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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Chapter Seventy-Four: Edgar to the Rescue

Alec Reagon looked grimly at the group.  “What’s wrong with you?  You’re supposed to look scared.”

His mother nudged him.  “Look behind you.”

Alec turned around.  Behind him was Edgar and a small SWAT team with their weapons all trained on Alec.

“Oh, fudge,” Alec said.

“I’d drop that rifle if I was you,” Edgar said.

Alec dropped his weapon.

“How did you find us?” Hillary Reagon asked.

“We’ve been tracking you for months,” Edgar said.  “I figured you would try to go to the last place you thought we would think of.  So I thought that this farm was the place you thought would be the last place we’d think of.”

“I think I understood that,” Luna said.  “I think.”

“If you’d kindly follow these marshals,” said Edgar, “there is a van waiting to take you to a federal holding area.”

Alec sighed and shrugged.  His mother looked at the SWAT team and the marshals and shrugged as well.  The two of them slowly trudged along behind the marshals and in front of the SWAT team.

“Wow,” Strange Brew said.  “That was so amazing.”

“Were you really able to psych them out that way?”  Grace asked.

“Really? No,” Edgar said.  “Actually Marge called us and let us know there was something up in your woods.  But I didn’t want them to know that.”

“It doesn’t matter,” said Cat.  “I’m just really, really glad that you showed up.”

“So relieved,” said Blue Sky.


The group reconvened in Groovy House.  

“So is this it?” Darren asked.  “Is this the last we see of the Reagons?”

“I certainly hope so,” Edgar said.  “While it’s up to the courts to decide, I hope and expect to have them behind bars for a long time.”

“I can’t imagine any jury finding them innocent, given how much they’ve done,” said Nancy.

“I can’t either,” Edgar said.  “While I suppose you never know, the evidence in this case is overwhelming.  And your friend, Don York, seems more than anxious to testify against them.  I’d be real surprised if they’re not in the pen for a good, good many years.”

“So now what?” Sal asked.  “Will we see you again?”

“Oh, probably,” Edgar said.  “I’ve gotten to like this place, even if you’re all a bunch of dirty, pinko hippies.”

“Speak for yourself, big boy,” Chuck said.  “I think of this as fuchsia.”  He ruffled his brightly pastel gown.

“Well, I guess it’s goodbye for now,” Edgar said.  “Hopefully the next time I come here it will be for purely social reasons.”

“I’ll walk you to the door,” Luna said.  “There’s some things I want to check out with you before you leave.”

When Edgar and Luna left the room, Dan grabbed Sal and Nancy and Cat and Viv and Darren and Marge.

“We’ve got to talk,” he said.

The seven of them went to the back house and began to plot.

“We need to make sure Luna doesn’t find out about any of this,” Sal said.

“Absolutely,” said Nancy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Chapter Seventy-Three: What Was Out in the Woods

“Really,” Strange Brew said.

“Really,” Ken said.

“Okay, okay,” Luna said.  “We’ll check it out.”

“I’ll come along,” Dan said.

“Yeah,” Sal said.  “Me, too.  I want to see what’s gotten everybody spooked.”

The five of them headed out the door and slowly trudged through the snow toward the wooded section of the commune..

“You’ll see,” said Ken.

“Maybe,” Sal said. “I’ll have to see.”

“Well, what I see,” Luna said, “is some type of shelter in there.”

“Where?” Dan asked.

“Look over to the left, just beyond where all the tents used to be.  If you look carefully, there’s something rising by the tree.”

“It’s camouflaged!” Sal said, surprised.

When the five of them got there they found a lean-to covered with snow with a makeshift cabin built around an insulated tent.  It looked cozy and comfortable and very well hidden.  And there was nobody there.

“See,” Ken said.  “Harry was trying to let us know that someone was living here.”

“See,” Strange Brew said.  “I told you there was something out here.”

“Yeah,” Luna said.  “Well, now we’ll have to tell the others.”


That afternoon everyone assembled out in the wood.  Or almost everyone.  Marge and Zelda stayed back to tend to the houses and prepare dinner.

“Who could have put this there?” Cat asked.

“Hobos?”  wondered Will, who was now walking on crutches.  He was barely balanced on them in the snow.

Blue Sky turned to Grace.  “Didn’t I say there was something out here?”

