Tag: Barndale

Darn cold

Darn cold

The air conditioning is broken. It won’t shut off.

It’s like a box at the top of the wall right next to Wally’s office. In the evening we shut it off with a remote controller, but the batteries in it died and we didn’t have anymore, so Barndale and I decided to grab a ladder, climb up there, and shut it off manually.

I held the ladder as Barndale went up. “What button do I even press?” he asked me.

“I have no idea,” I said, having no idea.

“I don’t even know which one to press,” he added in distress.

“The power button.”

“I don’t even know what even that one is!”

He pressed a sequence of three or four buttons in rapid, aggressive succession, but the air system didn’t sound any different.

He pressed another button, and a loud beep! rang out. My hands clamped onto my ears, and I stumbled to my knees in pain, head still ringing. Barndale fell to the warehouse floor.

The fans started blowing harder and harder, the whirring louder and louder. Wally walked out of his office to find out what was going on, and on seeing us on the ground he asked if we were okay.

“Air!” I shouted to him, and he seemed to pick up what I was suggesting. He opened the big door. Then he came over, picked me up–I fought him, but my head hurt too much to stop him–and carried me out into the chilly October breeze and onto the warehouse’s rough front lawn.

“What are you doing?” I cried as he dropped me.

“You need air! Air! You said you need air!”

“No, the air conditioning is broken!”


“The air conditioning! I think it’s broken!”

“I better call the fire department!” he shouted, and then ran back inside.

Within a matter of minutes the fire truck came, and three big firemen* stepped out.

“How may we assist you?” the first one asked.

Wally ran up to him in fear. “Our air conditioning is going crazy! I don’t know what to do. Our utility bill is going to go through the roof–that is, if somebody doesn’t do something about all of our heat, a la the laws of thermodynamics and whatever.”

“Air conditioning you say?” he replied. “I’m afraid we strictly specialize in fires. If you have trouble with heating and cooling, however, I can’t recommend Aunty VAC’s enough. They’re located on West Denali Street just past the polo club.”

“Denali St.? Got it! Thank you for your help.”

“Is there anything else we can do to make your stay more comfortable?” he asked.

“What? No. Thank you, no.”


The three firemen jumped back into their truck and drove away.

Wally drove off to check out their recommendation. He returned with the Aunty VAC’s service van. He lead the lady over to the AC unit to assess the problem.

I sort of stopped paying attention while it was getting fixed. What I got out of it, though, was that Barndale pushed one of the buttons too hard and broke the panel, and something got moved inside that made the thermostat think the temperature was too high. After the repairs, we were assessed $130 in fees. The lady asked us to sign a petition against forced disease prevention services and then left.

In the late evening as the sun died down, however, we noticed that it was only getting colder. The fans weren’t blowing any longer, but we couldn’t stand it any longer, so I grabbed a big space heater from the supply closet and turned it on.

Only too little too late did I remember an old science lesson from school–that cold air is drier than warm air. I must have set up the heater in the wrong spot, because before we knew it there was an actual fire. The fire department came back again, and Wally felt the need to explain himself to the same group of three who had shown up earlier. Finally, after he was done talking, they put out the fire.

I learned several things today:

1. Don’t play around with air conditioning. Just because it has buttons on it doesn’t mean you have to press them all.

2. Don’t be afraid to call the fire department for help. They’re actually quite friendly.

3. You will never use what you learned in middle school again for the rest of your life. And you’ll suffer for it.

And I suppose I could add a fourth:

4. Never trust Wally in an emergency.


*I apologize for the use of non-inclusive terminology used here. I should not have needlessly specified that the firemen were big.


The bad cheese story

Some time between Monday night and this morning, someone dropped off several thousand pounds of Swiss cheese at our door.

We did not want to sell it. It had already half-melted in the morning’s warmth and began to smell rather bad. Transitioning it to a place inside, so that we could get the forklift in and out, took a fair struggle that required all-hands-on-deck and an early vegan lunch.

Wally went into his little office and reviewed last-night’s security footage. After twenty minutes emerged, we got the news:

“Someone was definitely here last night,” he informed us.

