Village People

“Okay, we’re in the jungle now,” said Bobby. “What shall we do?”

“Let’s make a village,” said Naomi. “Like the one we live in. We’ll make it really nicely.”

Bobby wondered if he was really here. It seemed so real, but where was he exactly? The last thing he knew for sure was that he was babysitting his niece Naomi, who was making a crazy drawing, and then somehow they were in that drawing. She seemed to think that this was quite normal, and the obvious result of “colouring it in nicely.”

The jungle was overwhelming. Thick green and deep browns filled his vision. There was only one gap, containing a large tree that he’d drawn himself and in whose roots he’d become entangled until rescued by Naomi.

How do you start building a village? How did pioneers pick a good place to plant their seeds of habitation? The obvious answer was to steal it from the extant inhabitants, smart people in touch with the earth, who knew a good game trail or a clean water hole when they saw one. So why not just give them a little push and take their spot?

The problem was that there weren’t any natives in Naomi’s drawing. Or maybe there were and they’d seen settlers already – the usual parade of explorers, missionaries, and traders, performing cartographers’, God’s, and kings’ works. They bore gifts for natives, always undesirable ones, as there was no great demand for bullets, beads, or smallpox. The natives here may well have disappeared.

The village would need some basic services. “Shall we put a shop here?” said Bobby. “And a clinic, and a jail?”

“No!”said Naomi. “Those come later. We need infrastructure first. We want a village that will survive.”

Bobby asked how she knew about infrastructure.

“Every place needs it. We need hard infrastructure like roads and railways, and soft infrastructure like education and health systems.”

“How do you know that?” said Bobby. He was in an imaginary jungle talking to a child about industrial organizational structures. He shook his head in disbelief.

“I go to school, Uncle Bobby. Didn’t you?”

I guess my school wasn’t as good as yours,” he said. “Well, what shall we start with? A road?”

Naomi’s expression showed that she took pity on him. “First of all we need to name the Village. I think we should call it Lucerne. I know that might get confusing for you because there will be the real Lucerne and the one in the drawing, but you’ll get used to it. It’s just like the difference between home and wo…. school.”

He knew that she was about to say “work” but didn’t, knowing that it was a sensitive topic.

She said that to make big changes they needed to get out of the drawing. Trying to build infrastructure while in there would be really hard, as they must do it step by step. For a road, they would need to draw a quarry, then an excavator and crusher, dump trucks to transport the rocks, another excavator to dig the road bed, rolls of filter cloth to line it, then large, medium, and small sizes of gravel, and a compactor and grader to finish. That’s just for a rural road. To seal it would need more machines, tarmac, road cones, construction signs, and traffic personnel. To make it from outside the drawing required you to just draw a road – the quality of the road depending on the quality of your drawing.

To make sense of his situation, Bobby thought back to a seminar he’d attended about the Law of Attraction. It’s obvious really; focussing on positive thoughts causes you to manifest positive outcomes. Like attracts like. The process was popularized by the New Thought Movement of the early 1900’s, but its origins are ancient. Prophets of God performed miracles, and the Law of Attraction has been visible throughout history in the practice of magic. Many are illusionists rather than true magicians, but even they make things appear from nowhere.

“Uncle Bobby, now you can draw a road,” said Naomi.

He drew a paved road a hundred kilometre long, heading along a fertile valley, with a dark volcano at one end, and a white mountain at the other.

“Uncle Bobby, draw a railway,” said Naomi.

He drew parallel tracks running along rivers, creeping around hills, and snaking through mountain passes.

“Uncle Bobby, draw power lines,” said Naomi.

He made poles and pylons, and sub-stations and transformers. Even bright yellow “Danger of Death” signs. Then he drew what he had first wanted to – a store, a clinic, and a jail. Naomi drew factories.

“What will they produce?” he asked.

She said, “I haven’t decided yet. Now can you please draw some more trees? Your poles and sleepers have used up all the jungle.”

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2 Responses to “Village People”

  1. Janet Ouchterlony Says:

    Law of Attraction! It’s the real deal. Great job Babar and who can’t love a story called Village People.

  2. Congratulations on attracting the attention of Lumosity.

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