With apologies to the Beatles, the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, and the state of Vermont.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Big Problems

Unsurprisingly, the woman's lawyer turned out to be Cecil Nixon.  He came by a couple of days later with the news that the woman had a broken ankle and said they would be taking the commune to court.  He also served the farm with a restraining order, forbidding any of them from going near the woman--as if the members of the commune might want to chase after her.

Dan and Sal inspected the floorboard several days after the fact and came to the conclusion that it had been hacked at from underneath the building, weakening it enough that a good stomp would easily break it.

"Who could have done it?" Nancy asked.

"Actually anyone," said Dan.  "I suspect that it was done while we were in the commune meeting.  I think someone simply crawled under the building and did the work.  We don't have fences around the produce stand and it's dark out there at night--and we were all occupied.  Unless the person was really loud we would never have heard them."

"I wonder how anyone knew we were in meeting," Luna said.  "They'd be taking a chance that someone might come out and spot them otherwise."

"We found some tracks in the snow which were probably from the intruder," Sal said.  "But we get enough traffic around that farm stand so that it's hard to tell."

"Well, Peter and his friends will be here soon," Luna said.  "Hopefully they'll have some idea what to do."

Peter, Fred, and George showed up that afternoon and were less than thrilled with the news.

"I told you she plays nasty," Fred said.

"I wouldn't worry to much about it," Peter said.  "I have some friends on the local police force that can take pictures and verify that the board was deliberately weakened.  I think that I can make a good case that you were the victims of deliberate sabotage."

"I hope so," said Viv.  "I'm just afraid that this is the beginning of something."

"I'm afraid of that too," Peter said.  "But we can only do what we can do.  One thing that I'm definitely going to do is find out more about this injured woman.  I want to know who she is and where she was treated.  I think we're going to find out that there's a lot more about this than a simple injury."

"Thank you," said Luna.  "I'm glad that the three of you are on our side.  That woman and her slimy lawyer give me the creeps."

"Me too," said Fred.  "And I'm a lawyer."


Several days later, things at the two stands were at a fever pitch.  Folks involved with the 'Save Our Maples (from Monsterinsano)' campaign had heard of the trouble at the commune and were concerned that Ms Reagon was trying to drive the commune out of business so she could create her maple syrup farm.  They put the word out to patronize their businesses.

"Look at this," Cat said and held up a flyer. "It says 'Support the Commune!  Buy from their farm stands!'"

"No kidding," Sal said as she sold some spinach. "That explains why yesterday was our top selling day ever.  We're almost out of produce.  Luna says that the EcoGreenHouse can't keep up with this."

For once, Dan wasn't covered with greens--there weren't enough greens to cover him.

"I'm afraid we may have to close early today," he said.

The situation was similar at the bake stand.  Barbara and Darren were trying to handle all the customers while Nancy and Will were in the kitchen baking up more goodies.

"We're running out of flour," Nancy said as she handed Will a tray of fruit breads to bring to the stand along with his latest batch of cupcakes.

"I'll run to the store after I deliver these and buy some more," Darren said.

"Buy a lot," said Nancy, "And buy extra sugar, honey, maple syrup, eggs, butter, and milk.  And flax and cocoa butter for the vegan stuff."

"Got it," Darren said as he made his way out the door, his arms laden with pastries.

"And rice flour for the gluten free stuff!" Nancy called out after him.

She finished work on several pies and started creating several sheets of cookies.

Fifteen minutes later Darren was back.

"That was fast," Nancy said, before she got a look at him.

His arms were empty and his face looked frantic.

"What's wrong?" Nancy asked.

"I needed money to buy all that stuff,"  Darren said.  "But I couldn't find the cashbox. Anywhere."

"Did you talk to Luna?"

"Luna and Marge and Ken and everyone are now searching the houses for it," Darren said.

"Weren't they going to take it to the bank today?"

"Oh, yeah," said Darren.  "It had been filled with cash from the last couple of days sales.  Luna thinks there were several thousand dollars in it.  And..."  He stopped.

"And?" Nancy prompted.

"And it's all gone."

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