It was a dark and stormy night. The wind rattled against the windows. There was a knock upon the door. Ken answered it.
There, in the door, stood Hillary and Alec Reagon.
“May we come in?” Ms Reagon asked.
Ken wasn’t sure what to say. He looked behind him and saw Luna who nodded to him. He slowly moved aside.
“Thank you,” Ms Reagon said. She walked through the doorway and her son lumbered in behind her.
It was just past dinner and all the commune members were around, cleaning up. Except that now they had all stopped in their tracks and most were still holding dishes while staring at the Reagons.
“We heard the ambulance come here a few days ago and wanted to make sure that everyone was all right,” Ms Reagon said. “We were concerned.”
“Paul G slipped and broke his ankle,” Luna said. “He’s doing better today.”
Paul G, standing with the help of a pair of crutches, waved at the Reagons.
“Well, that seems most fortunate,” Ms Reagon said. “I’m glad it wasn’t more serious. You seem to have had a number of unfortunate accidents here recently.”
“Quite true,” Dan said.
“We know that we have not been over here before this and we apologize. We wouldn’t want anyone to think we were unfriendly. We had also wondered why no one had come over to welcome us to the neighborhood, but we are aware that you lead very busy lives. I do hope that we can see more of each other in the future.”
Luna was struggling for an appropriate reply when Nancy came to her rescue. “We are truly sorry that we have not been more sociable since you arrived. As you said, we have been quite busy here. It was so good of you to come and check to see how we are doing.” She smiled sweetly at them.
“What are neighbors for?” said Ms Reagon. She looked at her son. “Come, Alec, I think we are done here.”
Ken opened the door and the two Reagons somberly departed. No one spoke until they were down the drive and crossing the street.
“Wow, that was surreal,” Darren said.
“It really was surreal,” Luna said. “What do you suppose it was all about?”
It was the day after the Reagons’ visit and Luna and Dan were telling Peter and Fred and George all about it.
“Intimidation is what I’d say it was about,” said George.
“I agree,” said Fred. “They don’t have Cecil Nixon to go after you now so they figure they could make you nervous by showing up themselves.”
“Well, they certainly made me nervous,” said Luna.
“I think that they’re desperate,” George said. “They came because they couldn’t think of anything else to do.”
“Do you really think so?” Dan asked.
“Sure,” Fred said. “But don’t get complacent. I’m sure that they’re trying to think up something new and nasty. Meanwhile, it seems like this is the best that they could do.”
“Yeah,” said George. “I think they’re buying time.”
Just then Strange Brew came in. “I’ve got Beechpest on the line. She’s calling from Old Corn. She wants to know if there would be a good time next week for her to come here for an official site visit.”
“Sure,” Luna said. “Tell her that she can come anytime. We’re looking forward to her visit.”
“I’ll let her know that,” Strange Brew said.
After Strange Brew left the room, Peter asked, “What was that all about?”
“We’re trying to join the Confederacy of Equal Opportunity Communes,” Dan said. “They need to do a site visit so they know that we really exist.”
“What’s involved in being an Equal Opportunity Commune? Do you need to have any legal work done around it?”
“Not that I know of,” Dan replied. “Although some of them do have this cool tax status. It’s called a 502zzz status.”
“What’s a 502zzz?” asked George. “I never heard of it.”
“It’s a special tax status for hippie communes,” Luna said. “I think that it’s only applicable to them and religious cults.”
“I’ll have to look into that,” said Peter. “Meanwhile, I wouldn’t worry too much about Hillary Reagon’s visit. I think Fred and George are right. I think this was a desperation move on their part.”
“I can’t believe that they asked why we never visited them,” Luna said. “I looked at Alec’s rifle when they moved in and decided I never wanted to go near the place. Now Hillary claims that she wants us to visit.”
“I’ve only got one thing to say about that,” said Peter. “Don’t.”