Economics 101, a Novel, ch_22 -- Making Rope And Working Wood

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

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

If Monday ( was not exciting to read, I suppose Tuesday through the next Sunday will be pretty boring fare, too. But Monday and Tuesday pretty much helped them set their basic patterns for the next several days, if not the next several years.

Tuesday morning, Karel and Bobbie woke up about the same time. Taking turns changing into their swimsuits in the tent, they went down to the beach and exercised.

After Karel had done a set of push-ups and sit-ups, he watched Bobbie doing her dance exercises and started copying her.

"If you're going to do these, let me teach you how to do them right." She tried showing him what she was doing, but his football habits got in the way.

"Let's start with simple stuff," she suggested, and he agreed. So she showed him plie. She corrected his posture, using her hands to help him line up his spine and showing him how to envision pulling up.

After ten minutes, he said he thought he had those down, and he'd try them again the next day, and she said that was probably a good idea.

After exercising, they swam out and caught something for breakfast. Then they changed back into regular clothes and fixed and ate breakfast, finishing off the last of the bread and cheese.

Then they started trying to make rope. They didn't have a lot of success before they took a break for lunch. After lunch, they studied some scriptures and re-read the explanation of rope-making in their books, and, in the afternoon, they succeeded in making a bit of crude rope. Supper was more from the sea, with breadfruit and some greens they had found while gathering hemp and jute.

After supper, they remembered they had not been writing in their journals, so they reminded each other of the events they wanted to remember from the last several days and started writing in their journals again. And then they retired for the night.

As they lay under the stars, separated by the tent, Karel made a suggestion that would prove very useful later:

"We really ought to take careful notes of what we're doing in our journals."


"I think so."

"Maybe so. Someday, we're going to be back in the civilized world, and we'll want to be able to tell people what we did."

Wednesday morning, they tried soaking the fibers for their ropes in ocean water, and, while the fibers soaked, went looking along the northeast stream for another place to camp, collecting more plant specimens, which they checked in their books during the heat of the day. In the afternoon, they made more rope, and then went looking for trees to use for building a hut. And in the evening, they wrote in their journals.

On Thursday, they tested the ropes they had made to that point and started studying ways to use the axe to cut trees for lumber. Friday was also given to rope-making and learning to work the axe.

Saturday morning, they decided to learn how to use the seeds from the breadfruit and other plants they had been using. Digging into their books before lunch, they found a note that breadfruit seeds should be boiled for an hour and a half before being ground for flour or otherwise used. So they hulled the seeds they had and boiled them and tested part of the results for lunch.

Saturday evening, they put extra breadfruit and jackfruit aside with the breadfruit seeds, for Sunday, so they wouldn't have to go looking for food on the Sabbath.

On their second Sunday on the island, they decided to be a little less casual about the Sabbath services, putting more thought into what they said and did, and steering clear of speculating about their future until after they had said the closing prayer for Sunday School.

After lunch, Karel noted, jokingly, that there really did not seem to be much to do:

"Church services, scriptures, singing a cappella, napping, what else?"

"We could still write letters to family and friends," Bobbie suggested.

"We need all our bottles."


"No bottles to throw into the sea with our messages in them."

There was nothing to say for a little bit, then Bobbie said, "If we had gourds or bamboo, maybe we could hollow them out and put the letters in those."

"Or, we could just keep them until we get found."

"Are we going to run out of paper?"

"If things go well with the hemp, we may be able to make paper from the inner fibers."

Silence while they thought.

"Are there no gourds or bamboo on this island?" Karel asked.

"Walks are a good Sabbath activity." Bobbie volunteered.

"But resting implies that what we do is different from the rest of the week."

"So we don't take samples, and we don't hike into hard places and we don't swim."

More silence.

"Thinking about family and praying for them is good, too?" Bobbie suggested.

"I'll go with that. You game for a walk, if we take hats?"

An hour later, they were sitting on the beach of the lagoon, singing hymns without songbook or accompaniment.

And Bobbie sat close to Karel, and Karel put his arm around Bobbie's shoulder, and they kept singing until they had run out of things to sing.

And then they just sat, thinking and talking quietly about their families and friends, and praying silently. When the sun was low in the sky, they stood and dusted themselves and each other off and finished walking around the island, talking and holding hands or not as the mood suited.

And, you may wonder, so I should note that they continued to sleep on opposite sides of the tent. It was just safer that way.

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

(The chapter index is here:

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