Grace looked at Blue Sky and then looked at Strange Brew, who was on the other side of her.  “Okay, okay, okay,” she said.   “I was wrong.  There was something out here.  So sue me.”

“Wait,” Luna said.  “Let’s not get into an argument now.  This is important.  This doesn’t look like something a hobo or homeless person would have.  Those insulated tents are quite expensive.”

“I agree,” said Sal.  “Someone was hiding out here.”  

“I’ll bet they were up to no good,” said Darren.

“A fugitive from the law?”  suggested Sowbug.

“Probably,” said Viv.  “But I think the bigger question is where they are now.”

“Miles away, I hope,” said Lois.  “It looks abandoned to me.”

Earthworm and Dandelion and Mo were examining the construction of the lean-to and cabin.

“It’s odd,” Dandelion said.  “This was made with really good materials, but whoever made it didn’t have much construction skills.”

“Wait a minute,” Chuck said.  “Expensive tent, really good materials, no handy skills, and possible fugitives from the law.  I have a very scary idea about this.”

“Yes,” Nancy said.  “It sounds only too familiar.  I think several of us are probably thinking the very same thing.”

“Maybe you were thinking of us,” a male voice said from behind the group.

Everyone slowly turned.  Standing behind the group was Alec Reagon and his mother, Hillary.  And Alec was pointing his semi-automatic sniper rifle directly at Luna.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Chapter Seventy-Two: Harry’s Daring Escape

“He’s gone,” Ken wailed.

“Who’s gone?”  Grace asked.

“My buddy, Harry,” Ken cried.

Grace looked at Marge.  “We have someone living here named Harry?”

“Harry’s a gecko,” Marge said.

“A what?”

“A lizard.”

“He escaped,” Ken said.  “I can’t find him anywhere.”

“He can’t have gotten out of the house,” Marge said.  “Let’s search this place from top to bottom.  We’ll find him.”

They started with a search of Ken’s room.

“I’d given him a corn cob as a treat,” Ken said.  “Then Harry piled it on top of the branch that I put in the aquarium and that got him up high enough to push the screen off the glass and climb up and out.”

“Well, he’s certainly not in here,” Grace said.  “I’ve looked under your bed, and in your closet, and through all your dirty clothes, and the only thing I can say is that you really should do a whole bunch of cleaning in here.”

“Never mind that,” Marge said.  “Let’s search the other rooms.”

They had looked in every room and were back down on the first floor trying to think of other places that they might have forgotten when Darren came in.  He was no longer on crutches but was using a cane to get around and still limping.

“Unbelievable,” Darren said.

“What?” asked Grace.

“I try to walk in this house and I’m attacked by a dragon,” Darren said.

“A dragon?” yelled Grace.

“Well, it was a small dragon, but it went charging outside when I opened the door and it almost knocked me over,” Darren said.

“Harry!” screeched Ken.


“I just thought of something,” Ken said as they began searching through the snow for signs of Harry.

“What did you think of?” Marge asked.

“The last time Harry tried to escape, he was warning me about the fire,” Ken said.  “I wonder if this is his way of trying to say something.”

“Let’s find him first,” Marge said.  “Then you can ask him.”

“It’s impossible to see lizard tracks with all these footprints around,” Grace said.

“I’ll try to get beyond all the human tracks,” Ken said.  “I’ll walk to the edge and do a big circle there.”

“Be carefully not to stamp out any tracks while you’re doing it,” Marge said.

“I’ll be very careful,” Ken said.  “I’m looking very carefully.  And look…”  He pointed out a place in the snow where tiny little tracks could be seen.

“Are you sure that they’re lizard tracks and not squirrel tracks?” Grace asked.

“I know my lizard,” Ken said.  “Those are Harry’s tracks, I’m sure.”

“They lead toward the woods,” Marge said.  “Toward the old camping ground.”

Ken was charging ahead.  “Harry!” he called.  “I’m coming.”

“Let’s wait here,” Marge said to Grace.  “If he finds Harry, he’ll be very happy and if he doesn’t, we can keep looking.”

“I think these really are squirrel tracks,” Grace said, pointing at some heavier tracks that led to a nearby tree.  “So I guess those were lizard tracks.”

“Harry!” Ken yelled.  A minute later he yelled, “Found him!”

Marge and Grace waited patiently while Ken lingered in the wood for a few minute before he headed back.

“Let’s get him inside,” Marge said.  “I don’t think geckos like the cold.”

