August 19, 2018

No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

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Their ranks swollen by the addition of a fourth member as irresolute as themselves,
the Geezers, as they are affectionately called by other residents of Doodlebug Island,
lolled on the grassy banks of Oak Creek, taking the sun and paying only scant attention to
their lines.

“Fellows,” said Frank Gadston, “our credit is all used up, Spud’s and Fred’s social
security checks aren’t due for a week, and our treasury amounts to little more than these
poles and the clothes on our back. We gotta do somethin’ fast!”

“We could maybe resurrect that idea you had about starting an escort service for older
single women,” interjected Chad Spillman, known better as ‘Spud.’

“Oh, not that again. We saved ourselves from a huge embarrassment when we gave
that up.”

“Well then, maybe we could consider doin’ something close to it. One or two, and
mebbe all of us, might think of getting married,” said Spud. “I know, it’s a pitiful shame
that it’s come to this, but we’ve got to have income, and marrying widows with money
might be our ticket.”

“You’ve got to be kidding! Trade perfect freedom for the shackles of a wife, her
extended family, and responsibility?” howled Bond Vandemere, indignantly. I’ll starve
first!”

“I don’t mind the idea of a wife so much as I do the interference it poses to things the
way they are now.” Spud’s lamenting response bore testimony to the sadness he felt. “It’s
so perfect, so . . . .” His voice trailed off into an offended silence.

“Well,” said newcomer Fred Kormish, “we could take jobs and earn a little money.”

“We could take what?” Bond raised himself on one elbow, his face wreathed in shock.

“And do what?” cried Frank in almost the same instant. “Fred, you’re a decent enough
fellow, and we’re glad to have your company, but, well, you haven’t been with us long
enough to blaspheme like that in our presence.”

“I was just offering a suggestion.”

“Suggestions of that kind lost traction a good many years ago. We’ve given up the
inhibitions of employment in the interest of living creatively.”

“You mean . . .?”

“Exactly! We’re ornaments in creation’s cornucopia, the beneficiaries of abundance,
the children of a caring civilization. In short, we live by our wits.”

“Which means we go hungry and do without much of the time,” added Spud,
laconically.

Made tired by the strain of productive thinking and warmed by the heat of a late
spring day, the four stalwarts lay contentedly gazing at the fleecy white clouds that
floated overhead like sun-lit angels. Their lines bobbed from time to time, but no one
noticed nor cared.

“We are the true ‘lilies of the field’ who don’t concern ourselves with spinning nor
weaving,” said Frank, idly chewing a blade of grass. “but right now we could do with
some of Solomon’s glory. Anyway, some of his finances.”

“Well, fellows, I heard of a scheme we might consider,” replied Fred. “It’s not
original, you understand, it’s been tried before. The only difference is that for us, well,
whichever way it comes out don’t matter. Our future is assured either way.”

“Let’s hear it,” said Spud, indifferently.

“We hold up a bank in Sedona!”

“You outa yore mind?” exploded Bond. “How did we come by your membership in
this club anyway?”

“You don’t understand,” said Fred, defensively, “It’s a perfect retirement plan. We
hold up the bank, and, if we get away with the proceeds, we live on that;; if we don’t, we
live at public expense.”

“Most likely the latter,” replied Frank, lazily. “Fred, we’re not unmindful of your
wanting to help, but thoughts of being locked up puts a new face on notions of
desperation and hard times. We’ve gotta pass.”

Another silence ensued during which the only sound was of dragonflies mating in the
nearby reeds. Eventually, Spud was moved to speak: “Talkin’ and plannin’ needs to be
done on a full stomach, and right now I’m ready to abandon whatever passes for either
one in favor of whatever passes for food.”

“Well, there’s a fish been tryin’ to get himself caught on your line for the last ten
minutes. S’pose you oblige him while I get a fire goin’.” Frank stood, stretched, and
turned in the direction of Pastor Morgan’s nearby woodpile. “Afterward, repentance
being a convenient substitute for worthy intentions, maybe we can filch the pie the good
Pastor’s wife has got coolin’ in yon kitchen window.”

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