[JMR20160909: This was a blind alley. I am currently working in the initial (rough) draft of this chapter, here: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/03/economics-101-novel-ch12-tentative.html.]
(The story starts here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.jp/2016/06/econ101-novel-ch000-excuses.html.)
In the previous chapter, Wycliffe began his road to repentance, by taking on the duties of a guardian angel: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2016/06/econ101-novel-ch110-wycliffe-changing.html.
And we saw Wycliffe behaving as if money did not matter.
How can we talk about economics if the characters of our story don't think money matters?
let's think about such questions as we go back to see what Karel and
Bobbie have been doing while Wycliffe was finding that even an eternity
in hell can have an end, of sorts.
Karel and Bobbie separately closed their eyes and offered silent prayers of thanks for their food.
Karel took a bite of his sandwich and drank some water from his canteen. "What kind of sandwich have you got?" he asked.
"Egg salad, with some of the native wild lettuce. How about you?" Bobbie said between bites.
"Ham, with some of the native mustard greens. Try it?"
looked at him doubtfully. He dug into the emergency kit and found a
knife and wiped it with his handkerchief. Bobbie reached over and
covered his hand and the knife.
"That's okay." Then she
took his sandwich. "I trust your saliva more than that knife until we
can wash it." She took a bite and handed it back, chewing thoughtfully
and swallowing. "Not bad. Have a bite of mine?"
Karel blinked. "Sure." He took the sandwich she offered, took a bite, and handed it back. "Nice, especially without mayonnaise."
Bobbie said, "It's been a while since we treated ourselves to American style food, hasn't it?"
well, yeah. Focusing on the local cuisine and all." Neither of them
wanted to put into words the questions being begged about how long until
they might be eating American style food again. Instead, Karel asked,
"What should we do next?"
"Start exploring the island for real, maybe?"
"I'm thinking I want to make sure the water filter works."
"Good idea. Have you read the instructions?"
dug in the emergency kit, but could only find the filter tank and a
pack of paper filters that looked more like coffee filters.
"Can that actually filter water?" Bobbie said when he showed her the paper filters.
"For short-term, drink-or-die emergencies, I guess."
"We'll have to be careful with the drinking water Wycliffe gave us, and use sea water to wash."
we can find something to make a real filter with." Karel thought for a
minute. "Let's wash the utensils from the emergency kit so we don't have
to worry about that for dinner."
So they went down to
the beach to look at the water. The sea was clear and blue, and looked
inviting. Karel asked, "Want to go in for a swim?"
"Is that preparing? What about the dishes?"
"Part of exploring -- Gotta check out the water source."
They walked back up the beach to get their swimming suits. "No place to change." Bobbie pointed out.
"Well, we need to put up the tent, anyway. Give me a hand?"
Sure, let's do it."
opened up the canvas bag with the tent in it and they pulled out the
ground sheet, the canvas tent, and the tentpoles and stakes, and
starting setting it up.
"Should I trust you with that
big hammer?" Bobbie joked as she held the stakes while Karel pounded
them into the dirt. Fortunately, the ground under the grass was firmer
than beach sand.
"You want to swing it?"
"Just be careful."
they had the tent up, Bobbie changed into her swimsuit inside the tent
while Karel pulled out the dinghy and looked it over. "There's a canvas
tarp in with the dinghy." he reported, and started inflating the dinghy
with the hand pump.
"That'll be useful," Bobbie said as she came out in her swimsuit. "Your turn."
Karel changed, Bobbie took over inflating the dinghy. When he was
changed, they traded turns until the dinghy's frame was tight. Then they
threw the oars in and carried it to the water.
it on the sand, they waded into the water. The water was clear, and
Bobbie bent down and dipped her hand in and tasted it.
followed suit. "Tastes okay, other than the salt. Properly filtered and
boiled, it would probably be pretty good. Maybe the filter will work
for a few pints of water."
The beach sloped gently
down into the water and continued more or less the same below the water
line for quite a distance. They were only to their knees about thirty
So they went back, put the dinghy in the
water, pulling it to where the water was deep enough to float. Then they
rowed out about fifty yards, pushing and probing the bottom with the
oars as they went.
