The Novels

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.

Featured Post

Sociology 500, a Romance, ch 1 pt 1 -- Introducing Bobbie

TOC Well, let's meet Roberta Whitmer. Bobbie entered the anthropology department office and looked around. Near the receptionis...

Friday, June 17, 2016

Economics 101, a Novel, ch 180 -- Preparing for the Long Haul

[JMR20160909: This was a blind alley. I am currently working in the initial (rough) draft of this chapter, here:]

 (The story starts here:

Karel and Bobbie's first Sabbath was not as much of a rest as they might have hoped:

Maybe I can save this chapter by giving it a good introduction:

Monday, Monday, can't help that day.
("Monday Monday", John Phillips/The Mamas and the Papas)
Or was it,
My life is full of patterns
That can scarcely be controlled.
("Patterns", Paul Simon/Simon and Garfunkel)
Maybe it's neither. Both of those songs date from a bit after the time frame of this story.

Maybe Bobbie and Karel discover that their friendship can recover on a Monday from a bit of pride indulged on a day of rest.

But remember to watch the economic interactions. This is one where the economic interactions might be a little easier to see, even without money being exchanged.

Just before sunrise, Karel woke up and said a prayer and picked up his bedroll and hung it on the log wall to dry. Then he went to one side of the hill to dig the second latrine, since they hadn't had time to dig it on Saturday, in a place that would be shielded from view of the other latrine. Then he took care of his morning business there.

When he returned to camp, Bobbie was nowhere to be seen, so he changed into his swimsuit and went down to the beach to exercise and swim. Bobbie was already there doing her exercises.

After doing a set of push-ups, Karel said, "I think things were going too fast for us."

Bobbie answered, "Definitely. I've decided Wycliffe was just an evil vision from the devil."

"Maybe. But he didn't say we had to get together. In fact, he said something could be done so we could get together -- if we decided to get together, and that it was our decision."

"But, if what he said were true, we'll be stuck here hating each other for the rest of our lives."

"At most, fifteen years. And we don't have to hate each other, even if, ... even though, ... oh, well, anyway, we need to cooperate to survive, and we don't have to get married to cooperate."

"We can't get married."

"But we have to cooperate."

Bobbie had nothing more to say to that, and just continued her exercises.

So Karel did some light exercises away from where Bobbie was exercising, and went in for a swim. After twenty minutes or so, he came back to the beach and went on up to the camp. Digging into his trunk, he found an illustrated encyclopedia that described the animal and plant life in the islands and looked up a fish he had seen in the water. Leaving it open on his trunk, he went back to the beach, passing Bobbie on her way back to camp.

"I think I've found a school of the local sardines, and I'm going to try taking some with my hands," he said. "Do you want to help?

"What would I do?"

"Do you know how to tickle fish, or take them by hand?"

"Why by hand?"

"I don't know. I guess, because we don't have a net and I don't have much experience with hook and fishing line."

Bobbie didn't answer, and just went back to camp, so Karel went down to the ocean and tried to catch sardines by hand. After trying for about an hour, he finally succeeded in catching one in each hand. He killed each as he took it, so it wouldn't suffer out of the water, and took them both back to camp.

When he got back to camp, Bobbie had cleared a spot away from the tent and away from scrub or trees, and had set up a fire and put a pot of water on it. Karel set the sardines on a plate, found a shallow pan, and took it to the ocean to wash.

When he returned with the clean pan, Bobbie had cleaned the sardines, laying the flesh open and stripping out the heavier bones.

"No cooking oil, so we'll boil or steam them. And, by the way, I do know how to use hook and line. I'll show you, if you show me how you took those by hand."

"I'd only read about it, so it's not like I knew what I was doing."

"Well, show me what you tried. We can probably figure out together how it worked. Using line and hook can take this much time, too, some days, especially without bait."

"I'll change and go look for some breadfruit and jackfruit."

"That would be nice."

When Karel came back with one of each, he said, "I already washed them in the ocean. My book says that one ripe breadfruit will feed a family of five for a day."

"The fish are about ready. Are you going to bake the breadfruit again?"

"The book says it can also be boiled or fried."

"Slice it and simmer it with the fish?"

"Let's try that."

Bobbie took the sardines off the flames to wait. "Can you cut it in thin slices so it cooks quickly? And what about the seeds?"

"I don't remember what the book said about the seeds. Let's set them aside for now." And he proceeded to clean the seeds out and slice half the breadfruit as thinly as he could.

The sardines ended up a little over-cooked and the breadfruit could have cooked longer, but they put out the fire and had a good late breakfast.

