price I must pay for my goal.
"Dud," said Doc, "I worry about you spending so much time agonizing over that book of yours."
"I have to do it, Doc," Dud said. "There are still so many things to plan in the book. Things like the duchess's daughter and her relationship with the truck driver on special assignment ..."
"I know that, Dudley," Doc said, giving Dud a friendly arm squeeze, "but what you need is a kind of cleansing. You know, empty your mind and then let the ideas come. To me, the best idea has been to exercise."
Dud looked at him strangely.
"Yep. Exercise, Dud. Get out and go jogging or play tennis or something. Not only is the exercise good for your body, but it'll get that brain cleaned up and working all fresh again. And that solution to your book problem will come. You'll get it."
And that's what had him chuffing and jogging and looking at the trees and appreciating the beauty of the place he called home. But try as he might, the exercise actually intensified his pondering the novel he called "Murder in the Soggy Bottoms," but was better known to his friends as "The Duchess and the Truck Driver." The first draft of the book was rejected by a publisher eight years ago because it had eight murders ... in the first chapter. So Dud went back to the drawing board and let seven of those people survive through several more chapters. But it was the relationship. The relationship. Why do things have to be so complicated?
After his run, he pulled up a chair at the philosophy counter at the Mule Barn truck stop.
"Well, Dud," said Doc, kindly, "did you exercise?"
"Ran a good mile or so, Doc."
"And did you get it? You know ... the solution?"
"I'm not sure," Dud replied, "but I got tired."
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