He poked his head into the utility room, saw that the Repairman was almost finished, and asked, “Find anything back there while you were fixing my dryer?”
“Like what?” the Repairman replied.
“You know, like odd bits of clothing. Socks, in particular,” he wondered.
Reaching into his back pocket, the Repairman produced a handful of mismatched socks. “Like these?” he asked, his face showing no emotion as he placed them on the dryer.
Approaching the Repairman, his excitement grew as he stared at the bundle of socks. “You found all those just today? That’s odd because I checked behind there before you came and didn’t see anything,” he said, unsure of what was going on.
“It’s not that odd,” the Repairman continued. “I know where to look. I’ve been doing this a long time. And there’s more down there. But I bet you can’t see them. Go ahead, take a look.”
He knew the socks that the repairman was holding were his long lost socks. He’d been losing socks for years and it was frustrating. But now he was being told that he just hadn’t looked hard enough all this time. That the socks were really down there all the time, just waiting to be found.
The situation intrigued him, and he couldn’t help but ask the Repairman, “So you guys know something about where these lost socks go that the rest of us don’t. Is that it?”
Packing up his tools and without looking him in the eye, the Repairman replied, “That’s about all I’m allowed to say about this.”
“So, you’re telling me this is some sort of deep, dark secret held closely by the ‘Loyal Order of Dryer Repairmen’? ” he scoffed, watching the Repairman closely.
Clearly annoyed, the repairman shot back, “You people, you’re all the same. You look down on us, take us for granted. And you’d never for a minute entertain the notion that maybe, just maybe, there’s more to what we do than you could ever possibly comprehend.”
Standing there eye to eye with the Repairman, he desperately wanted to call ‘bullshit’ on the Repairman’s incredible comments. But there was just the chance that the Repairman might be telling the truth. And if he played his cards right, he might find out more about this guy’s secrets.
So he replied, “You’re right, of course. You guys are sort of invisible to the rest of us. We call you, you come in and fix our stuff, and then leave. We never even learn your names. And if you guys really do know secret stuff, it must be frustrating as hell!”
The Repairman stood still, his eyes searching the other’s eyes for any sign of deception. Then, after a few moments, he put down his tool bag, smiled a bit and held out his hand in friendship. “My name’s Bill. And I thank you for understanding what we Repairmen go through.” As they stood there shaking hands, the Repairman added, “And if you promise to never, ever tell anyone, I’ll show you where to look for your lost socks.”
Taking a deep breath, he looked deep into the eyes of the Repairman and replied, “I promise.” And as he said those two words, his excitement grew to levels he’d never experienced before.
“Okay,” the Repairman said, grabbing the dryer, “I’ll move the unit just enough for you to look down at the lower left corner. The place you want to look is right above the manufacturer’s sticker. Here, take my flashlight.”
Moving between the washer and the dryer, and using the flashlight to peer down towards the lower left corner of the dryer, he cautiously asked, “What am I supposed to be seeing, anyway? All I’m seeing is the sticker.”
“Keep looking,” the Repairman instructed. “It will take your eyes a moment to adjust. Then you’ll see it. And you’ll know it when you see it. Lean down a little lower.”
“Okay,” he mumbled as he leaned over a bit more. “Wait, I think I see what you’re . . . . .”
The flashlight dropped to the floor and rolled a bit until it stopped at the Repairman’s feet. He bent down, picked it up, put it in his tool bag and gently pushed the dryer back into its proper position now that there was nothing in the way. He looked around the utility room, saw that everything was as it should be, and then turned and left.
He wasn’t real sure that the ‘special spot’ on these older Maytag models would absorb more than just socks. But now that he knew, he’d tell the boys at the ‘Loyal Order’ how he dealt with the one guy in the whole world who'd guessed their secret.