This was where they had met, a cold winter night. It had been lying there with the others, another log in the stack. He had gotten it out, put it up on the chopping block. Grabbed his axe, lifted it high. The log spoke.
“What are you doing!?”
Gerald jumped back. Held his hand to the wall, catching his breath. The other hand tightened around the shaft. Was he going crazy? Either that, or something fishy was going on.
“You… speak?” Gerald couldn’t believe what he saw and heard. “Logs don’t…”
“Yeah, I know. We don’t. But still, here we are talking, aren’t we?”
Gerald couldn’t argue with that.
They chatted for a while. The log told Gerald about his former life as a tree, and how he had ended up where he was. He asked a lot of questions, and seemed genuinely interested in Gerald’s life, his childhood, his marriage. Gerald told his story, and it felt good to finally have someone to really talk to again.
He took it in, cared for it. They became good friends, they were happy together. The log was a great pal, they had many laughs, so much fun.
His wife didn’t understand. She never saw the log speak, somehow it just kept quiet when she was around. She hated it. She hated how her husband spent long afternoons in the sitting room talking to the stupid log. She hated the log.
The log was worried.
“She doesn’t like me, does she?” it would ask, looking out of the window. “I don’t see why? I never done anything to her.”
Gerald would try to make him feel better. “Maybe that’s the problem,” he would say. “She doesn’t even think you’re alive. Why don’t you speak to her?”
The log went silent.
Gerald spent more and more time with the log. Who would ever have guessed a log would have so much humour, be so smart? He knew things Gerald had never imagined.
He took the log on long walks. They went fishing together. It was driving his wife crazy.
One day she gave him an ultimatum.
“It’s either the log or me! Get rid of it! Chop it up and burn it, or I will!”
So here they were. He put the log on the chopping block, facing away. He couldn’t look it in the eyes.
“What are you doing, man? Why are we here?”
“I’m so sorry… I’m so sorry…” Gerald couldn’t hold the tears back.
“It’s her, isn’t it? She told you to do this! Can’t you see? She’s manipulating you!”
Gerald grabbed his axe with a shaking hand.
“You can’t do this, Gerald!” The log started crying, pleading for its life. “Please! I love you, man! Remember when we went to the cabin together? Remember how happy we were? Don’t do this, man! Gerald, please…”
Gerald lifted the axe. The log pressed its eyes together. The axe came down.
It opened its eyes. The axe was stuck to the block beside it.
“I knew you wouldn’t, man! I knew it!”
Gerald ripped the axe loose from the block, got a good grip around the handle.
It’s the log or me.
He walked out of the shed with determined steps. The choice was made.