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.