BY Slim Randles
The weather warmed up the other day. On the weekend, where it would do the most good. And Dud Campbell dressed warmly and went out for a walk. His eyes saw our town, the old, dead, brick drugstore on the corner with the clock that hadn’t worked since the invention of daylight savings time, and the spread white fields and frozen trees.
But his mind was in Europe, but there at the base of the big hill where the duchess’s castle stood. Dud had figured out how to cut out most of the murders in his book “Murder in the Soggy Bottoms,” (which everyone else called “The Duchess and the Truck Driver”) but there was still so much to do. Truth be known, there were many times when Dud thought how easy it would be to just give up on the novel and concentrate on living.
It wasn’t the writing that was so hard for him. In fact, he kinda liked it. It gave him an excuse to sit up late with the radio playing quietly so as not to awaken Anita, and play with people in a book the way he had played with small tin soldiers when he was a child. No, the hard part was to figure out what the story should do. It isn’t easy.
For instance, we know we want the duchess and the American truck driver to be happy together and kill off their enemies by the end of the book. So this means finding out why we should kill the three people, and which three people we should kill. The guys at the Mule Barn told him several years ago to kill off no more than three unless it was a war novel.
And then, there was the love story. The duchess, you see, didn’t realize that the truck driver had been her lover 20 years ago and the trucker didn’t know he was the father of a daughter. He just thought he had a son by his late wife. Well, she wasn’t late when she had the son, of course. She had a … malady of some sort. We can ask Doc for a surefire malady that’ll do in a trucker’s first wife.
And then, as the duchess and the truck driver fall in love for the second time, not realizing they’d already done it once, the trucker’s boy comes over and falls in love with the duchess’s daughter. And there has to be a way of making the duchess and the truck driver realize they’d actually re-found each other, and head off a disastrous romance between semi-siblings…
Or maybe we could just walk down to the Mule Barn and have coffee with the guys.
Brought to you by Home Country (the book). Read a sample at