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Leopold’s Dilemma

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Leopold, a man of considerable intellect and even more considerable girth, found himself in a bit of a pickle. His brother, Ichabod, had come to stay. Now, it’s not that Leopold didn’t like Ichabod, it’s just that he found him to be as stimulating as a wet weekend in Wigan. Ichabod was the sort of chap who could make a game of chess seem like a high-speed car chase.

Ichabod had arrived, unannounced, on Leopold’s doorstep with a suitcase, a toothbrush, and a look of desperation. He had been evicted from his lodgings, he said, due to a small misunderstanding involving a pet ferret and the landlady’s prized Persian rug. Leopold, being a man of some compassion, had reluctantly allowed him to stay.

The first few days were tolerable. Ichabod kept to himself, spending most of his time in the guest room, presumably plotting new and inventive ways to bore Leopold to tears. But then, on the fourth day, Ichabod emerged from his self-imposed exile with a proposal.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said, a statement which in itself was enough to raise Leopold’s eyebrows. “We should start a family business.”

Leopold nearly choked on his morning kipper. “A family business?” he spluttered. “With you?”

Ichabod nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, I’ve been doing some research, and I think we could make a go of it. We could start a… a… a dog-walking service!”

Leopold stared at his brother in disbelief. “A dog-walking service? Ichabod, you’re afraid of dogs.”

Ichabod waved a dismissive hand. “A minor detail. Besides, I’ve been reading up on it. Dogs are very therapeutic. They can help reduce stress and anxiety.”

Leopold snorted. “The only stress and anxiety I’m experiencing is the thought of going into business with you.”

But Ichabod was not to be deterred. He spent the next few days drawing up business plans, designing flyers, and even attempting to train the neighbour’s dog, a ferocious bulldog named Brutus, with predictably disastrous results.

Leopold watched all this with a mixture of amusement and dread. He had no desire to join his brother in this madcap venture, but he also knew that Ichabod was not the sort to take no for an answer. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place, or in this case, between a bulldog and a brother with the business acumen of a sea cucumber.

As the days turned into weeks, Leopold found himself growing increasingly desperate. He considered all sorts of drastic measures, from faking his own death to joining a monastery, but in the end, he knew there was only one solution.

He would have to convince Ichabod that the dog-walking business was a terrible idea. But how? He pondered this question as he watched Ichabod attempt to put a leash on Brutus, who was having none of it. And then, as he watched his brother being dragged across the lawn by the indignant bulldog, an idea began to form in his mind.

A smile spread across Leopold’s face. It was a risky plan, and it would require some cunning and a bit of luck. But if it worked, he would be free of his brother’s harebrained scheme and could return to his peaceful, Ichabod-free existence.

With a renewed sense of purpose, Leopold set to work. He had a brother to outwit, a bulldog to appease, and a life of tranquillity to reclaim. And he was just the man to do it.

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