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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Chapter One Hundred and Five: Doug Dazzle

“Do you want to visit or join?” Ken asked.

“So those are my choices, huh?”

Ken was wondering if the question was even worth asking.  This guy had not only an open necked dress shirt and sunglasses and khaki pants, but a newsy cap and a scarlet sportscar.  Still, he’d seen stranger folk apply.

“Let me think about it a minute,” the man said.  “And the answer is… join!”

“You want to join?” Ken asked.

“Yes, yes, my boy.  I see a great future here.”

“A great future here?”

“Excuse me, but do you have a hearing problem?”

“No, no, no,” Ken said.  “I just can’t imagine what kind of great future you expect to find here.”

“Hey, it’s got to be better than the Manhattan rat race.”

“Wow, are you from the Giant Apple?”  Ken asked.  “Do you know Alex?  I forget his last name.  He’s Candy’s cousin.”

“Alex is who sent me here.”

“What did you do in the big city?”

“Advertising and marketing work mostly.  I don’t suppose that you could use those skills here?”


Ken practically burst into the tiny office where Sal and Sally were working.  “You’ve got to talk with this guy,” he shrieked.

“And who might you be?” asked Sal.

“Doug Danford.  Also known on Madison Avenue as Doug Dazzle.”

“Madison Avenue?” said Sally.  “Isn’t that where they do advertising?”

“It is indeed,” said Doug.  “I hear that you may be in the market for some marketing?”

“You heard that all the way down on the Giant Apple?” asked Sal.

“No,” said Doug.  “I heard it from my anxious friend here.  He said you were having a little problem with sales of seeds.”

“Look at this,” said Sal, motioning him over to where she had a spreadsheet open.

“Unbelievable!” Doug said.

“You think it’s that bad?” asked Sally.

“No,” said Doug.  “I haven’t seen a computer like that in fifteen years.  I didn’t think they existed anymore.”

“What about the figures?”  Sal asked.

“Sales? Don’t worry about it.  I’ve turned around situations a lot worse than this.  This computer is connected to the internet, right?  You know what that is?”

“Yes, of course it’s connected,” said Sal.  “We aren’t complete imbeciles here.”

“Okay,” said Doug.  “Let me use it for a couple of hours.  I’ll have your sales flying in a week.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Chapter One Hundred and Four: A Seedy Business

“Wow,” said Sally.  “This is our fifth order.  That’s kind of a milestone.”

“I suppose it is,” said Sal.  “But this isn’t so easy for me.  I lived at Old Corn where we would often get ten orders a day--and that was on a slow day.”

“Yeah, but we’re just starting this,” Sally pointed out.  “Old Corn has been doing it for quite a while.”

“That’s true,” Sal said. “But if this business is going to earn any money, we’re going to need to figure out how to get more customers, and fast.”

“Okay,” said Sally.  “But how are we supposed to do that?”

“I’m thinking, I’m thinking,” said Sal.

At that moment, Luna poked her head in the door.  “How’s it going?”

“Could be better,” Sal said.

“What’s wrong?” Luna asked.

“We’re not getting much business,” said Sal.  “The people who’ve ordered seeds are happy with us, but we don’t have very many people ordering seeds.’

“You know what we need?” Sally said.

“What?” asked Sal and Luna, almost as one voice.

“We need an advertising person.  Someone who knows something about marketing.”

“Where do we find someone like that?” asked Sal.


“Hey, look,” Sally said a week later.  “We got two more orders in today.  That means that we’ve gotten nine orders in so far and almost doubled our sales in a week.”

“That’s lovely,” said Sal sadly.  “But at this rate we’ll break even by the next decade.”

“Okay, okay,” said Sally.  “I’ve talked with everyone at the commune and really, there isn’t anyone here that really understands advertising and marketing.  I think we’ve just got to keep on going and doing the best we can and trust that it will all work out.”

“I know,” Sal said.  “I’m a bit of a worrywart.  Still, I don’t want to just sit back and wait for something to happen.  That’s not my style.”

“Sorry, I can’t keep listening to this,” Sally said.  “Let me work on this order. While you’re busy complaining, we could be getting stuff done.”

 “Okay,” Sal said.  “I’m taking a break.”

She found Nancy working in the kitchen.  “Got a minute?” she asked.

“For you, my love, of course!”  Nancy smiled sweetly at Sal.

“I’m really worried about our new seed business,” Sal said.  “If we don’t get a big influx of customers soon, we’re going to be in big trouble.”

“You’ve gotta have faith, Sal,” Nancy said.  “It’s a great idea.  You’ve just gotta give it a little time.”