Harry was huddled inside Ken’s jacket.  

“I didn’t know that lizards shivered,” Grace said, “but I think he’s shivering.”

“That’s me,” Ken said.  “He’s co-cold.”

When they finally got inside, Ken said, “I think Strange Brew was right.”

“Right about what?” Marge asked.

“I think there’s something out in those woods.  You know, I think that’s what Harry was trying to tell us.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Chapter Seventy-One: A Foggy Winter’s Day

A couple of weeks later, the weather suddenly turned warm.  

One morning, the commune woke up and it seemed like everything had turned to mist.  Beyond the houses was a grey cotton curtain.  Shapes and forms could be dimly seen through the warm winter murk.

“Man, it’s spooky out there,” said Strange Brew.  “I was checking on the animals and I started worrying about whether I would become lost in those wild wisps and clouds.”

“I know what you mean,” Blue Sky said.  “Even walking to the farm stands is an eerie adventure.  I’m scared something is going to come out of the haze and grab me.”

“I think that you’re both letting your imaginations run away with you,” said Grace.  “It’s just a little fog.  You’d think you’d never seen fog before.”

“I don’t know,” said Strange Brew said.  “That’s more than a little fog.  It’s more like a soft seductive pale brume.  It’s uncanny.”

“Hey, what’s with the weird miasma that’s taken over the farm?” asked Paul G as he entered the room.  “It’s gotten creepy outside.”

“I want know, what’s with you all?” asked Grace.  “Am I the only one not being bewildered by the fog?  It’s really not that scary.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re fine with it,” Blue Sky said.  “But it’s way too unsettling for me.  I like to be able to see my way around without worrying about things emerging from the fumes.”

“Yeah,” said Paul G.  “It’s like cream of gruesome soup out there.”

“Fine,” Grace said.  “You can all frighten yourselves to death over a little fog.  See if I care.”

She was starting out of the room when Patsy came in.

“OMZ,” Patsy said.  “It’s like the place has been taken over by translucent spectral vapors.  Has anyone else noticed?”


Two days later, the fog was but a memory.  The weather had gotten colder and everything had gotten clearer.

Nevertheless, the foggy day came up in the commune meeting.

It wasn’t an item on the agenda.  Instead, Blue Sky happened to mention it when the commune was discussing repairing the toilet.

“Speaking about messy,” Blue Sky said.  “I hope we don’t see another day like Monday for a while.  I was totally unnerved by that gruesome gloom.”

“I can’t figure out what happened to everybody,” Grace said.  “There was a little mist around and the entire commune was freaked out.”

“It wasn’t ‘a little mist’,” Patsy said.  “It was a full fledged mystic mystifying mist.”

“Hold it,” Marge said.  She was attempting to be the facilitator for the meeting.  “We’re discussing how we can get the bowl fixed.  Let’s not get off track again. We’ve got to keep focusing, people, just keep focusing.”

“Yeah,” said Chuck.  “And all that muck soiled the hem of my best baby blue pinafore.  We need to do something to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Dan started to respond, but Strange Brew broke in with, “You got to understand.  There was something in that fog.  I don’t know…”

Marge said,  “Excuse me but Dan was trying to speak.  Come on.  At least pretend to keep on topic.”

“Sorry,” Strange Brew said.  “But you should know what I saw.”

“Can we get back to the topic of toilets?” Marge asked.

“I do have a solution,” Dan said.

Almost simultaneously, Patsy asked, “What did you see?”

“I don’t know,” Strange Brew said.  “There was something in the woods.  You know, the woods where we had been camping.”

“Oh, you’re just caught by those clouds again,”  Grace said.  “I can’t believe that grown ups would be so scared of a little fog.”

“A little fog, nothing,” Blue Sky said.  “It was an absolute cream of pea souper.”

“Yeah, and what’s important...” Strange Brew started.

“The toilet? Please?” Marge pleaded.

“Wait a minute,” Blue Sky said.  “What was important?’

“I’m sure that there was something out there,”  Strange Brew said.  “I saw something moving in that mist.”

“Sure,” Grace said.  “It wasn’t the mist that was moving,  believe me.  It was your mind that was moving.”

Dan was looking bewildered, Luna was looking at Marge, and Marge was staring at the floor with her head in her hands.

“Okay,” Strange Brew said.  “I just wanted to let you know.  There was definitely something out there.  I swear.”