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

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Chapter Fifty-Four: Dick

It was almost a month after the commune anniversary that Dick strolled up to the front door of the front house.  Dick was an energetic middle aged guy with a background in both farming and construction.

“If you need a good worker, I’m your man,” he said.  “I’ll do whatever I need to do.”

“We’ve got a lot of folks working in the fields right now,” Luna said.  “Would you be willing to work with the construction crew?”

“Whatever,” Dick said.  “Look.  I don’t think you know how important places like this are right now.  We don’t have much time given the current crisis.”

“What are you talking about?” asked Sal.

“Peak oil.  Climate destruction. Economic chaos.  It’s all coming apart really.”  Dick smiled at them all.  “We just gotta do what we gotta do.”

“Let me introduce you to Sowbug and Dandelion,” Dan said.

“Whatever,” Dick said.

It turned out that Dick was a strong and very capable worker.  Within a week of working with Dandelion and Sowbug, they had doubled their production.  Having talked with most of the folks in the commune, Sowbug and Dandelion were making preparations to start on the new building.  They were gathering materials and, suddenly, they had everything because Dick was making sure that they had everything.  Every time they turned around, Dick was hauling in something they needed.”

“You guys should work harder at finding stuff,” Dick said.  “It’s not so difficult getting things if you really put some effort into it.”

“Excuse me,” Dandelion said.  “We’ve been doing other stuff.  Anyway, we were getting stuff fine before you came along.”

“Whatever,” Dick said.  “It’s just that you didn’t seem like you folks were really working it.  We gotta get this thing going and get this building up.”

“Wait a minute,” Sowbug said.  “When did you get put in charge of our schedule?”

“Look, folks,” Dick said.  “Winter is coming.  You really want everyone out in the cold freezing?  How crazy are you?”

Dandelion and Sowbug looked at each other and left.

They were talking with Dan the next morning.

“He’s an amazing worker,” said Sowbug, “but he’s really hard on himself and he’s hard on everyone around him, too.”

“Honestly,” Dandelion said,  “I’m not sure I can work with him.  And I’m not sure anyone else can either.”

“Let me talk with him,” Dan said.


Dick was working on organizing for the new building when Dan found him.

“How’s it going?” Dan said.

“What do you want?” Dick asked.  “Did Sowbug and Dandelion complain about me?”

“They said they’re having difficulties working with you, yes,” said Dan.

“They were also having difficulties getting stuff before I came along,” Dick said.  “They don’t seem to appreciate what I’m doing for them.”

Dan looked at Dick.  Dick looked right back.

“They think that you’re a hard worker,” Dan said finally.  “It’s just that they don’t like the way you treat other folks.”

“I don’t think they work hard enough.  The only reason that they’re upset is because I pointed that out to them.”

“Wait a minute,” Dan said. “This is a commune.  People need to work well together here.  We need to rely on each other.”

“Well, I’m not sure I can rely on them,” Dick said.  “I’m not sure I can rely on any of you, in fact.”

Dan talked with Luna later.  “He works really hard.  It’s not a situation like living with Stan.  It’s just that he’s also hard to work with.  He critiques and criticizes everyone.  But can we toss someone out for speaking their mind?”

“He’s been here less than two weeks,” Luna said.  “Let’s give it another week and maybe we’ll bring it up in the commune meeting.  Maybe he’ll do better if he hears it from a bunch of other people.”

“Well, I’m sure he’ll hear it from a bunch of different folks, because I’m already hearing it from a whole bunch of folks.  Even Broc is having trouble working with him.  I guess I can wait until the next meeting, but believe me, something has got to change.”

However, the problems with Dick didn’t come up in the commune meeting that happened the next week. Something occurred later that week that changed things at the commune considerably.  It wasn’t that Dick changed or that anyone else changed, for that matter.  What happened was that Don arrived.

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