“But…” Sal said.

“Listen to me.  Something is going to happen and it’s going to happen soon.  I know it.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Chapter One Hundred and Three: Candy’s Cousin

“Okay,” said Ken.  “Do you want to visit or join?”

“I want to see Candy,” said the man with the opened neck dress shirt and sunglasses.

“Let me see if I can find her,” Ken said.   He was back in less than five minutes because he found Candy working away in the kitchen.

“Alex!”  Candy yelled when she saw him.  “What are you doing way up here?”

“I was visiting with your folks and they told me you were here, so I came to check the place out.”

“Alex, this is Ken and Marge and Grace,” Candy said, pointing the communards out, one by one.  “Hey, folks, this is my cousin, Alex.”

“Pleased to meet you, Alex,” said Marge.  “Where do you hail from?”

“I’m working in the big city these days,” Alex said.  “You know, the Giant Apple.  I actually live on an island that can’t decide if it’s part of New York or New Jersey.”

“What do you do in the city?” Grace asked.

“I’m in retail,” Ken said.  “I track numbers for companies that don’t trust their own number people.”

“You ever see a commune before?”  Ken asked.

“I didn’t think they really existed,” Alex said.  “Although I’ve heard rumors that there’s one on the island I live on.  I actually thought that they all vanished in the nineteen seventies.”

“Wanna tour of the place?” Candy asked.

“Sure,” said Alex.


“What are those?” asked Alex as they walked through the kitchen.

“They’re blackberry-eggplant muffins,” said Candy.

“You’re kidding,” Alex said.  “Please tell me you’re kidding.”

“No,” said Candy.  “They’re very popular around here.”

“I guess when you’re this far out in the sticks, you’ve got to do something for excitement.”

“I like them,” Candy said.

“Okay, okay,” said Alex.  “So do you folks actually have computers here and things like the internet, or is this place too back to the land for that?”

“Oh, no,” Candy said, as they finished touring the main building.  “We have a computer.”

“Okay,” said Alex.  “You have a computer.  Can I see it?”

“Sure.  It’s over here in the back house.”

They walked into the back house and into a room where they found Sal swearing at a small computer.

“That’s the computer?” Alex said.  “It looks like something Steve Jobs or Bill Gates might have practiced on.”

“Hey,” said Candy.  “It gets the job done.”

“Eventually,” added Sal.

“I can show you our crops,” Candy said.

“Thanks, but I’ve seen farmland,” Alex said.  “Look, I’ve got to run.  I appreciate you showing me around.  You’re happy here?”

“Yeah, I really am,” Candy said.

“Well I guess that’s what counts,” said Alex.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Chapter One Hundred and Two: The New Kitchen

“Two weeks late and almost three hundred dollars over budget,” Lois said.

“Hey,” said Sowbug.  “In the contracting world that’s about perfection.”

Earthworm looked around.  “I think it looks great.”

“Me, too,” said Mo.

“Yeah,” said Sorrel, “I think it looks fabulous but maybe we should ask somebody who’s in the kitchen crew.”

Almost on schedule, Zelda walked in.  “Holy muffin tins!” she said.  She spent a moment just gazing around the room with her mouth open.

“Do you like it?” Dandelion asked.

“It’s unbelievable!”

“Unbelievably good or unbelievably bad?” asked Mo.

“Unbelievably terrific!” Zelda said.

“What’s all the noise in here?” Nancy asked and then stopped short as she took in the room.  “Unbelievable,” she said.

“I’ve already said that,” said Zelda.

Nancy didn’t say another word.  She just started hugging everyone on the construction crew.


“Unbelievable,” Darren said as he looked around the new kitchen.  “I’m still having trouble believing  they were able to put three ovens in here.”

“Believe it,” Candy said.  “I’ve got stuff baking in two of them.”

“And there’s so much more room,” Darren added.

“The construction crew was very creative,” Nancy said proudly. “They expanded the room by getting rid of the back porch and building onto the land.”

“Isn’t it the greatest?” said Zelda.  “I can tell I’m going to have fun working in here.”  She stopped and thought for a minute.  “Well, I already have fun working in here, but now I’m going to have even more fun.”

“So what’s in the oven over there?” Darren asked.

“Lots of pies,” said Nancy.  “Most of them are for the commune but I’ve made three special ones just for the construction crew.  It’s my own thank you to them.”

“Okay,” said Darren.  “Fine by me.  After seeing all this, I definitely think they deserve their very own pies.”

“You betcha,” said Zelda.