Too Hot to Cold
Joanne Faries
August, hotter than a jalapeno popper, burned from the outside in. At first we welcomed that hair dryer breeze at night. It caressed wind chimes, called us outside to frolic in the public fountain. Then it blew steady, ruffled curtains, but didn't cool us. We reveled in summer sensations until it grew tiresome - sweat on the brow, trickles down the back.   

Planet Betty vehicles were not air-conditioned like on Earth. Rolled down windows and irksome stickiness led to rude hand gestures in the traffic circle. First come, first serve ruled at Ariel's frozen custard stand.   

Her business appeared on Front Street, the day the temperature climbed to seventy. Little girls in sleeveless dresses, shirtless boys, and folks who had packed flip-flops from the old world chatted in line, eager for a custard treat. Prices climbed with the heat, but we were hooked on swirl cones.   

Trapped in a milky miasma, we discussed rumors that Ariel Martin graduated from MIT, helped program the planet's climate, and saw a future in ice-cold treats on steamy August nights.   

Sammy's Shaved Ice offered formidable competition, until Sammy was found dead from heat stroke. Pockets of hot air stifled Ike's Ice Cream Store and Pappy's Popsicle Plaza. The Planet's Terra Temp crew riled our August angst.   

Yet we knew the temperature would ease in a month. A new stand appeared at Oak Street, its sign beckoned - Coming Soon: Hot Chocolate Hut. Small print read A. Martin, proprietor.  

First published: August, 2012
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