Chronicles of the heat

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By Robert Villanueva

N-E Newsroom Log 23JL2K13: Last week the personnel environment appeasement unit, which some call “air conditioning,” began malfunctioning on my side of the base of operations.

Despite a day without the adjusted atmosphere provided by the unit, we scraped by, taking breaks as needed to revive ourselves at other locations in The N-E mothership where other P.E.A. units remain intact and functioning. Thanks to the actions of an off-site assistance crew, who managed to provide a temporary repair, we were but a day without atmospheric relief.

But the restoration of the P.E.A. unit was not to last.

Sometime before the newsroom crew reported for duty Monday, we again were without the cooled atmosphere in which our species thrives during these calendar months.

As I write this, the Bringers of Cool are working in the ceiling space above me, trying to restore the precious atmospheric balance. I’m not sure how long we can hold out.

The alien atmosphere some have taken to calling “heat” has invaded our base of operations. We have been forced to outfit our area with archaic devices that propel air so as to provide a current resembling our naturally cool environment.

These “fans,” as they are known, are mollifying at best.

While the Bringers of Cool dedicatedly work in that alien atmosphere with fervent ardor of their esteemed craft, I fear for their safety as well. As they climb up into the belly of the beast, I half expect them to be vaporized.

These surely are brave men.

The morale of the crew is fair, regardless of the conditions. Somehow they hold steadfast as they face the threat of the invading enemy, this thing called heat.

They have not always been so brave. During the first day of Unit Down, I heard cries of “I’m melting! I’m melting!”

OK, maybe that was just me.

But certainly the fear is discernable in their eyes. They have hollow, pleading looks, and often, upon receiving orders to perform work-related duties that require them to travel outside our base of operations to locations with fully-functioning P.E.A. units, many of them have squealed with glee.

OK, again, that might have been just me.

However, the severity of the situation cannot be overstated.
Time ticks away at a slow boil as the Bringers of Cool toil. They are our only hope.

At the risk of seeming paranoid, I can’t help but speculate: What if the so-called heat is coming from inside this building?

Even now I can feel the grip of this heat on my shirt collar, fitting its fiery phalange around my neck in an effort to envelope me in its sizzling clutch.

I think I saw beads of sweat on a fellow crew member. It is not pretty to see sweat on foreheads and even less so when it soaks through various articles of clothing.

Soon the odors will arrive.

Antiperspirant only goes so far.

This heat is ferocious.

It surrounds us. It knows what scares us.

I can only hope the Bringers of Cool are not too late. I shudder to think of the possible loss of my fellow crew members due to vaporizing.

That would be a bummer.

This week’s slightly cooler exterior atmosphere is somewhat helpful, but I don’t kid myself. I know what could happen under these circumstances.

I know madness often accompanies this heat. Already I’ve heard talk of shorts and tank tops. I fear we are close to the edge.

So I will hang on, as we all must. Perhaps this will be my last entry.
Or maybe the Bringers of Cool will prevail, as I must believe they will.

In any case, if you found me on duty at your residence or place of business this week, and if that residence or place of business had a cooling unit, you might have noticed I lingered. I wasn’t being creepy.

It just means the Bringers of Cool had not yet completed their mission.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.