"Faster to push it," said Karel, and
he climbed out in water that was now to his waist and started to push
the dinghy ahead of him. Bobbie continued to paddle on one side.
a hundred yards out, where Karel up to his chest in the sea, they hit
the edge of the first shelf in the sea floor, and he slipped under the
"Whoablub blub blub!"
"You okay?" Bobbie called out to the ripples on the surface, readying to jump in after him.
got his feet back under himself on the shelf and stood up again, shaking the water off as his head broke the surface. "Sudden dropoff
here." And he dove underwater to see how deep the dropoff was.
"How is it?" Bobbie asked when his head broke the surface again.
bad. About ten, maybe fifteen feet deep beyond the shelf edge. There
are lots of fish and seaweed out here. Both look edible. And I'm not
seeing any jellyfish or other nasties."
So Bobbie sat
on the side of the dinghy facing in, and dropped backwards into the
water, and Karel hung onto it while she explored. Then she held the
dinghy while he explored some more. After about twenty minutes of exploring the
shelf and shallows, they climbed in and rowed a further out in the sea, to get a
good look at the island. From maybe three hundred yards out, they could
see where the beach curved away from them to the north and the south.
"The water's really nice." Bobbie said, almost to herself.
"Clean enough to wash the eating utensils in, I'd say."
"How big do you think the island is?"
the island is a simple oval, I'd say about two miles across, north to
south. Can't tell anything about east to west from here. What do you
"Looks like about three miles of beach to me. It'd be fun to live here."
"Lots of adventures, and a lot of hard work, too."
"We're daydreaming. We need to get some dishes cleaned up."
So they brought the dinghy back to the beach, washed the bottom in the surf, and carried it back to the grass.
dug the mess kit out of the emergency supplies. Karel looked at it and
said, "You know, we don't have a good place to dry these, yet, so lets
just wash the two plates and the food knife for now."
"Aren't you feeling domestic?" Bobbie asked in a mocking voice.
Karel laughed. "Two plates could even wait until just before we eat."
"Should we eat now?" Bobbie asked. "It's about six o'clock isn't it? I want to look into the woods a bit before it gets dark."
"Me, too. The plates can wait."
"Let's get something on our legs before we go wandering through any tall grass."
After changing back, they hung their swimsuits on tentlines and walked into the woods, sighting on the camp as they went.
Karel stopped at a tree with a roundish fruit about five to ten inches in diameter and examined the fruit. He asked Bobbie, "Do you think this might be breadfruit?"
Bobbie looked at the fruit in his hand and said, "Does the stem break easily? We could take one back and open it up."
picked one, and they kept going. When they lost sight of the camp,
Bobbie backed up until she could see the tent, and Karel went further in until he lost sight of her.
"Finding anything?" Bobbie called.
"Not yet. I don't think we've seen any signs of rats or other small animals at all."
"Me neither. Just birds and insects."
Shortly, he came back, and they walked parallel to the camp for a bit. Then Bobbie went deeper in.
"Here's something that looks like jackfruit. I'll bring one back."
"This one looks like boxfruit."
"Don't take one of those. Well check it later."
She came back, and they proceeded, parallel to the camp.
"Oh, look at this. It looks like hemp."
"Rope, paper, ...." Karel thought outloud.
"The seeds are supposed to be edible, too."
was beginning to get dark, so they returned to camp, laying out the
samples they had taken on Karel's trunk. Then they went down to the
water and washed their hands.
Coming back, Bobbie
opened up the food boxes, which they had set on her trunk in hopes of
avoiding attracting insects, and they got out the bread and sausage.
"Nuts," she said.
"I just realized we could have brought some seaweed back. We don't have any salad here."
"I'll go back in and get some."
"I'll go with you. Let's take those tin plates and the food knife."
they took turns in the tent, changing back into their swimsuits again. They went down to the water, waded in,
and washed the plates and knife in the ocean water. Then waded further in and collected
some seaweed that they recognized as edible, washed it, and carried it back to the camp.
Leaving the seaweed on the plates, they changed back into regular clothes again and turned their attention to dinner.
"I'm having fun."
"Me, too. Do you want to say the blessing?"
