Frog Fork had a good thing going with their winter-hours-only ice cream parlor. And their silent noon whistle, which alerted the workers at the Window Blind Dust Factory (also popular for use on base boards and door frames) that they might be thinking of starting their 8 a.m. shift.
All this came to an end with the unexpected popularity of Mel’s Melted Ice. Workers from nearby Fish of the Woods had to be imported to keep up with demand. Natives were alarmed when the noon whistle was inexplicably made to sound, indicating an actual noon break instead of a time to think of rising from slumber.
By unspoken argument, it was decided that someone must silence the whistle and unmelt the ice.
Fatally flawed heroes being plentiful in Frog Fork, a committee of one was appointed by itself to consider a roster of candidates who did not wish to perform either task. The roster contained a single name written in permanently invisible unreadable ink. Thus free to choose absolutely anyone, the committee became deadlocked after heated discussion; when the vote was tallied, the total was 0 to 0, the committee member having been unable to reach consensus with himself.
Everyone agreed that this was a most satisfactory outcome. Despite this opinion, the whistle sounded the next day, and the ice remained melted.
A private investigator for public affairs declared that he would unmelt the ice by himself without any help whatsoever. He demonstrated his ability to do so by gathering a fractious group of individuals who, when instructed to misinform and interfere, offered advice and assistance. In short order and after several days, they decided not to bathe the ice in the output of nighttime solar collectors or daytime moonlight collectors, then proceeded to do exactly that, which nonetheless completely failed to return the ice to its unmelted state.
Everyone was less sanguine about this outcome. Sleep loss had become a serious problem, despite the dispensing of Extreme Sleep Aids (“Now with Energy Boost!”) by the local international chapter of Physicians Within Borders.
By silent disagreement, a celebratory party was scheduled for the following day, and planning for the party was scheduled for the day after that.
In preparation, the newly formed Citizens Without Country (long-time rivals of Physicians Within Borders) undertook the beautification of the recently constructed Town Hallway located centrally on the town’s outskirts. To freshen the exterior without having to actually paint, they poured Ever-Rust Paint into an Exploding Descending Anti-Weather Balloon, tethered the balloon high above the building, and, exhausted by the morning’s work, gave up, and went out to dinner shortly before 10 a.m.
Physicians Within Borders, overstimulated by an excess of sleep medicine and the large balloon bobbing in the breeze, took it upon themselves to one-up their rivals’ preparations. They lengthened the balloon’s tether to tie it in excitingly dangly loops around the artfully exposed underground electrical wires that ran on poles above the street. They decorated the tether and the poles and the loops with shiny cubes of easy-shatter glass. They sprayed mosquito and fly attractant downwind to clear the party area of pests. They filled the Dry Punch bowl. Then they ran out of energy and went home to ingest more sleep medicine.
Shortly before noon the next day, the wind shifted direction. Swarms of mosquitoes and flies peppered the area like BBs, shattering the glass cubes and agitating the Exploding Descending Balloon, which, buoyed by the rising wind, yanked hard on the electrical wires and promptly burst, showering Ever-Rust Paint into the air.
At the very moment that the paint was falling downward in a more-or-less concentrated mass, the electrical wiring on the poles tore loose and power surged through the lines. The noon whistle, which was at that precise second poised to blow, blew. Propelled by the surge of electrical power, the whistle snapped free of its moorings and plowed straight into the descending Ever-Rust Paint, which immediately corroded the Easy-Break Metal of which it was made.
And Mel’s Melted Ice? The electrical surge cut the power to the hot boxes containing the melted ice, but had no effect on Mel’s personal-sized industrial freezer in which the hot boxes were stored.
Citizens celebrated by not attending the party.