Economics 101, a Novel, ch_16 -- Dormitory Hall Monitors

[JMR20160614: The almost-final draft of this chapter is here:]

(The story starts here:
The previous chapter is here:

[Initially, I had just jumped into the story, but I guess a chapter introduction can't hurt too much. JMR20160405]

[Re-reading, I see some serious mistakes. Paul was Ezekiel, and I dropped the link to the next chapter. JMR20160416] 

[And Bob was Paul? How did I miss that until now? (Backup of close to original draft with formatting messed up here: JMR20160429] 

Wycliffe is kind of new at the guardian angel thing. Let's see how he handles the responsibilities.

"Hi again."

"Hi, Grandpa Greg. Whoever decided I could talk with them, I appreciate it.

"That was God."

"Thank you, Father in Heaven," Wycliffe said, focusing his attention generally upward.

The response he felt in his heart was one of divine approval.

Grandma Georgianna said, "We'll take over for a while. Their professor and their parents need someone closer to the events than we are, to help them."

"I think they're going to be okay. The storm is not getting worse, and the tent is holding okay. And they are showing me a good example of how they care about each other."

Grandma Georgianna laughed. "They were both hall monitors for their dorms. If they were at school, they would be waking themselves up, calling their bishops, and sending themselves to their own dorm rooms."

Wycliffe nodded. "They were hall monitors in their dorms. They were helping students to avoid and resist various temptations. My trying to get them to compromise each other was really, well, it would have destroyed them."

"Professor MacVittie needs your help."

And Wycliffe thought about the professor and found himself in his office.

The professor was agitated, mumbling to himself.

"If anything happens to those two, I'm responsible."

Wycliffe said, "No you're not."

"What else could I have done?"
"You did all that was required, and more."

"What should I do?"

"Calm down and call Bobbie's parents."

Almost as if he could hear Wycliffe, the professor calmed down a bit.

"God will keep them from harm," Wycliffe continued to encourage him.

Then he picked up the phone and dialed he Whitmers' home, long distance.

"Whitmers' residence."

"This is Professor MacVittie. Am I speaking to Mary Whitmer?"

Wycliffe traced the connection and found himself in the Whitmer kitchen. Mary Whitmer had answered the phone, and Paul Bob Whitmer was reading a newspaper.


Wycliffe whispered to them, "Heavenly Father is helping Bobbie and Karel."

"Could I speak with Robert? I have news of some concern about your daughter."

"Bob, Brother MacVittie says he wants to tell you that Heavenly Father is helping Bobbie and Karel."

"Really? That sounds serious. I'm coming to the phone."

The professor heard their exchange over through the receiver and muttered under his breath, "That's not what I said, but at least he understands that this is serious business."

"Hello, Professor. Good news, I take it?"

No, not taking it seriously after all, he thought. "Ah uhm, not exactly. Bobbie and Karel have gone camping."

"Gone camping -- together? That's wonderful!"

"They do have a chaperone."

"Oh, a chaperone. Well, camping together is promising."

Bobbie's mother laughed. "I've got to call Anna."

"Is that all?"

"Well, I'm not sure it's such a good idea."

"They're adults. They can take responsibility for what they do. We trust them."

Mary took the phone from her husband.

"If they make some bad decisions, we won't hold the school responsible, so don't worry about that. But they won't make any bad decisions. They're good kids. Uhm, I'll call the Pratts. I just know they'll be thrilled."

"Let me call. It's my responsibility."

"Let me call first."

"Please, Sister Whitmer, this is my job."

"Oh, be a wet blanket. But I'll only give you ten seconds head start."

Paul Bob took the phone back again. "Any more news?"

"No, not really."

"Okay. Thanks. We'll be praying for them to get back safely engaged. Keep us posted."

"Uhm, I will."



"Mare." Paul Bob paused.


"Let him do his job the way he sees it."

"Darn. Well, okay." And she gave the professor ten minutes instead of ten seconds.

Wycliffe returned to Professor MacVittie's office.

The professor dialed the Pratts, and, again, Wycliffe chased the connection down the wires.

"Ezekiel Paul Pratt speaking."

"Hello, this is Professor MacVittie."

Wycliffe refrained from giving any specific suggestions.

"Oh? Brother MacVittie. Hello, what's up?"

"I'm afraid I have news of concern about your son."

"Of what sort of concern?"

"He and Bobbie Whitmer have apparently decided to go camping."


"With a chaperone, at least."

"Oh, that is definitely news to be concerned about." He turned to his wife. "Anne, Karel and Bobbie have gone camping, with a chaperone in tow."

"Serious business afoot," Anna said, approvingly.

"Indeed. Serious business afoot. Thank you, Professor. We shall be praying for their safe return, hopefully engaged."

"You're welcome."

"You'll keep us posted, of course."

"Will do."

After hanging up, Professor MacVittie held his head in his hands. Even though he felt, for some reason, relieved, he still couldn't shake the sense of foreboding. So he called the department head to report.

The dean's response was, "Oh, yes, we can give you time off to go meet them. That was part of the contingency plan. But don't be overly concerned. I am sure we can trust these two to negotiate their engagement without making any serious mistakes."

Anna Pratt called Mary Whitmer, and they talked hopefully for several minutes. Then Anna said, "Well, we'd best not try to make their plans for them."

When Wycliffe returned to Karel and Bobbie's tent, they were stretched out under the blanket, sleeping.

"Nothing happening?"

Grandpa Greg said, "Just getting some real sleep now and keeping each other warm."

"The temperature sure dropped during the storm."

Grandma Georgianna affirmed, "If they had insisted on conformance to the dormitory rules here, they'd be catching colds. This is not a place to be catching colds, until they know more about which of the island's herbs work for colds."

(The link to the next chapter will be here when it's ready is here:

(The chapter index is here:

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