"I'm here," said Will as he raced into the meeting.
"Good," said Cat who was facilitating. "Now has anyone seen Barbara?"
"I saw her wandering toward the produce stand for some reason as I was leaving," Edgar said.
Cat was just about to ask if someone could go find her, when Barbara barreled through the door. "Sorry I'm late," she said. "I had to check on something."
"Okay," Cat said. "Let's get started. We have a lot on the agenda."
It was Wednesday night and commune was meeting as they did nearly every Wednesday night.
"Luna," Cat continued, "you scheduled to give a financial report."
"Okay," Luna said. "Once again we made more than we lost. We did very well last month. I think we should raise our allowances."
"I'm in favor of that," Ken said.
"Yeah," said Viv. "I don't think you're going to have anyone disagreeing."
"How about reports from the different areas?" Cat asked.
"No problems at the produce stand," Sal said. "It's always busy but Dan, Cat, and I are keeping up."
"It's great having Will and Darren baking with me," Nancy said, "and Barbara is still our best salesperson at the bake stand. No problems with us."
"With help from Viv, Chuck, and Edgar, we have the fields pretty much ready for spring," Luna said. "Between the hoop houses, cold frames, and the EcoGreenHouse, we should have a steady supply of greens until they're growing in the fields."
"We're all set on housekeeping and maintenance," Marge said. "Ken and Grace make sure everything is clean and ready. My only concern is if we get many more people. We've only got a couple of rooms left in the three houses."
"Maybe we should build a new house," Chuck said. "We were always working on new buildings at Squat Mountain."
"That's not a bad idea," Dan said. "But right now, Sal and I are busy enough with the produce stand. We'd need other people to replace us there, and we'd need more people to form a building crew."
"Wait a minute," Grace said. "We're going need more people if we're going to make more housing but we'll need more housing for the people that are going to build it. I don't see how that's going to work."
"Maybe we should hold off on getting more people until the weather is warmer," said Luna. "Then some people could live in tents while they were building more houses."
"Okay, okay," Cat said. "Let's try to stay on track here. We've still got a lot of other things to cover in the meeting tonight..."
Thursday morning no one had time to think much about the previous night's meeting. It was busy all over and it was particularly busy in the produce stand.
It was mostly the usual suspects shopping there but there was a new customer as well, a well-dressed middle-aged woman who seemed to be checking out everything.
"Do you have any more of the White Russian Kale?" she asked.
Dan tried to answer but found himself caught in the cabbages.
"Sorry," Cat said. "Can I interest you in any of the Stegosaurus Kale?"
"No thanks. I guess I'll stick with the mizuna." She suddenly saw the baby bok choy in the back and headed over to see if she wanted any of that.
An older man, a dairy farmer down the road who was a frequent customer, was asking Sal if she knew when the onions and leeks might be coming in.
"I think it's going to be another month," Sal said. "We're planning on planting a test batch in the EcoGreenHouse soon to see how they work in there. We're also planning on growing a lot more this year so we have plenty through next winter."
"That's what you said about the rutabagas."
"I know," Sal said. "Let's just say that we're planning to do that with everything."
The farmer looked like he was going to say something more but he was interrupted by a loud crash. The well-dressed woman had stamped her foot over by the baby bok choy and it sounded like it went through the flooring of the farm stand. She went flying.
"Oww!" she cried. "My ankle! I think it's broken."
Cat and Sal ran over to her. Dan shook arugula off himself and joined them. Most of the customers flocked around.
The woman just lay on the floor, seemingly stunned. There was a jagged hole in the floorboards behind her.
"Are you okay?" Cat asked.
"No. I'm not. What kind of place is this? I walk around and the floor gives way."
"You stomped hard there," a woman who was one of the regulars said. "I saw you."
"So what?" the injured woman replied. "I should be able to walk as hard as I want without the floor collapsing. What kind of shoddy construction is this place?"
Sal looked at Dan. "It shouldn't have given way no matter how hard she put her foot down," Dan said.
The woman tried to stand. Cat and one of the other customers helped her up. She threw her bags of greens at Sal and began limping for the door.
"You're not going to get away with this," she said. "I'm going to sue. Just you wait. You'll hear from my lawyer."
And with that she made her way to her car and drove off.