"What is the difference between being married and cooperating?" Bobbie asked as they were cleaning up in the ocean water after lunch.

"Good question." After a pause, he said, "There's kissing and that kind of silly stuff, I guess."

"I don't remember seeing my parents do that until I was an adult."

"You have two younger brothers, so, uhm, no, I don't think I should say that."

"When I was a teenager, my mother told me that relationships were all about power. Power was the fundamental principle, and I needed to learn how to use power or I would be unhappy all my life."

"You've told me that before."

"When I went home after my mission, while waiting for my application to graduate school to be accepted, she admitted that she had been wrong, that the only real power is self-control, and that real love has nothing to do with controlling other people."

"And that was good of her."

"When did you learn about this?"

"When I was eleven, when the bishop interviewed me about becoming a deacon at twelve, he told me that power was not for personal satisfaction. Some of our teachers at church didn't seem to understand that, but most of the teachers in my priesthood classes have emphasized that God's Priesthood is only for serving God and our fellow beings, like it says in Mosiah 2: 17 and other places."

"Did all of your friends understand that?"

"No. In fact, some of the guys who got married right after their missions, well, didn't really seem to start figuring that out until after they had been married a while. Not that I understand it all that well, myself."

"Part of the reason I've never married may be because I believed my Mom about power when I was a teenager. Now I've gotten so use to fighting for what I want, I don't know how to give in. Do you think God let Wycliffe do this to teach me how to let loose a little or something?"

"Maybe, maybe not. Maybe a little bit. But I think that there are other reasons we're here, too."

"What kind of other things?"

"Stuff we haven't really imagined, yet?"

"Oh, like in 1st Corinthians, 2nd chapter." Bobbie thought for a moment. "Okay, we can cooperate on some things today. What do you think we should we do next so we don't die here?"

"Well, it looks like we'll be okay for food and water now. I want to build an actual hut sometime, with two rooms, so we don't feel awkward at night. And if we have a real storm, that tent is going to get blown away in the wind. If we can build a floor in the hut, it won't be so cold."

"I want to live near a stream so we don't have to carry water so far. But I want to live near the ocean so it's not so far to go to wash the dishes."

"I like that idea. I think I want to build a water filtration and storage system, too."

"Filters, maybe, but how do we solve the tank problem?"

"Good question."

"I want to find vegetables for salads."

"We need to learn which plants and fishes we can eat. The encyclopedia I got out today should help. And I want to learn how to use the hemp plant for making rope and cloth. We'll need rope to build a hut and we'll need cloth eventually."

"We're making a list. Should we write it down?"

"You know I hate lists. They always seem to take over my life."

"And you're the one who told me we should deliberately turn the priorities upside down regularly. And decide to ignore the list at least one day a week besides Sundays."

"Okay, a list will help us if we don't let it rule us. I'll get a pencil and some paper."

Here's what they wrote on their list in Karel's journal:
  1. find more salad greens
  2. check out places to set up camp near a stream
  3. learn how to make rope 
  4. learn, and teach each other, how to fish
  5. build a hut, eventually with two rooms
  6. make a water filter
  7. build something to store water
  8. (ongoing) explore inland
  9. (ongoing) locate and categorize useful plants
  10. (ongoing) locate and categorize seafood
Bobbie looked at the list and said, "Well, that'll give us things to do when we can't think of other things to do."

Karel looked at where his encyclopedia of island biology lay open on his trunk, and added the eleventh item:
  1. (ongoing) read our reference books
"Good idea. Especially for hot afternoons." Then she added a twelfth item:
  1. (ongoing) learn lots of things from each other
"Heh. Now that should be near our top priority all the time."

"Proof that list priorities are never absolute, like you like to say."

"And you're not even being sarcastic. I'm impressed."

"We're learning from each other," Bobbie said pointedly, and they exchanged grins.

Karel let out a long sigh as if he had been holding his breath. "So we'll be okay. We'll be able to survive, and I don't think we'll spend the whole time hating each other, however long it takes before someone finds us."

"Do you think we should ask God where we should start, today?"

"Which looks most important to you?"

"Finding more salad greens. I think there is some cress near the northeast stream, and that would be useful a couple of times a week."

"I'm thinking about learning how to make rope. But I also want to use the morning in something more active, so I'm good with taking a closer look at the nearest stream. Do you want to be voice for the prayer?"

Bobbie nodded and offered the prayer, thanking God that they could cooperate with each other, and that they could make a list of things to be done and a plan for the morning, saying that they planned to look for vegetables, and asking for confirmation, guidance, and help.

