The detective wore a wrinkled trench coat, though it was nearly 70 degrees outside. His face didn’t have the lines—the character caused from staring down death, being tortured, or vexed by crime and murder.

“They say you were with him when he died?”

“That’s right,” Gregson said.

“How long between when you heard the shot and you noticed him dead on the green?”

“About 3 seconds—but I was thinking about my golf game and had no idea murder would follow me to Maple Valley.”

The detective made notes in his little brown book, “no idea murder would follow him” he mumbled. “Don’t leave town.”

Gregson gave him a noncommittal gesture that recognized the detective’s authority, while simultaneously suggesting his own freedom.

Andrew insisted that Gregson meet him at the Maple Valley Library—writers love places with atmosphere, and the library was like setting foot into the Middle Ages. What was missing was more telling than what was there. There were no computers, no new books, just brown and gold volumes stacked to the ceiling. There were no kids running around, no homeless snoring, no suburban moms gossiping—only quiet.

Andrew was working upstairs.

“How’s the story coming, Hemingway?” Gregson asked.

“Gregson, I heard you’re already the center of a murder investigation.”

“Yes—I’m the prime suspect. I don’t know what to think of these yocals.”

“They’re harmless enough—just a bit suspicious of outsiders. Let’s get some lunch. I want to show you my favorite Thai Food restaurant. You still like Thai Food, don’t you Gregson?” Andrew was looking at his belly.

At the restaurant, incense burned from a little buddha, and a tiny Taiwanese girl smiled as big as her face.

Gregson smiled back, but she was looking at Andrew.

“Would you like the Pad Thai Beef?” She asked.

“You know me only too well,” Andrew said.

Gregson looked at his friend. “You don’t have to be a detective to know she likes you. Why don’t you take her out on a date?”

“That would be linear thinking, and if the relationship goes wrong, and it usually does, my Thai Food connection will be gone.”

“Love is more important than your stomach.”

“I think they are one in the same.”

“No argument there.”

“Plus, when things do go wrong, I can never trust the food here. Poison is a woman’s weapon.”

“You should’ve been a detective,” Gregson said.

“Thanks, but I can’t stand blood.”

“It’s more or less a word game. Catching people who contradict themselves. Catching liars.”

“Writers lie for a living—only it must be believable,” Andrew said.

“How is your writing coming along?” Gregson asked.

“It’s not. You know old buddy, an inability to write is an inability to live. If your soul isn’t alive, forget it!”

“What does it take to be alive?”

“Love or success—love can be success, but it rarely is. Success is making a living with your heart. So many people are searching for love, but they don’t know how to touch someone.”

“And that’s what you are trying to do?”

“A story must be more real than life, and for it to come alive, you must put your heart into it.”

“You talk as if your life is on hold, because your writing is, or maybe your writing is on hold because your heart is. What do you think will break your writer’s block?”

“Love or murder. One must experience both to write about them. My current story is about a golfer who gets shot in Maple Valley.”

Gregson choked on his Pad Thai.

“Do I need to perform the heimlich?” Andrew asked.

“I’m fine… what else have you written?”

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