Laetitia sat sipping coffee in the library of the Emerald Victorian as she looked at a map of Wyoming, the state she had chosen for the day’s tour. She knew that conventional tour directors sometimes devise games for the guests to play, particularly on days when there are long bus rides between destinations. Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours has no such obligatory long bus rides, but she thought a game would be fun anyway. The game was that half of the group would go to the Wyoming town of Recluse and the remainder would go to the town of Moose.
Though she suspected that the latter was named for the presence or past presence in the area of a large bovine mammal, she preferred to think of the residents as being gigantic like Moose Malloy, Raymond Chandler’s character in Farewell, My Lovely. Chandler described Moose as “not more than six feet five inches tall and not wider than a beer truck,” and “He wore … a rough gray sports coat with white golf balls on it for buttons.” Moose was, of course, a thug, which, as far as Laetitia knew, none of the inhabitants of Moose, Wyoming, actually were.
The game was to interview the residents of each town and determine how many shy and retiring people lived in Recluse and how many of gigantic people in Moose. A percentage for each town would be calculated by dividing the number of reclusive or gigantic people observed in each respective town by its population. The two teams would meet in the afternoon in the lobby of Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park. At dinner, each team would present their results, and the team with the highest percentage would be declared the winner. This study was somewhat short on scientific rigor, and since it was an imaginary tour was likely to produce imaginary results. Also, as games go it was rather lame, but Laetitia had been on the go for several months and relished having a few hours to relax in the lounge of Old Faithful Lodge while her guests were off on their respective missions.
The two groups recombined that afternoon, and Laetitia took them on a brief tour of the area around Old Faithful Lodge. They watched Old Faithful erupt several times, hiked to view some hot springs, and enjoyed the bison and elk herds that roamed nearby. They read the signs warning guests not to try to pet the bison and elk since they were not tame.
At dinner, the Recluse group conceded defeat. They said that when they entered the town, the streets were empty. Occasionally a curtain would move, indicating that people were watching, but none ventured out. A man blundered out into the street as they were about to leave, but he acted so shy and seemingly confused that they couldn’t do an interview, and he quickly dashed back into the house. Moose did, in fact, have several very large residents who looked like they might be descendants of Paul Bunyan, though none came close to being as wide as a beer truck. After presenting the limerick, Laetitia stopped in Recluse on the way home. It was a small, unincorporated community with little more than a school, a post office, and a few businesses. Its residents seemed perfectly normal. She suspected that the folks from her group who went to Recluse had very active imaginations.