They bowed their heads, and Bobbie said, "Heavenly Father, we are
having fun. It's scary, but we are having fun. Thank you for letting us
do this, and it was nice of Wycliffe to take us here, in a strange sort
of way. We forgive him. We aren't sure the seaweed is safe, but please
bless us that, if it's poisonous, we can tell quickly enough that we can
stop before it makes us really sick. And please bless the bread and the
sausage and the cheese and the seaweed to our health and stre. And bless Wycliffe, too. We
pray in the name of Jesus, amen." And Karel echoed the amen.
eating, they put the food boxes and the box of emergency supplies in the tent,
setting the samples they had taken on the box of emergency supplies. Then
they spread the tarp from the dinghy on the ground by the tent and moved
the trunks and suitcases around it to form a barrier.
"I could just sleep under the stars, really," said Karel.
"Let's be safe this time. I think you need a roof, too." Bobbie replied, indicating the dinghy.
Karel didn't like this idea. "The corners of the trunks could tear holes in it."
they moved the trunks beside the tent and leaned the dinghy upside down
on the trunks, setting the suitcases up as barriers on the ends. Karel
was still not satisfied, but it kept the corners away from the fabric of
Then they retired for the night.
"I feel like a queen," Bobbie complained jokingly inside the tent.
"That's okay," replied Karel from under the dinghy.
"I could get used to it."
"No, you won't. I know you well enough now."
Silence. Then, "I mean, I could get used to you being nice to me."
"I wouldn't mind. Really."
Karel said, "You know, for two people who sometimes think they are polar opposites, we seem to get along together all right."
"Hah. There's nothing to argue about, here."
guess we have really good reasons not to argue right now. But we
haven't, really, disagreed all that much over the last four months."
"My mom keeps telling me that opposites are supposed to attract. She approves of you."
"How about your dad?"
"He keeps asking if you are blind or something."
Karel chuckled. "I think I like your dad, too."
"Do your parents talk about me?"
"They tell me they don't want to push me one way or the other, but I know they like you."
(This was about the point in the conversation where Wycliffe showed up in his panicked efforts to stop himself, and started listening in.)
roommates asked me why we didn't just get married before we came. She
said it would solve so many problems, and, since we had both gone to
meet each others' families, it was obviously going to happen anyway."
"My roommates have said similar things."
has invited you to go for a year of teaching and research. The reports
you've sent back have been making impressions there."
"And Berkeley has invited you. Your work gets a lot of approval, too, from what the Professor says."
"Can we resolve that?" Karel asked.
"Neither of us has actually made any promises."
"We could find a school that would take us both."
"Or try, and, if we don't, live poor on one salary, the first few years, like most Mormon newlyweds."
"We're serious about this, aren't we?" Karel asked quietly.
"We'll talk more about it in the morning. Excuse me, I'm going to pray and go to sleep. Goodnight."
And both of them did exactly that, repeating in their prayers their requests for help for themselves and for Wycliffe, and adding pleas for help understanding each other and for help understanding which direction their relationship should turn when they were back in civilization again.
Doesn't this sound romantic?
Are they talking about money?
carefully. Even though money is not a high priority with these two,
economics is a deep undercurrent in their actions and words.
And it's not a bad thing, really, since it clearly takes lower priority than the more important things.
But what do you think Zedidiah is up to? Let's find out: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2016/06/econ101-novel-ch130-no-contact.html.
The table of contents can be found here:
[JMR20160614: The initial (rough) draft of this chapter is here: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/03/economics-101-novel-ch12-tentative.html.]
Economics 101, a Novel (Rough Draft) -- My first sustained attempt at a novel, two-thirds finished in rough draft, and heading a little too far south.
What would you do if you and your study partner, with whom you had been seriously discussing marriage, suddenly found yourselves all alone together on a desert island? Study economics?Sociology 500, a Romance (Second Draft) -- The first book in the Economics 101 Trilogy.(On hold.)
Karel and Dan, former American football teammates and now graduate students, meet fellow graduate students Kristie and Bobbie, and the four form a steady study group.
TOC Well, let's meet Roberta Whitmer. Bobbie entered the anthropology department office and looked around. Near the receptionis...