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  • [This is a short story with multiple episodes. The seed of this one is That Felicitous Sound.]

    We disembarked from our flotilla of boats at the little quay. As Ted gathered Trevor in his arms I told him how his son's leg got injured, and how the kids had heroically handled their dire situation just above the flume. Ted and Tammy hugged us and thanked us profusely and then hurried off to find the nurse, pushing Trevor in a garden cart that someone had brought down. We had no time to say what had become of the evil gym bag, but we were sure Trevor would tell all given the chance.

    Iris elaborated on their caper. She verified that they had run away from Tammy to Trevor's house to extract the bag hidden in the woodpile. Trevor had convinced her that it needed to be taken far away in case the drug police came back, and that the best place would be at the bottom of the Quartic River.

    So they waited near the brook until we gave up searching for them and went back up to the village. They untied our canoe and navigated it backwards downstream to the beaver pond. She said they had to drag the canoe from there down to the river and weren't sure they would be able to drag it back up, but by then they were committed to the project.

    Before they launched the canoe, the kids gathered small rocks, put as many as would fit into the bag and zipped it up. It made the bag quite heavy, which caused Trevor to lose his balance when he got up to toss it overboard. They didn't capsize, but Trevor's paddle escaped and floated away. Iris steered the canoe in pursuit, only to suddenly realize that they were being sucked toward a waterfall. She claims to have aimed for the rock, but the canoe turned around and they slammed into it sideways. She grabbed a branch and crawled out onto the rock. Stepping away she upset the canoe. Trevor's foot slipped, his leg slid down and the canoe settled on it, pinning him there. Iris managed to wrangle the overturned canoe enough to free him. By then, her paddle had too floated away, so they couldn't right the canoe and get away.

    We know the rest. Our family unit started walking, circling the village, arms around waists, keeping to ourselves. Iris stopped short and asked, "So who did put that bag under the back porch and why?"

    We had to tell her that we just didn't know. We thought it was a stranger who walked in just to do that and then slipped out. After he got far away, he probably called the drug agency to tip them off. I said I suspect that somebody paid him to do it. I also said I thought that somebody in the community might have a connection to those people, but they probably aren't talking about it, so it's best if we don't ask a lot of questions. Iris didn't like being told to cool it, but said she understood.

    Annie had been quiet, not really listening. "Well," she finally said, "this really isn't our problem, is it? We just happened to be here. I don't think anyone still thinks we were involved. But it doesn't matter. We need to get on with our lives. We can't just stay here forever, you know."

    Iris looked up and said "But I love it here! We made friends here. We don't have a home. Are we going to spend the rest of our lives in that cabin in the middle of nowhere? Why can't we live here?" She was referring our friend Bruce's camp up the river, with no running water or electricity, where our car and what was left of our possessions were parked.

    Annie looked at me and said, "So Brad, what do you want to do? Go back to Bruce's? Live happily ever after in Wellconomy? Something else?"

    "I'm torn up," I told her. "This might be the kind of community I've always craved to have, but to make up my mind, I need more data. I'd like to go to town to get our mail at the post office and see what's in my email at the public library. We might have options we don't know about."

    Annie agreed we needed time and information, including knowing whether moving to Wellconomy was even an option for us. The community must ultimately decide whether we are welcome as members.

    Our stroll ended at the common house. As we stood there pondering, the T's came out. Tammy was pushing Trevor in a wheelchair. The boy's lower leg was taped up and he seemed more composed now. Iris ran over to hug him.

    "We need to go to down to the clinic for an x-ray," said Ted," to find out if Trevor needs a splint or a cast."

    I asked "May I come with you? I need to get my mail."

    "No problem," Ted answered. "There's plenty of room in our vehicle."

    Iris wanted to come too, but Annie told her she should stay with her. She wanted to touch base with Marjorie, and Iris should be there. "I think it's time we finish the conversation about what just happened and discuss what our options are here. "

    That was OK with me. Even though I'm a social worker, Annie is better at that sort of thing. "Tell Marjorie we owe them a kayak," I added, "and might need to work that off somehow."

    Ted loaded Trevor into their big Jeep. I climbed in next to him. Ted started the engine and we set off up the rutted road to the state highway that led into town.

    Continued in That Wistful Sound

    [The original seed of this series is
    On Sustainable Power, May 31, 2012.
    To identify all the stories in the series, click the tag That Sound beneath the map.]

    @image: Jeep in woods, Drummond Island MI
    @audio: Car starting from
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