“It’s cool that you’ve got an equal-opportunity commune up here,” Strange Brew said to Luna as they were working out in the field.
“Yeah, well, I was inspired by Old Corn and Three Sycamores,” Luna said.
“I’m just being curious, but why aren’t you part of the Confederacy of Equal Opportunity Communes?” Strange Brew asked.
“Wait,” Luna said. “I thought we were.”
“That’s the first I’ve heard of it,” said Strange Brew. “When did you join?”
“Don’t you automatically become part of the CEOC when you set up an equal-opportunity, income-sharing commune?”
“No, of course not,” Strange Brew said. “You have to apply to join.”
Luna stopped what she was doing and stared at Strange Brew. “Oh no. I never heard that. Why didn’t someone tell me?”
Strange Brew stopped working and said, “Who did you ask?”
“I didn’t know you had to ask anyone.”
“Well, how did you think you got to join the CEOC?”
“I thought that you just became part of the CEOC by setting up a commune.”
“Well, you don’t. You need to actually follow a process of applying for membership.”
“Okay. So how do we do that?”
“We’ll do it a step at a time,” Strange Brew said. “When we get back to the house, I will walk you through the process.”
“Thanks,” Luna said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. I guess I thought it would be a lot easier than it is.” She picked up her hoe and went back to work. After a few minutes, Strange Brew started working again, too.
A couple of hours later, Strange Brew sat down with Luna and Dan and Sal and Nancy.
“Oh, man,” Sal said. “I didn’t even think to tell you about joining the CEOC.”
“Me, neither,” said Nancy. “And I should have, but we were so busy doing everything else. You never said explicitly that you wanted to be part of the CEOC.”
“That’s because I thought we were part of the CEOC,” Luna said.
“Okay, okay,” Strange Brew said, “The first step is we actually fill out an application. Do you have computers here?”
“Of course,” Dan said. “What century do you think we’re in?”
“just asking,” said Strange Brew. “Let’s print out an application and fill it in.”
“Wait,” said Sal. “I think we need to talk about this in a commune meeting first.”
“That’s right,” said Nancy. “Everyone needs to agree that they actually want the commune to be part of the CEOC.”
“This is going to be a lot harder than I thought,” said Luna.
Wednesday night again. Commune meeting again. This time Viv was facilitating.
“What!” said Will. “We’re not an equal-opportunity commune? I thought you told me that we were?”
“Well, we are. Sort of,” Luna said. “It’s just that we’re not officially members of the Confederacy of Equal-Opportunity Communes.”
“And now we have an opportunity to join,” Nancy pointed out.
“Why didn’t we do this before?” Patsy wanted to know.
“Luna and Dan didn’t realize we had to apply to be members and Nancy and I didn’t think about it because we’ve been so busy here,” Sal said.
Three people started to speak at once.
“So what do we do…” said Darren at the same time that Paul G said, “Do you mean that…” and Broc said, “I think we should all…”
“Hold it!” Sal screamed. “Viv is facilitating.”
Viv looked confused. “Umm,” she said. She looked around and focused on Nancy who had been helpful to her in the past.
“Okay,” Nancy said. “Do you know how to do stack?”
“Is that a dance?” Viv asked.
“Do you mind if I take over for a few minutes?” Nancy asked.
“Oh, would you?”
“Sure,” Nancy said. “Okay, Darren is first, and then Paul G, and then Broc. Is there anyone I missed?”
“I’d like to go after Broc,” said Grace.
“Okay,” Nancy said. “You’re after Broc. Darren?”
“Yeah,” said Darren. “So what do we do to become part of the CEOC?”
After Darren, Paul G, Broc, Grace, Blue Sky, Cat, Marge, and Will all got a chance to speak, and Viv took back the facilitating, Luna, Dan, Sal, and Strange Brew went over the CEOC application with everyone and slowly got agreement on most of the answers.
“Do we have any religion?” Chuck said. “What do they mean do we have any religion? We’re all children of the Earth Mother, aren’t we?”
“Let’s say that it’s up to each person,” Sal said.
“I can live with that,” Chuck said.
“Yeah,” Marge said. “Me, too.”
“Okay,” Strange Brew said. “Two more questions. What does this commune give its members and what do members have to get for themselves?”
“This commune hasn’t given me nothing,” Broc said.
“Other than food, a job, a place to stay…” Sal started in.
“Hang on,” Luna said. “How about saying that we provide basic food and work for each person and a little spending money and people can get other things that they want with that money?”
“Okay,” said Strange Brew. “Now, the very last question. How does the commune deal with people who break rules or threaten violence?”
“Nobody better threaten violence,” Broc said.
“If you don’t shut up...” Sal said.
Suddenly the two of them were standing glaring at each other.
“Wow,” Will said. “It looks like we’ll have a chance to find out.”
“I think we should say that this is something to be decided in future meetings,” Dan said.
Strange Brew looked at Sal and Broc who were still standing, staring at each other, but decided not to say anything. “Okay. All finished. Now we just need to send this questionnaire in.”
“And is that it?” Cat asked. “Are we now members?”
“Unfortunately, no,” Strange Brew clarified. “The next step is that the commune needs to send someone to the next CEOC Convocation.”
“When is the next Convocation?” Marge asked.
“Fortunately it’s in a few weeks, which is really lucky because the Convocations are only held once a year.”
“So who are we sending?” Ken asked.
“Send Sal,” Broc said. “I think she could use some time away.”