Heatwave

Posted: July 31, 2013 in Mystery, Science Fiction
Tags: , , , , ,

Heatwave2013 was at least weather wise a bunch of extremes.  First the snowstorms.  Even major cities were at least briefly overwhelmed by tons of snow.  Then – thanks to the rising temperatures and incessant rainfalls – came the inundations.  Landscapes transformed into lakes, cities ‘lost’ their paved streets, houses ‘lost’ their cellars and ground floors.  People lost their belongings.  It took months to repair, restore, remunerate – at least partially – all that had been affected.  Weeks later, the heatwave began.

Temperatures were well above the average, the humidity was quite uncomfortable.  Air conditioning equipment was soon sold out.  Those without air conditioning in their flats could hardly sleep.  Despite prior wishes to having a real warm summer, people started complaining – at least inwardly.  Life in Willowsend was pretty slow.  The office managers whose offices did not have air conditioning allowed siesta from 12:00  to 3:00 pm.  All shops were running out of water – as soon as the delivery van opened its doors, the customers pried all bottles out of the driver’s hands and hurried home.

The weatherman was the most important guy in the news.  Every hour, the Willowsend population prayed for good news like rain and/or even thunderstorms – to no avail.  All Willowsenders were tired, grouchy, cranky, etc.  On the ninth evening, the phone at the police station rang.  Detective Cody Lang could hardly understand the hysteric voice at the other end.  “Please, sir, calm down.  What’s your name?  What has happened?”  The other party calmed down.  It was the bank director, telling him, that the box with Tradeit bills to be destroyed had been broken into – and emptied.  “We’ll be there in 5!”  Cody signalled his partner Devon Underwood to follow him.  On the way he rang Deb Collins, their crime scene specialists, asking her to join them at the bank.

As Cody and Devon reached the bank, Deb just parked her car, grabbed her crime scene gear and joined them.  A preoccupied looking employee introduced himself as Herb Arnold and ushered them hastily inside.  James Ruben, the director was marching up and down in front of the vault, desperately wringing his hands.  His normally impeccably combed hair was dishevelled, he looked ill.  “This is unbelievable!”  To prevent the director from continuing his monologue, Cody asked for the surveillance tapes.  Herb led them to the security office where they were greeted by Cass Farr.  She explained that the vault was electronically locked and opened automatically at predetermined times, meaning it was opened at 10:00 am, 2:00 pm, and 6:00 pm for 15 minutes, respectively.  The tapes showed James and Herb entering and leaving, having not been near the box in question at all.  Only at 6:05 pm, James wanted to pack some damaged Tradeit bills into the box.  They all watched as he unlocked the box, opened it, and – gasped for air.  Then they saw Herb dragging James out before the vault closed.

“We need to collect evidence!” – “This will have to wait until 10:00 am.  We cannot override the automatism.  This is only possible in cases of emergency.” – “And you wouldn’t consider this a case of emergency?!” – “We would have had to press the emergency button.”  None of the bank employees dared to look.  “Well, I can at least check, if the lock has been tampered with.”  Deb started to powder the vault’s door.  “Be prepared to provide your prints, please.”  There were only the employees’ prints at the vault’s door.  The next morning, when Deb tested the box in question, only James’ prints were found.  The case was never solved.  Tradeit bills amounting to 125,000 Ti were lost forever.

A fortnight later, the heatwave came to an end.  Willowsend and its inhabitants returned to normal.

28 years later, Joe Danby was sitting in his favourite spot in the garden, enjoying the early morning sun, and some of his wife’s awesome coffee.  His 8 year old grandson Luke ran around the impressive garden.  He liked hiding between the trees, climbing them, dipping his feet in the pond, playing with Conor, his grandfather’s Golden Retriever.  After running around for an hour, Luke got thirsty and ran to his grandfather to help himself to some home made lemonade.  He was happy.  “Grandpa, please, tell me a story!”  Joe smiled.  “Oh Luke, I have a story for you.  But we absolutely need to keep this story to ourselves.” – “I promise!  Cross my heart…”  Joe positioned himself comfortably.

“The year 2013 brought us an incredible heatwave.  All Willowsenders were desperate.  Only few houses had air conditioning, water supplies were scarce, and prices for it rose to incredible heights.  I was an apprentice in a chemical laboratory, at that time.  I didn’t have much money, then.  It was nearly impossible to buy at least the most necessary stuff.  I had rented a tiny flat in the back of a farm house.  It was very sticky in my room.  Sleep just wouldn’t come.  In the eighth night I heard something strange.  As I couldn’t sleep, I decided to take a look.  To feel better, I took a baseball bat with me.  Behind the barn, in the middle of the wheat field, there was a strange little vehicle.  It had a greyish shimmer.  A long-legged guy with an also greyish shimmering skin was rumbling under the hood.  ‘What are you doing there?’, I innocently asked.  The guy hit his head at the vehicle’s hood and cursed.  I could see, that he had big black eyes and was completely bald.  Creepy.  My neck hairs stood up.  The guy looked me over and – transformed.  He was now my spitting image, including the baseball bat.  I watched him incredulously.  ‘Can I help you somehow?’, I whispered.  ‘I need fuel’, he replied.  ‘What does your vehicle need?’  He told me.  It was something I could create at the laboratory.  I asked him, how much he would need.  He told me, and asked me, if there was something that he could do for me.  I had an idea.  I asked him, if he could transform into something invisible as well.  Instead of answering, he transformed into something that seemed like shimmering air.  I explained what I wanted him to do – and he agreed.  Next morning, I went to the laboratory and created the required amount of ‘fuel’.  Four litres of this concoction would last him a year.  We met after sunset.  I handed him his ‘fuel’ and he handed me damaged Tradeit bills, worth 125,000 Ti.  Then he filled the ‘fuel’ in his vehicle’s tank and set off.”

Joe paused and drank more coffee.  “What about the money, Grandpa?”

“I had told my extraterrestrial contact, that there was a box containing damaged Tradeit bills in the bank vault.  As these bills were destined to be destroyed, I did not feel that it would be such a bad crime at all.  As this guy could transform into shimmering air, he could not be detected by the human eye, not even by the motion detectors.  He flowed in the vault with the bank director who was distracted while opening the box, flowed in the box, surrounded the bills, flowed out – and that was that.  Thanks to this money, I could finally propose to your grandmother.  We worked diligently, saved, and could finally buy this house.”

“This is awesome, grandpa!”  Luke patted Conor and smiled up at his grandfather.  “You are always supporting people in need, you put up an animal shelter, fight against racism, etc.  I am very proud that I am your grandson.” – “Thank you, Luke.  And not a word to anybody, all right?!”  Grandfather and grandson smiled at each other and hugged.

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