On the way back to Pasadena, George and Terry talked about the logistics of moving.
“How much stuff do you have in that trailer?” terry asked.
“Oh, not much, really. Some spare VW parts, a tired old broken down sofa, a TV, my instrument and stand and light and other music stuff, two straight chairs and a couple of folding chairs, some dishes and pots and pans, whatever food’s in the fridge, and Isolde’s and my clothes. That’s pretty much it. Most of the rest of the stuff in there came with the place. Oh – and the mouse.”
“Oh, yes. We mustn’t forget the mouse. What makes you think you can domesticate a field mouse?”
“Well, I don’t know if domesticate is exactly the right word. I figure I can keep him out of trouble, though, and he can die of old age. I remember reading somewhere that mice only live for a couple of years, at most.”
“That’s in the wild, where predators and disease take their natural toll. In captivity, they have been known to live up to ten years. Are you prepared to take on that kind of commitment?”
“What are my choices? I trapped ‘im, so now his life is in my hands. The rescuer is as beholden to the rescuee, as vice versa.”
“That sounds like Taoist philosophy,” said Terry.
“Actually, I think it was Lao Tze whom, I believe started off following the teachings of Confucius. So maybe he didn’t think of it first.”
“Now that you say it, I think you’re right. How did you come to know about those guys?” Terry asked.
“Well, it’s a long story. When we were starving, and Mom was not getting any help from either my dad or the state, she said that the Judeo-Christian idea of God must be mistaken, because He would never let that happen to people who didn’t deserve it. I don’t think she ever read Job, but anyway, she got all pissed off at the church, and started looking around for some other place to worship on Sundays. There was this group – a Humanist organization that called itself The Baltimore Ethical Society. So she started attending their services. Well – I was just a kid, I guess I must have been about eight or nine, and the Sunday School program was based on the idea that kids should be able to make an informed decision as to what religion, if any, they wanted to accept. So the Sunday school had a curriculum that taught all the major belief systems. They started with the Druids, and the Norse Gods – Thor and all those, then, as the kids progressed, they learned about the Egyptian Gods, the Greek and Roman Gods, and so on, up to modern religions. Along the way, they read selections from Confucius, Lao Tze, The Bahagvad Gita, The Koran, the Old and New Testaments, and even Plato and Socrates. By the time I was fourteen or so, I knew more comparative religion than most college graduates.” George said. “Except, maybe Saint Johnnies,” he added, and laughed.
“Yeah, well those guys are a breed unto themselves, that’s for sure,” Terry agreed.
“Well, look at their required readings. And they don’t just read that stuff – they discuss it, and have to do papers on it. You’d be a little strange too, if you spent a semester on St. Thomas A Kempis.”
“A Kempis? Who’s he? I’ve heard of St. Thomas Aquinnis, but not A Kempis.”
“Oh, he was a Reformation Jesuit Priest. He came up with, among other things, the concept of Good Works, that John Calvin glommed onto, and that eventually became The Puritans and later, The New England Congregationalists.”
“I thought you said you were a Music Major. Where’d you get all this history background. Don’t forget to turn left up here.”
“Got it. Well, I thought history was kind of interesting – even considered changing majors for a while there, so I took a lot of history courses. How come you know about the oriental philosophies and all that? Was it required reading for an Ag degree?”
Terry laughed. “Not hardly. I was fed up with having to confess my sins, and was dating a girl who was majoring in Philosophy. We used to have long discussions about what she called my ‘quest for the Holy Grail’.”
“Just out of sheer curiosity, what did you settle on?”
“My favorite of the bunch is Reformed Judaism. But I’m not actively practicing, so I like to think of myself as a reformed Reformed Jew. It comes in handy when I want to use words such as ‘schlep’ and ‘macher’. Until I became a reformed Jew, I wasn’t allowed to say those things, because I lacked the proper ethnic background.”
“Okay – Now you’re putting me on.”
“Well yeah, the last part about using Yiddish. The rest is all straight up, though.”
George pulled into the driveway next to Terry’s jeep.
“I just had a thought,” Terry said. “We can haul all the big stuff – both yours and mine in one trip, if we use the tractor and the hay wagon. Then we could each get the small stuff individually, and have all this done by tonight.”
“I think that is a great idea. For tomorrow, that is. I don’t want to be that exhausted tonight.”
“Oh yeah. I hadn’t thought of that.”
George laughed. “Of course not, but I’ll bet if I had suggested it tomorrow you would have.”
“You bet your ass I would have,” Terry said and grinned. Then they both laughed.
“You know what, George? I like you. You have a damned good sense of humor.”
