Economics 101, a Novel, ch_07 pt1 -- Third Semester

(The framing story starts is here: If you haven't read that, you might want to. Otherwise, the rest of this may not make much sense.

Introductions and characterizations begin here:

In the five parts of the last chapter, we get to watch them get serious about life in their second semester as graduate students:

If you don't care about characterization, you might want to jump ahead:

The second year started out as more of the same.

Sort of.

"What are you doing out here, Bobbie?" Kristie was whispering.

"Same as you, I'd guess." Bobbie whispered back. "How many?"

They were hiding outside their dorm buildings a little past eleven on a Friday night.

"Two from my floor, but seven from the building, in all."

"One from my floor and four more from our building. I told the other RAs we should just post a note telling them to knock on the dorm Mom's door, but they seem to think we have to go after them."

"We have to suggest sitting down to re-read our job descriptions together, I think."

"Hi, girls."

"Dan! You scared me," Kristie whispered. "Sshhh! Are we that bad at hiding?"

"I knew you'd be here." Then he said, in a loud voice, "I was sent here to tell some unnamed women that the Yale wannabees have canceled their plans for a panty raid and they won't be needed to let the invaders in, after all."

"Oh." And Kristie and Bobbie came out of their hiding places, laughing.

Bobbie said to herself, "Too bad." But then she called out, "Okay, girls, wherever you are, let's go in. Maybe we can have some semi-official coed games tomorrow at dusk, instead."

At first, there was no response. Then, one-by-one, eleven women came out of their hiding places, complaining and joking.

After counting, Bobbie called out again, "Stephanie. Where are you?"

No response.

"Stephanie? She wasn't with us." The erstwhile hiders looked around at each other.

Kristie and Bobbie looked carefully at their residents' faces and decided they weren't lying.

Just then Karel came up behind them.

"We have one man unaccounted for in my building. Any of you women know where Jeremy Snow is?"

No one knew.

"Well, since I'm here, I'll tell you about the games tomorrow. The semi-official games of capture-the-flag are semi-official. Tomorrow. About dusk. And not in the dorms. We love you all, but we do have to try to avoid activities where students who don't want to participate could get their feelings hurt."

"You love us? What is Bobbie going to say?"

Bobbie grinned and replied, "Bobbie loves you guys, too. And if anyone finds out what's up with our two missing students, let us know. Check in with your dorm Moms on the way."

The women returned to their dorms, laughing and still complaining.

Karel said, "Let's check the laundry rooms and kitchens in each building. Stephanie is one of yours, Bobbie?"


"Let's start in your building."

Dan and Kristie went back to their dorms to update the other dorm Moms, and Bobbie went inside, recruited another RA named Petra, and went down to the basement.

Karel went in to talk with Sister Ivie, the dorm Mom for Bobbie's building, and then followed Bobbie and Petra. At the bottom of the stairs, he could see the backs of the two women RA's heads. They seemed to be quietly watching something. As he rounded the wall and entered the basement lounge, he saw that they were looking at two students sleeping on each others' shoulders on one of the couches. There was a basket of clean laundry in front of them.

Karel cleared his throat. Neither of them woke up. Then he checked the laundry machines.

"Third dryer." Bobbie said.

There was a load of men's clothes in the third dryer, which had stopped.

"They're so cute!" Petra sighed.

Karel chuckled.

Bobbie called, softly, "Stephanie!"

And Karel said, not so softly, "Jeremy."

Jeremy woke up first, groggily. He looked up at the RAs and shook himself awake, trying to figure out where he was. Then he looked at the woman beside him. "Steph." He said gently.

Then he kissed her and she woke up. "We are being visited by angels," he said.

Karel looked at the ceiling, Bobbie closed her eyes, and Petra covered her face.

"Warn us before you do that." Petra said.

Stephanie blinked and looked up at the RAs. As comprehension returned, she started to panic. "Ah-are we in trouble?"

The three RAs grinned, and Karel said, "Probably not. Jeremy get your clothes out of the dryer and let's go talk to our dorm Moms."

In Sister Ivie's office/living room, Jeremy and Stephanie apologized.

Sister Ivie asked the two of them, sternly, "Do we need to make a rule about men not using laundry in the women's dorms?"

They weren't sure what to say.

Then she smiled. "I'll need to ask Stephanie a few questions before she goes to bed. Bobbie, could you wait outside?"

"I'll be waiting."

"Thank you for helping, Petra."


"And, Jeremy, would you take Karel back to your dorm with you?"