After the prayer, they felt good about the plan, so they emptied their backpacks to make room for specimens to bring back, filled their canteens, and decided to head for the northeast stream through the woods instead of going down to the beach.

They came to the northeast stream after a short hike of maybe ten minutes through the woods, and followed it to its source, another spring in a steep section of the hill. On a whim, Karel hiked above the spring while Bobbie examined plants growing around the stream. After he had been gone less than ten minutes, he was back.

"You've got to come with me and see this."


"I don't want to spoil the surprise by telling you."

"Okay, let me put these away." Putting the leaves she was examining in her pack, she closed it and followed Karel uphill.

After about five minutes of climbing, the trees seemed to be thinning ahead. Karel grinned without saying anything, and they kept going. Without much warning, they found themselves on the edge of a small lake of clear water, something more than a hundred yards wide.

"Wow. This is beautiful!" exclaimed Bobbie. "It looks clean enough to drink from."

"I haven't walked around it, yet."

"Let's go." They turned north, and explored the edges of the lake, taking more samples as they went. Among the samples they took were a couple they thought they recognized as varieties of mint by their fragrance and shape, and some that looked like wild asparagus, and cauliflower. They found the source spring on the south side of the lake. Deciding to be a little daring, they filled their canteen caps from the stream stream and tasted the water.

"We don't need to boil this."

"Let's not get excited. We'll see how we feel in a few hours."

"I've drunk dirtier water on camping trips."

"So have I, but we were much closer to a hospital, and we knew others had drunk from it, too."

Bobbie looked disappointed, and then she pouted, refilled her cap and drank again defiantly. Then she laughed at herself and said, "I'm being silly."

Karel laughed, too, and said, "We can be a little silly. Unless there's something really bad in the water, this won't be enough to make us really sick. More like inoculation level."

Continuing their explorations above the source stream, they found a ridge that extended towards the other peak.

"How high do you think we are?" asked Bobbie.

Karel looked at the peak to the south and thought for a moment. "Probably not quite half as high as that peak. Maybe 250 feet. Do you want to try hiking higher?"

"Let's take what we've found home and get some lunch and do the south peak another day."

Back at camp, Karel got out the food box while Bobbie spread their samples out on the trunks.

"Should we finish off the sausage?" he asked.

"Uh, yeah. Don't want it to spoil before we eat it. But then we really will have to learn how to fish today."

After lunch, they spent a quarter hour or so reading in their scriptures, sharing a few of their favorite verses and avoiding talking about interpretations and other things that might lead to more arguments.

Then Bobbie got a book on island cuisine from her trunk, and they picked up Karel's encyclopedia, too, and examined their samples, tentatively identifying most of them, and tasting the ones they thought should be safe.

They decided that they did have asparagus and cauliflower. They thought one of the mints might be beefsteak plant (shiso, in Japanese) and the other wild mint, and they decided they had some wild cress, as well.

Seeing an entry on jute, Bobbie suggested that there might be a patch of it to the north of their camp, on the way to the stream, so they spent the remainder of the afternoon reading about making rope from both jute and hemp.

About four in the evening, they changed into their swimsuits and took the hook and fishing line, and food scraps for bait, and waded into the ocean to try catching dinner. Bobbie showed Karel how she fished, and, after about a half an hour, he succeeded in landing an island mackerel which they took back to camp and simmered with breadfruit and asparagus. Jackfruit and seaweed rounded their dinner out.

While they ate, they talked about fishing, and Bobbie made a suggestion.

"I think we should do the buddy system in the water."

Karel had to think for a moment. He nodded. "It makes sense. But do we need to always stay out of the water unless we are together?"

"We haven't seen sharks or stinging jellyfish, but that doesn't mean we won't."

"So we really shouldn't go in the water alone." He looked like there was something he more he wanted to say but didn't.


"Let me think about it before I try to talk about it. I don't want to argue."

After dinner, they went back to where they had found hemp before and gathered more for experiments in rope-making, and they tried various ways to extract the fibers in the evening, without success.

When it got dark, they prayed, both together and individually, then retired separately to their bedrolls under the stars.

Some Mondays are good. Some patterns are good, also.

We need to talk (qualitatively, not quantitatively) about mathematics. But please read the next chapter with an open mind: The narrative does continue in the chapter after, but please don't skip the math. It may sound bizarre, but it's short, and it's important.

The table of contents can be found here:

[The initial (rough) draft of this chapter is here:]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it on topic, and be patient with the moderator. I have other things to do, too, you know.