The Hot Mess

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It was one of those blistering hot summer days that some thought you could crack an egg on the sidewalk and fry it. Others actually tried it and found that a side of bacon fried well too, and had a nice big breakfast that morning. Tires melted. Asphalt oozed.

Dogs and children alike panted for breath. It was a real boilermaker. Paint cracked and peeled back aging the old neighborhood just a bit more. Babies cried and mothers pulled their hair out. Air conditioners chugged out as much cool air as they could but never seemed to be enough. Some fool had a window open and the voice of some senator on C-Span droned on and on about pork barrel spending.

Everyone everywhere was searching for the antidote to this heat wave. Boys went shirtless. Girls wished they could. Everyone, nonetheless, turned to familiar devices to escape the maddening heat. For some it was pools, slip n’ slides and water balloons. For some it was refreshingly cool drinks and treats like ice tea and grandma’s home made ice cream. About the time the ice cream appeared, the day was hotter than hot. And that’s when the arguments arose.

Tensions were already high, it’s true, what with the heat and all, so it was no real surprise that a seemingly simple dilemma could have been solved easily enough with a healthy dose of compromise. But compromise was an ugly word on everyone’s lips this day.

The issue began when two vats of delicious homemade ice cream arrived at the scene with orders from knowing adults directing it to be parceled out to as many as were present. One vat was of the standard vanilla, the other, chocolate; two oldies-but-goodies.

It was quickly seen that there was enough to go around, but only just so. It was also quickly calculated that all would get some, but if everyone had a preference as to whether they got chocolate or vanilla, not all would get their way. Fists clenched, emotions flared, speeches ensued. The issue almost came to blows.

A committee was finally appointed to divvy up the ice cream to make it as fair and reasonable to all as could be. The committee nominated two servers to ensure that all helpings were of equal size in shape and volume. This all seemed very agreeable until it was pointed out that the servers might be favorites of certain high ranking officials of the committee and might dole out more to them than to others. A subcommittee was then formed to supervise the servers.

Issue after issue was brought up, fought over, and resolved. Everything seemed to finally be fair and above board. A motion to begin serving was passed.

It was then discovered that all of the ice cream had melted in the meantime, leaving nothing more than a hot sticky mess.

NOEL LEWIS grew up in Carrsville and now resides in Zuni with his wife Leah and two boys, Milo and Stuart. Noel works at Newport News Shipyard and builds furniture out of reclaimed wood in his spare time.