"Uh, ..." Jeremy looked confused at the question.

"I'm sure he will," said Karel.

"Oh. Okay." Jeremy agreed.

And Petra and Karel and Jeremy left.

Stephanie was only a couple of minutes with Sister Ivie, and then she returned with Bobbie to their floor. They talked quietly, giggling, as they climbed the stairs, and then Bobbie gave her a hug and they said goodnight.

When Karel and Jeremy their building, they stopped in Sister Vincent's office to talk. Karel stepped outside while she talked a minute or two with Jeremy alone. Then they climbed the stairs to their floor together.

"I guess I blew it."

"Blew what?"

"Curfew and all."

"If you told Sister Vincent the truth, nobody's hurt."


"You missed some excitement, but not much."


"Some of the younger men who seem to think they are at an Ivie League school or something tried to organize a panty raid tonight."

"That's sick."

"A little misogynistic, perhaps. Innocent bystanders could get hurt."

Jeremy was quiet for a moment. "You're not mad about having to go get me or anything?"

"You wanna help entertain the troops at the substitute battles tomorrow?"

Jeremy wasn't following him.

"We suggested they have a coed capture-the-flag battle or two tomorrow night instead of the raid that got busted tonight."

"Uhm, I'll have to ask Stephanie what she thinks. I don't think she'd be happy if I went without her."

"If she's up for it, I could use an ally or two."

"You aren't mad."

"Just be careful about the time, and what you do together. They say all's fair, but love is not always safe." Karel gave him a hug and said, "Sleep tight."

Jeremy and Stephanie joined the battles the following night with several of the most of the crowd that seemed to want to behave like they weren't at a Church college and several of the RAs. There was some grumbling as they started, especially at the warning to play gently because it was a mixed gender game. But the excitement of the mock hunt in the dusk and the opportunity to chase members of the opposite sex seemed to partially mitigate the complaints.

At about ten thirty, the RAs called the battles in and sent the students back to the dorms. They checked for stragglers, warned them about curfews, and returned to the dorms, themselves.

"How was it?" Karel asked Stephanie and Jeremy on his way inside.

"We had fun," Stephanie said. "I'd never done that before."

"She captured two flags."

"Not without your help."

"Thanks for inviting us."

"Thanks for helping out. Curfew's midnight tonight, but don't be too late."

They both said they would watch the time, and Karel went inside.

Since our four friends were really busy, they remained as alternates on the folk dance team, and the team recruited a replacement for Kelly.
However, since they were on the team at the start of the semester, they registered for the team's class instead of another dance class. Bobbie was a little disappointed, because Karel, Kristie, and even Dan had all expressed interest in taking modern dance.

Kelly and Joel wrote each other, and Joel kept the team updated on Kelly's progress with the language.

"Hey Joel, I saw Kelly at the cafeteria today. She waved."
"Yeah. I'm eating elsewhere so we don't accidentally meet. She says in her letters the language is coming along, but she's sure wishing the visa would come through."

"Any guess on the time?" someone asked.

"Maybe two more weeks."

And someone else asked, "How's she doing on the scriptures?"

"Says she's enjoying the Book of Mormon. Much more interesting now. And she took some of her preparation time this week to read Hosea."

"What did she think?"

"She says she thinks gets the symbolism now. And she no longer thinks the Lord is telling her she's a bad girl every time she reads the word, 'repent'."

"Wonderful! That can be so hard to get over."

Their stake presidents recommended the four of them be called as temple workers.

"You wanted to see me, Bishop Green?"

"Kristie. Glad to see you. Come in, come in. Have a chair. Make yourself comfortable."

Kristie sat down. "What did you want to see me about?"

"You and your three friends go to the temple pretty regularly."


"We have decided to ask you to become a temple worker."

"You mean, check recommends at the door?"

"I think that's one of the things you'll be asked to do. But you may also be asked to help out in the ordinances themselves."


"What do you think. Are you willing to do it?"

"Are Bobbie and Karel and Dan also being called to do this?"

"Depends on their bishops is all I can say."

Karel and Bobbie had regular meetings with the supervising professors.

"Hi, Melissa."

"Oh, Bobbie. Neither of your professors is here yet. Can you wait?"

"I'm early. I thought Karel would be, too. How are things going?"

"Oh, good and not so good." Melissa put her hand on her stomach.

"Morning sickness?"

She nodded.

"May I?" Bobbie put her hand out.

Melissa laughed. "Nothing to feel yet." But she took Bobbie's hand and placed it on her belly.

"Not yet." Bobbie agreed.

"Winn has troubles at work."

Karel came in the door as Bobbie sat down. "Troubles at work? What kind?" he asked as he sat down beside her.

"I'm not sure. He won't tell me. Except the boss is talking about not being able to pay wages next month."

"Oh, dear."

"I guess this is where the trials come in? The home teachers have been warning us that all new members have trials."

"Maybe. Anybody who tries to change for the better is generally going to find some opposition. Losing a job is not necessarily one of the usual trials, though."

Bobbie gave Karel a look of appreciation. "Have you talked with his boss?" she asked.

"Yes. He said something about the usual orders not coming in, and that the company is looking at branching out in new directions. He wants all the employees to skip wages every other month for a half a year so that he can invest the money in some new business."

Bobbie and Karel looked at each other.

"Who all have you talked with about it?" Bobbie asked.

"My home teachers, family, some professors here, the bishop, some friends. But it's hard to talk about it when I don't even know what the new business is."

"Does Winn?"

"He won't tell me whether he knows or not."

"And the boss wouldn't tell you?"

"He says to trust him. He's a former bishop."

"What does that have to do with anything?" Karel asked, a bit sharply.

Bobbie looked a little surprised at Karel's small outburst.

Melissa continued, hesitantly, "He said, 'Once a bishop, always a bishop.'"

"Last time I heard a former bishop tell me I should trust him because he was a former bishop, he was in trouble. He was selling something to people who shouldn't have been buying what he was selling."

Bobbie said, "Well, I know I don't necessarily trust all bishops, but they generally don't call people you can't trust."

"Stewardships have limits. A true steward won't assume responsibilities outside his current stewardship."

Bobbie looked troubled.

Melissa looked troubled, too. "Oh dear, I'm causing another fight."

"Karel, maybe I have doubts about this, too, but, should you judge a man so quickly and harshly?"

Both Bobbie and Karel were praying in their hearts.

Karel looked for a more moderate position. "Anyway, I'd suggest you ask Winn to pray with you about what to do."

Bobbie said, "I can agree with that."

Professor White came to the door. "Sorry to be late."

"Thanks for letting me talk about it."

"Sure. And take care of yourself."

Melissa smiled and put her hand on her stomach. "Okay."

As they followed Professor White, Karel quietly asked Bobbie, "Is, I mean, are they, ...?".

And Bobbie nodded without saying a word.

"What a time to be worrying about work."

The next time they went to the temple, when they presented their recommends at the door, they were shown in to a different room than the usual one. Other newly called temple workers were waiting there, as well. Soon, the temple presidency greeted them.

And even if I knew what their instruction consisted of, I couldn't tell you much. But they did start with simple things, like checking recommends at the door and guiding other visitors in the temple from one place to another.

"Kelly's visa came in!" Joel seemed as excited as if it were his own.

"When does she leave?"

"She's already left. Her next letter will be from her first assigned area."

Karel stood up, looked around the lounge, and said, "I really don't want to play the heavy, here, but too many guys have been way too close to the girls they are with for way too long. Let's all stand up and stretch and repeat a favorite verse from the scriptures."


"You gotta be kidding."

"Hey, what could it hurt? I'll quote from Song of Solomon."

Karel shook his head half in disbelief, chuckling. "Do you remember it?"

"Wait, I'll go get it."

When he came back down with his scriptures, everyone was waiting, expectantly.

"I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem," he started, looking at Karel.

"Nice one." he looked at the young men and women around him. "Just make sure we don't wake Solomon up when he's finished."

"I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please."

Laughter ensued.

"I think the mood has lightened a bit. Carry on."

Somehow, the mood had lightened significantly.

Someone started a game of the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Others gathered around to read the Song of Solomon.

Karel listened in for a few minutes, and said, "Some people accept the Song of Solomon as a metaphorical description of the love of Jesus for the Church. Be careful not to treat it too lightly."

"But, ..." and one women quoted a verse.

"If you don't like people making fun of our temples, don't make fun of what they believe in."

"I can't understand it."

"You don't need to."

"What about you?"

"I don't need to understand their belief, either."

Several times during the third semester, our four friends' bishops called them each in and interviewed them, trying to appraise their progress towards their eternal goals and encouraging them. They were each honest with their bishops, and I won't tell you what they said. It's their business, not ours.

The upshot of it was apparently that they were waiting for something they couldn't quite put their fingers on.

The link to the next of the characterization chapters will be here when it's ready is here:

(The chapter index is here:

Popular Posts