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He looked up and scratched his head before admitting defeat with a shrug.

“Yep,” she said, sitting down opposite him. “I thought this one might baffle you.”

“I’m not baffled,” he protested. “I’ve only had, what, half an hour to look at this? Let me sleep on it.”

She laughed. “Sleep on it. Right. You think that’ll help?”

He smiled. “Worked for James Watson, didn’t it?”

She frowned. “Who?”

“One of the scientists who discovered the structure of DNA. The breakthrough came from a dream, something about spiral staircases, as I recall.”

She looked at him, dubious.

“When you go to sleep, your brain doesn’t just switch off completely. It keeps sorting through what you’ve been dealing with. Sometimes, with sleep to switch off the right parts of your brain and negate the stresses and worries of your day, your dreams can show you the elegant solution you’ve been looking for.”

She sat back. “I don’t care if it’s elegant or not, I just want a solution. Preferably one that doesn’t involve bombing anything.”

He raised his eyebrows. “How long before your hand is forced?”

She sighed as she stood up. “I can stall the generals for twelve hours, maybe twenty four at a push. So go ahead, sleep on it, but be quick.”

He nodded. “Yes, Madame President.”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: This week the Three Word Wednesday prompt is the words Baffle Elegant and Negate. I suppose this is more of a vignette than an actual story, but hey, I was sedated this morning to have my teeth fixed so I reckon I can excuse myself this week!)