Sometimes having coffee with the guys down at the Mule Barn truck stop doesn’t lead to scintillating conversation. Like this morning. Instead of the philosophy counter, the guys were clutched together at the Round Table.
“Anybody read the paper this morning?” Steve said.
“Not me,” said Doc.
But if I did, thought Doc, I think I’d see if anyone was selling a chanter in the classifieds. If a guy learns to play the chanter, he can graduate up to regular bagpipes in no time at all. Chanters sound like bagpipes without the wheezing. Even in this town, you’d think someone would be selling a chanter, right?
Herb was thinking his coffee wasn’t sweet enough, and added some sugar. Then he thought about sugar cane and how it grew in the tropics, and the tropics were nice and warm this time of year … hey, any time of year. And if a guy saved up long enough, he could go sit on the beach, and there were bound to be pretty women dressed in …
I’ll just put some more sugar in my coffee. That’s safer.
“Why am I here this morning?” thought Dud. Here, with the guys, shooting the same old bull when I should be home working on the book. If I were any kind of a real writer, I’d have this fire inside me, and would be typing away on “Murder in the Soggy Bottoms” (what everybody else calls “The Duchess and the Truck Driver”) instead of sitting here with the same old guys, talking about the same old stuff. But on Tuesday I sat down with a cup of coffee and looked at the book and … well, I just couldn’t figure it out. Didn’t some famous philosopher once say that having coffee with your friends led to great ideas?
Maybe if we try it a little longer …
Now if I had the Valley Weekly Miracle, Steve thought, I’d see what’s on sale down at the hardware store. Never know when you’ll need a few more tools up at the cabin. I want to fix the turret up better this year. Yep. That’ll be my “this year” project. I’ll get some tools, ride Ol’ Snort up to the cabin, make coffee, get that fire a-goin’ real good in the Airtight, then I’ll just start … well, doing things.
Soon as it warms up a little, of course …
“I didn’t either,” said Dud.
“Didn’t what?”
“Read the paper this morning.”
“Oh … yeah.”

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Slim Randles
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Slim Randles

Six years ago he began writing a syndicated humor column for newspapers called “Home Country.” He’s also the author of 16 books, including three novels and the biography of The Rounders author, Max Evans. One of Slim’s most recent books, “A Cowboy’s Guide to Growing Up Right” has won two state awards and one national award. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer