As Tom was continuing to pitch his idea. Footsteps could be heard coming down the front stairs. "Our, guest", Mary whispered to Jim, jumping to her feet scurrying to greet him and guide him toward the dining area. The conversation was interrupted now as Both Tom and Jim turned their attention to the stranger. "Welcome Sir, Welcome Sir, to best holiday location in Vermont, heck in the country, Welcome?" Tom bellowed as he rose and began to walk toward the man with his large hand outstretched in an unmistakable sign of friendship.
The stranger stopped for a moment, looked Tom up and down in his Santa Claus suit, changed his direction and proceed to walk around him, ignoring his extended hand. Exchanging only a condescending smirk and the words, "yes, thank you" in a strong European accent. The stranger's destination was one of the breakfast tables in the dinning area. Pulled up his chair, opened the morning paper that was next to his place setting and buried his head in it, not saying another word. Mary, hurried to the fetch the coffee pot and fill the stranger's cup. The stranger was dress in a black double breasted suit. His long blonde, almost white hair, contrasted against his clothing. He was very fair skined with icy blue eyes. He had chiseled facial feature, much like a male model. He carried a black brief case with him, that he placed carefully under the table.
Tom, was a bit shocked, he had never received that type of reaction to one of his shows of hospitality. He turned and looked, wide eyed and surprised, at Jim still seated at the table closest to the kitchen where they were previously speaking. Jim was grinning from ear to ear. He had never seen someone treat Tom like that. He thought the expression of shock on Tom's face was hilarious. "Good morning, Mr. Johanson, I trust you slept well." Jim called out to the disinterested stranger. Johanson, ruffled his paper, continued reading and once again said, "Yes, thank you."
"Oh, a conversationalist," Tom blurted out followed by a loud laugh, "we need another one of those in this town." Tom had regained his composure and was back to his jovial self. "Tom, come with him into the kitchen, there's something I want to show you," Jim beckoned to Tom, making a head motion toward the door. Tom complied and they both moved into the next room making small talk along the way.
Jim burst into laughter as the swinging door closed behind them. " You should have seen your face, Tom. That was priceless." Tom was smiling as well, "You know, Jim, he threw me for a loop. I know I'm wearing a Santa suit, but I never had anyone treat me like that."
"Don't take it too personally Tom, he's a foreigner, from Sweden. Mr. Ivan Johanson's his name. Don't know why he's here, but I aim to find out." Jim said. "Do think he could be interested in "Ice Mountain", you know the ski resort?" Tom asked, eye's gleaming as he pictured his big time revitalization ideas become a reality. "I don't know,Tom, but lets not jump the gun here, let me find out some more information. In the mean time, you take off and spread the word around town that everyone should treat this guy like gold. Lets make sure, if he is interested in the resort, nothing about this town will change is mind." "Good idea, Jim," Tom responded, "I'm going to sneak out the back. I will talk to you later."