Dud was especially quiet this morning, sitting in his usual seat at the philosophy counter of the Mule Barn truck stop. He was doodling with his napkin and a feed store ball-point pen.
Doc looked over to see if he could make it out. He couldn’t. Bert adjusted his glasses and looked over.
“Murder?” said Bert.
“You wrote murder on the napkin,” Bert said. “Did I say something wrong?”
“Naw,” Dud said, blushing a bit. “It’s my book, that’s all.”
“Still having trouble trying to figure it out?” Doc said, kindly.
“The publishing company suggests I outline it first to kinda get to know where everything goes before rewriting it this time. And you know what they said about the murders…”
“Eight are too many …” said Doc.
“… in the first chapter,” said Doc and Bert simultaneously. “That’s right,” said Dud. “My problem is, I can’t figure out who to kill first, the duchess or the truck driver.”
Bert looked at Doc. “You have a duchess and a truck driver?”
“They met at the opera, or maybe the truck stop. I’m not sure yet,” Dud said. “Now I need to kill both of them to make this work, you see, but then there are my other victims, and some of them really need killing pretty bad, but I’m going to have to slip those murders in a little bit at a time.”
“A duchess and a truck driver?”
“Well, yeah,” Dud said, “but no one is supposed to know about the affair they had back when they were both in college, see? And then when their daughter shows up …”
“The duchess and the truck driver have a daughter?”
“Sure. But she doesn’t know her dad’s a truck driver until after he’s dead, and by then, see, she’s on a killing spree… and her half brother, the dukelet, he tries to get her to join Adult Children of Murdered Parents ….”
“Hold it right there!” said Doc. “I’ll wait for the book. I don’t want you to spoil it for me.”