We all pretended to be shocked.

“It was a big, burnt-reddish van that stopped by at 4:15 in the morning. Two guys jumped out and unloaded the Swiss faster than a flapjack on the 4th of July. It was actually pretty cool watching how fast they moved. I was impressed. Angered, but impressed.”

“Did you catch a company name on the van?” I asked.

“Oh, you know what? That’s a pretty good idea. I guess I should’ve been looking for that, but there’s just a lot on my mind right now with the holiday and all. I’ll check it out.”

He did that, and we opened some windows. We packed some orders that had come in yesterday, but everyone was left anxious by the cheese’s presence.

I tapped on Wally’s office door. He opened up with a note in his hand. “Deer Dairy–they’re the ones who gave us the cheese.”

“What took so long?” I asked, again the one to question authority.

“Huh? I fell asleep. You know, anxiety. Anyway, they’re just down the road, so I’m going to put in a call and see if I can’t figure out what happened last night.”

Unsure if we had the integrity to wait out another elongated period by standing around without getting anything done, Fouvre and I decided to play a round of horseshoes with some spare croquet wickets we had found in a bin for assorted sports equipment. The game ended promptly, though, when the notoriously square BARNDALE Junior asked us what we were doing.

Without any orders coming in or going out, thanks to management’s preoccupation, we began growing indignant, throwing fits, catching drifts, and just being all-around blunderpuffs.

Wondering why Wally’s next task was taking longer than the first, I flipped out my phone and dialed up his office line. After three rings, Wally finally picked up his end of the call and answered:

“This is Wally Walid Washington. How can I help you?”

“Hey, Wally, um… we’re all wondering what’s going on.”

It took five seconds for him to burst out of his room and say, “Oh–Great Scott–I’m sorry. I guess I must’ve drunk something I shouldn’t have. Anyway, uh, they confirmed that they did drop off–this is Deer Dairy–that they dropped off cheese here and that they thought we were Futuristic Coney Island.”

“We don’t look anything Futuristic,” Barndale shouted. “At least we throw our trash out!.”

“I said those exact words,” Wally laughed. “They apologized and said they’d take the cheese back for its proper disposal. I didn’t even know that that was a concern for cheese.”

“Oh, yes,” I said, “cheese is very concerned about apologies.”

However, one hour later, as the cheese was still sitting on our floor and causing irritation, we received a call from the dairy saying that they were done, but our previous estimate of several thousand pounds was way too high.

It became clear what they meant when the suited-up MR. MADGE, owner of Futuristic Coney Island (and several other locally misnamed businesses), pulled his full-size sedan into our drive. Crinkled napkins and paper cups fell from his door as he stormed up to Wally’s office.

“This isn’t funny, Sawyer! You think you can just walk into my place and steal cheese? Yeah, well you can’t! Well, you apparently can, but it’s still not funny!”

Wally opened the door and looked at him.

“Hey,” Mr. Madge said, “you’re not Sawyer! Where’s he hiding?”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know who you’re talking about.”

“Of course you do! He owns this place…!” and then he paused for about twelve seconds, taking a good look at the surroundings. “…This isn’t Deer Dairy, is it?”

“It isn’t.”

Boy, did his expression change real quick. He fixed his tie with one hand and retreated to his car, which in turn retreated to the street and drove away.

This afternoon, a representative of the real Dear Dairy showed up with a cheesecake-gift and informed us that their delivery van’s GPS had been malfunctioning recently. We all had a good laugh and partook of the kindly gift with high spirits.

I realized that Wally wasn’t present by then, though, so I searched the premises for him. He was nowhere to be found. I even briefly interrogated our hoarder coworker, asking if he had kidnapped him. (He said no, but that doesn’t generally mean much.) The mystery, therefore, stood: Who would eat Wally’s piece of cheesecake?

Wally had, in fact, driven home in secret, admitting to himself that he was unable to stay awake anymore. He called the rest of this week off, leaving us plenty of time to clinch our horseshoe prowess.