It was the hottest and most humid day of the year so far. Albright had just walked past the 6.2 mile mark on his way to finishing at 8.2.
He saw Mickey in the distance. Albright was in a hurry. He didn’t want to stop and talk. But he couldn’t be so rude as to completely ignore his friend either.
Each going opposite directions on the trail, they stopped at their meeting.
“I gotta go,” Albright said. “Sorry. Ain’t got much time to talk.”
Mickey understood his friend’s panic all too well. He noted it in Albright’s peculiar stride. Up close, he read it on Albright’s face. Then he could smell it, even in the heavy summer breeze.
“Oil leak?” Mickey asked. “A loose plug. I know. It’s hot and it’s humid.”
“Yeah,” Albright said. “It’s a real mess back there. I’m leaving a hell of a nasty puddle. It’s more of a spill than a trickling leak.”
“Sure it’s not perspiration?”
“I stopped at the Porta Crapper a couple of miles back. I investigated. Unfortunately, it’s not perspiration.”
Albright’s face flushed. His faced reddened worse than the summer sun had already flamed it.
“I’m sorry,” Mickey said. “But you shouldn’t have stopped. Knowing makes it worse. It’s better to think it could just be sweat.”
“Thanks for the advice,” Albright said. “And the sympathy.”
“So what do you use?” his friend asked.
“Lotion. To keep things lubed. I always figured it was a matter of too much friction, so I greased the parts.”
“That’s your problem,” his friend said. “You need powder to keep it dry. You want dry, not moist. You need something to absorb the leak, not spread it out and make it worse.”
“I need to get home,” Albright said. “I really need to fix this.”
“I understand,” Mickey said. “Hopefully we’ll meet again soon, under better circumstances.”