Economics 101, a Novel, ch_20 -- Moving on a Hunch

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

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

Is a hunch inspiration? Revelation?

Is acting on a hunch a miracle?

Is this chapter a bit over the top?

"So tell me again," said Paul Pratt on the phone to Bob Whitmer on Sunday afternoon. "You and I and our wives feel strongly impressed that Bobbie and Karel are just fine. Why are we all going with Professor MacVittie to check up on them?"

Bob chuckled. "Because we all also feel impressed that we should go."

"Don't cloud my mind with the facts."

"You know, I've been going to church every week for a month."

"How is it?"

"Good. Somehow, Bobbie and Karel there in the islands got me re-thinking my critical attitudes towards the Church, and, after all these years, all sorts of things just don't seem to matter any more."

"That's good to hear."

"Yeah. I'm kind of glad I didn't wait until this happened to start back. I'd be a bit more hesitant to talk with God. Although I'm afraid that part of it is the hope that I'll be able to go to the temple when Bobbie and Karel tie the knot."

"But what will you do if they decide not to?"

"Won't really matter. It's their decision. I've realizing how much God has been helping me every day all this time, and how much I need His help. Still, I can't imagine them not getting married. I know Bobbie, and I could see it in her eyes four months ago. And I've read it in her letters while they are there. She trusts him in a way that she just has never trusted any other guy besides me."

"It is a little eerie. I think they already have a better relationship than Anne and I were able to build in the first ten years of our marriage. But trust is not all there is to marriage."

"True. Well, I guess I'll grant the possibility that she'll find someone she is willing to start over trying to build that kind of trust with, but, ..."

"I've got the same gut feeling, too. They way we talk about revelation in our priesthood meetings, even though I'm not perfectly sure what the feeling means, I'm pretty sure it means something important."

"And it's the same feeling that is telling us to go with the professor."

"Yeah. Our co-workers would say all sorts of things about spending this kind of money to fly to some islands in the middle of nowhere on a hunch."

"Which is why we didn't mention the hunch. And my skeptical attitude towards hunches no longer makes sense, either. Heh. What did your boss say about the request for vacation?"

"He actually didn't say much besides that he hoped they'd make it through the storm and be okay when we got there. How about your employees?"

"You'd've thought I'd told them they were getting a raise. Seemed to be more than happy to get me out of the office for a couple of weeks."

Paul laughed out loud, and Bob joined him.

"But I'm sure I'm going to be stressing out about it all the time I'm gone. Mary keeps telling me I need to give my staff more freedom. Maybe she's right."

"So. the plan is that you're picking the professor up tonight on your way down, and then you'll be here in Albuquerque tomorrow afternoon. I'll check the flights again in the morning. You'll leave your car here, and my daughter will drive us to the airport in the evening, and we'll fly out, and there'll be connecting flights, and we'll need our passports, and we should be in the islands in about two days."

"And we need to be sure we're packing at least some basics for going searching in the islands, just in case."

"Bring your scriptures."

"Yeah. Gotta pack. See you tomorrow.

(Yes, I'm deliberately not inventing a route, here. Just like I've been avoiding telling you which islands they were doing their research on. It would require too much research, and there would also be a lot of extraneous details that would interfere with the simplified economic model I'm constructing.)

"Hello, again. It's Bob."

"What've you got? You're sounding a bit more serious."

"We're here at the professor's and we have some news that explains why we're going."

"I'm listening."

"They've found the plane in the ocean, out of gas, with no one and practically nothing inside."


"The police suspect foul play."

"So why are we still feeling like they are all right?"

"I guess we've got to go to find out. Mary and I had another hunch, and our luggage is full of our camping and water gear."

"Same here."

"Good. See you tomorrow."

"We'll be here."

"Paul Pratt speaking."

"Brother Pratt, this is Dean Hayworth at the university."

"Hello, Brother Hayworth. What can I do for you?"

"Let us do the doing for. Is the professor there yet?"

"Not yet. Can I give him a message or something?"

"Well, I'll tell you what I can tell you. The school is calling for volunteers to help with searching, and we've been passing around the hat, as well. Our legal staff has a fund set up, and money and pledges are coming in, so you'll have some resources to work with."

"That's good news, although I'm inclined to hope it's overkill. I hope students aren't donating money they need."

"I don't know if we've got enough to call it overkill yet, by any means. And the money is mostly from Alumni and friends of the university and the Church. When Professor MacVittie gets there, can you have him call me from there? I need to give him some details."

"Sure will."

"One more thing. The Church leadership is also getting involved."

"How so?"

"The president of the district that nominally includes those islands will be meeting you at your last layover."

"I sure appreciate that."

Well, actually, I guess the only thing that is excessive here is that, somehow, the Pratts and the Whitmers are well-enough-off to be able to catch the first available flights to the islands.

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

(The chapter index is here:

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