I glanced back towards Bonnie’s office and waited for her to finish her typing before I approached to review the results of my experiment. I already dropped the completed form in the metal basket on her desk and leaned back against the doorframe before she finished the task. She tipped back in her chair, and folded her arms across her chest.
I could not resist the silence and initiated the review of my experiment. “Okay, I admit, I needed a better plan as to what action I needed him to take, but he did sign the visitor’s log.”
“I cannot believe you tried this experiment on Ted.” I glanced at the document in the basket, again utilizing my upside-down reading prowess.
“The Lumberjack?” I sarcastically dubbed him as I gestured towards the door he exited. “His name’s not Ted.”
“I know. He comes in here every other week or so.”
“Yeah. He always comes on Fridays.”
“Every Friday? I think I would have remembered him last week.”
“Was it last week he was here? Maybe it was the week before. I don’t know. He comes four times every summer.”
“He uses up his maximum firewood permits each year. And he always takes the minimum three cords at a time.”
“Does he use it all? How much firewood do you think someone might use in a year?”
“At our house, we usually get two cords and then we have some left over. We’ve had a few winters where we didn’t even use one.”
“Do you ever ask what he does with so much? Do you think maybe he sells it?”
“I doubt it. He better not be. As long as he’s not selling it, it’s allowed, and I’m not going to ask him what he’s doing with it.”
“Seriously, what does he do with that much firewood?”
“I just presume he is stocking up for Armageddon.”
A survivalist. I guess they have those here in Wyoming.
“He seemed polite.”
She didn’t respond, but sometimes that’s the Wyoming way to agree. I read that.
“You don’t think so?”
“When it comes to him, I try not to think about it. In fact, it’s a good thing you are here. Now you can deal with him the next couple times he shows up.” I didn’t find the interaction terribly painful, far from it, although the prospect that I might have to conduct a similar exchange without the benefit of the experimental handshake would be less entertaining.
“And you say he does this every year? How long has he been coming in here?”
“He was here last year, and maybe the year before that. I forget, but I was told he’s been coming in here since, I don’t know, maybe eight or nine years. There’s a lot of regulars you’ll get to know.”
‘Regular’ as in his routine or ‘regular’ as in his character, I wondered, because clearly Bonnie found something in him to be irregular.
“But you have to admit, the handshake worked. I got him to sign the visitor’s log. That’s pretty impressive since he’s a regular customer, right?”
“I suppose. Let’s see how long it takes to get your dryer working and then we’ll discuss the effectiveness of your technique.” Boiled down, she was exactly on the mark. I will say, I thought people were forthcoming in Texas, but in Wyoming, they pull no punches. Down south, when it came to punches, they threw plenty. Or maybe it was just the men I knew.
NEXT: The Handshake – Part 5