“If you can’t laugh at yourself, no matter how serious or honest your feelings on the subject are, then shame on you,” George said.
“I can’t get over how laid back you are,” Terry said. “I think I’d be hopping mad.”
“Oh, that was my first reaction when I saw what was up, but then I realized all that would do is make things more difficult. So I decided I was gonna play stupid, and pretend I didn’t know you two were doing it. But our discussion Saturday, and Isolde’s announcement kinda blew that idea out of the water. Since it’s fait accompli
I figure I better make the best of it. Well, the best way to do that is to find our common ground, and be friends.”
“I see your point. I think you are smarter than I am, because I didn’t think of all that.”
“Oh, if the shoe’d been on the other foot, you probably would have. Thing is, I had time to think about it, while you were busy trying to figure out how to get into her pants.”
“Why were you so sure we were going to wind up doing it? It seems like you don’t trust her.”
“I trust her completely, but I know her. So I trust her to do what I know what she is going to. Oh, she always has her own twist to whatever it is – like the idea of living together as a trio, instead of sneaking around behind my back – and I can never predict what it will be, but the end result is the same. In this particular case, she winds up having us both, which is exactly what I expected her to do.”
“Well, I don’t know how all this is going to work out, exactly. I used the “L” word last night, and this morning, I still feel it, only stronger. Thing is, she used it too, but I know she loves you. Is it possible to love more than one person at a time? I don’t know, but I’m sure I can’t give any good reason why it isn’t.”
“Well – I think it is. I do not think the human animal is basically monogamous. I think that concept is something that was dreamt up by people who were greedy, and continued by people who wanted to use religion to keep others at bay, and their partners afraid to rebel.”
“I think you right about that – look at what happened during the Crusades. The soldiers who went off to fight – the moneyed ones, that is – invented chastity belts to keep their women from being able to screw around while they were gone. And look at the marriage vows: every major religion has some version of “love, honor, and obey” in the women’s vows, and “love, honor, and cherish” in the men’s.”
“Well, Terry, I’m gonna load up my car and head back – do you need me to come over to your place to help you with anything?”
“Can’t think of it. I don’t own anything I can’t handle myself, except mattresses, and I don’t see any point in taking them. The mattresses at the cab….at the house are in pretty good shape, so I’m just gonna leave the two in the farmhouse where they are. Tell you what, though - I have a ’56 Chevy pickup in the barn, that I’ve been messing with for the past couple months, trying to get it in shape to drive. If I get back to the house in time, think we could tow it over with the Jeep?”
“Sure, but if all our tools are gonna live at the park, wouldn’t it be better to tow it there”
“I don’t want to flat-tow it over the bridge. I’m gonna call somebody with a roll back truck to come get it from here after we get ourselves settled into the work there.”
After George and Terry left, Isolde went up to her bedroom to strip the bed and wash the sheets. I’m gonna need more sets, she thought to herself. In fact, I’m gonna train those guys to strip the bed each morning, and to fold and save their set. We can’t be washing a load of sheets every day. The water and electric bills will be sky high. And the wear and tear on the sheets will be pretty harsh, too. I want a set for myself, too, for those times I choose to sleep alone. This three-people-living-together business gets more complicated by the minute. Speaking of which, I wonder if there is any way I can keep George from coming so quickly? I remember reading about that somewhere once – where was it? I doubt if it was in Cosmopolitian, or anything like that, ‘cause I would have shown it to him right then. I must have read it before I knew him. OH! I remember – it was in one of my brother’s Playboy magazines, in the Advisor section. I wonder if I can find it online? Oh, mercy – what year would that have been. Let’s see I’m thirty five, and I was about 12 when I started masturbating to his magazines, so that must have been about 1960 or so. I wonder if there’s an index to those articles? Before I go to Easton, I’m gonna stop by that coffee shop in Annapolis and rent a half hour of computer time. I’d better make a list, while I wait for the sheets to dry.
So Isolde made a list of places she had to go, and then made a grocery list. She had to keep checking in the kitchen to see what they didn’t have but needed, so by the time she finished the two lists, the sheets were done. She took them back upstairs and made her bed.
After she finished the bed, she suddenly realized that if she was going to do all those errands, she needed a car. So she looked around in the living room for a phone book. There was one in the drawer of the library table, and she looked up and called the Enterprise office in Annapolis. The car was going to cost $35.00 per day, and she had to put a $200.00 deposit on her credit card. She decided she was going to have to talk to Terry and George about getting a set of wheels, ‘cause that was just gonna be way too much money if she did it very often.
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<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/novels/george-isoldeetc-chapter-xii.aspx">George, Isolde,etc. Chapter XII</a>