A Really Good Day
W.A. Fix | Pam Casey
If you noticed Leslie Byrdson, you would probably wonder if he were one of the thousands released by mental institutions to wander city streets, homeless and in need of stabilizing medications. If you did, you would be wrong and you would have mistaken his mumblings for insanity. Leslie was and is, by most standards, a very remarkable individual. He counts everything, keeping track of constantly changing statistics for things of interest to no one else. His interests include the number of people who bumped into him within the two block walk to his office, the number of steps between his desk and the subway station and the exact time required to walk that distance, how many wads of gum on the sidewalk versus yesterday’s count, and literally dozens of other meaningless items and events he recorded in his mind every day for the past thirty-six years. Today, however, would be different. Today would be Christmas, his birthday and all his good days combined.
“Leslie! Hey Leslie!” the voice interrupted him and caused him to store all his current totals. He recognized the speaker as Grant Schillins, his friend and CEO/Owner of Schillins Industries.
Schillins smiled as he approached the odd little man. Leslie had been with him since they were both kids and frankly he owed much of his success to him and his truly remarkable mind. Grant waved a hand at Leslie’s security team. “I’ll just be a minute,” he said to the closest member.
Leslie beamed broadly and said, “Hi Grant, it’s been 565,235 seconds since I saw you. What have you been doing? Where have you been?”
Amused by Leslie’s standard greeting, Grant said, “Yes, I know Leslie, it has been far too long, but, I’ve been working really hard, buddy, evaluating proposals for our next acquisition. I put the top three on your desk and would like your evaluation when you can get to them.” Grant knew Leslie would not rest until he completed his task. He also knew Leslie’s personal assistants and security team would make sure he slept, ate and maintained his personal hygiene. From experience Grant was confident he would have the most qualified proposal in his hand within 48 hours. “Are you feeling okay? Do you need anything, Leslie?” said Grant with sincere concern.
“I’m okay,” said Leslie and in his mind he knew he was forty-five seconds behind schedule. He began to fidget.
Recognizing the symptoms, Grant stepped forward and hugged Leslie. “Okay, buddy. I’ll see you in a few days.”
“Bye, Grant,” said Leslie, as he and the security detail turned away. They headed for the building entrance, but, the instant Leslie turned away he reset the “Grant Counter” to zero and began counting from one. Before they entered the building he had also counted 4 additional cigarette butts, one dead cockroach, 17 ants and one fresh glob of gum. Bringing year-to-date totals to 636 cigarette butts (down 97 from last year and probably due to fewer smokers), 71 dead insects (4 were cockroaches), 6386 ants and 217 globs of gum (up 24 from last year and also probably due to the decrease in smokers). The group entered an elevator and Leslie mumbled aloud while updating several hundred registers with his collected data. Exiting the elevator on the 27th floor, they walked to the end of the hall and entered a door simply labeled “Leslie Byrdson, Research Analyst”. Inside the door, Carol Watson, his office assistant scowled at the three security team members and said, “Running a little late this morning.”
“Hi, Carol. It’s been 32,445 seconds since I saw you. What have you been doing? Where have you been?”
Carol removed his coat and hung it behind her desk as she replied, “I was at my home, Leslie and spent a wonderful evening with my children. Come on, let’s get you settled. Mr. Schillins stopped by earlier and…”
As the group moved to enter Leslie’s private office a horrendous crash shook the entire building. They were all knocked to the floor by the impact yet quickly scrambled to their feet. Leslie was first to reach and open the door. There was a large hole in the exterior wall and sitting on the remains of his desk was the nose landing gear of a mid-sized aircraft. Leslie began to laugh and clap his hands. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he opened a new register in his mind, “Airplane parts that fell from the sky and should have killed me.” 1.