Sunny with a Chance of Wind
The air was stagnant and everything was calm. If you threw a kite into the air, it would plummet back to the ground. The expansive plains of Portland, Oregon were home to the largest collection of working windmills in the country. Each windmill was referred to by a name, each unique from one another. Most of the windmills had the same design. Each of them had four blades, and each of them created electricity from wind power.
However, one in particular, named Wendy Miller, was different than the others. Miller was a big white windmill, with blades that branched out and formed a giant fan. On a good day, wind would flow the blades like water, making them twirl like a ballerina. However, this was not the case on most days. Many times, the air was so still it could not lift a sheet of paper from the ground.
The quaint town Miller supplied power to was very kind, but also very innovative. Her best friend was Sonny Jones, a solar panel who loved bathing in the daylight. He thrived in the hot, humid town, but the same could not be said for Miller. The town was never windy, so the presence of windmills was nearly useless.
“How are you feeling today?” Miller asked Sonny.
“Same as usual,” he bragged. “This scorching heat is no match for my absorbent surface. Noting can permeate through this thick glass.”
“Lucky,” complained Miller. “I wish I could just churn through some wind. It’s been forever since my blades have come full circle.”
While Miller and Sonny were having a friendly conversation, two men came trudging toward them. They were dressed in all white, from head to toe, and had on a baseball caps to keep the blinding sun out of their eyes. The first was tall and thin, with dark skin and brown hair. He had a toolbelt around his waist, with many different accessories that were used by engineers. He had chestnut brown hair, that reflected the light of the sun, revealing some dandruff in his hair. The second was short and thin. He was pale and blonde, and his hair looked white under the warm sun. Rather than a belt of tools, this man carried something more practical – a pen and a notebook.
The first man grumbled, “So what was it we were supposed to do again?”
The second man looked around frantically after the question was asked, and then began looking through his notebook.
“It says here that we’re supposed to take down this useless windmill,” the second man stuttered.
“Well, how are we supposed to do that?” the first man retorted.
The second man kept flipping through the pages in his notebook until he finally gave up trying to find what he was searching for.
“I… I don’t know,” he shamefully admitted is his brittle and nasally voice.
“Of course you don’t. You are always of little use, Daryll; pathetic scum!” he shouted.
“I’m terribly sorry sir,” he tried to calm the first man down, “Please sir, I will do better next time.”
“You better, or I will have your head for this,” he demanded.
After their brief quarrel, Daryll snorted, then said, “Matt, we need to find the ID plaque on the windmill.”
They looked around Wendy until finally coming across a rectangular sheet of metal mounted neatly upon the base of the windmill. The rusty alloy read the characters H34S97. Daryll peered at them for a long time. He looked over his glasses, until he finally said, “I believe this is it.”
“Thank goodness,” Matt said rudely, “I’m dying in this hot sun.”
They both craned their necks up, as if they were trying to spot the top floor of a skyscraper, until they finally could see Wendy’s blades. They were long and sleek, and sharp enough to piece through the toughest of objects. The towering machine was built specifically to churn through the air like butter. But the wind speeds in Portland were as slow as molasses, so Wendy never got a chance to do what she was built for.
“We have approximately twenty-two hours to remove this heap of trash before the boss reassigns us,” Daryll said casually.
After that, Matt immediately walked over to a shed, seated several feet away from the base of Miller. It was quaint, and kept in good condition. The whole structure was made from red bricks, and the roof had shingles that matched them. Sonny, the solar panel, sat atop the shed, napping peacefully, taking in all the sun he could. Matt entered the shed, and kept looking for some tool to use to tear Wendy down. While Matt kept rambling through the shed, the ruckus he was creating cause a certain solar panel to wake up.
“Who in the world is disturbing my nap?” Sonny shouted, “I need this energy before the cool fall and winter months come.”
“Who said that?” said Matt, who was still occupied in the shed.
“It was me stupid! Sonny the solar panel!”
“Since when can solar panels talk?” questioned Matt, who was still in the shed.
“According to my calculations, since never!” Daryll exclaimed.
Sonny looked down upon them. Matt had finally exited the shed, to realize he was having a conversation with a solar panel. They sat in silence for a brief moment. Each of them wanted someone else to speak up and explain the situation, but everyone was too surprised to even open their mouth. While the whole fiasco on the ground was taking place, Miller kept to herself, laughing at the situation below her.
Soon Miller finally broke the ice and said, “And I talk too.”
No one knew where this new, female voice was coming from, until Sonny said, “How are you Miller?”
“Just fine. I just don’t know what to do with these idiots,” replied Miller.
The two men were speechless, for they had never heard a talking solar panel, nor a talking windmill.
“We can’t get distracted! Let’s just get this over with,” said Matt, who was sick and tired of all the commotion. After speaking, he walked behind the shed and yelled, “FOUND IT!” He came out from behind the shed which concealed a large bulldozer. It had giant black wheels, and they smelled of rotten rubber. The large limbs of the machine were bright yellow, and the cab had a worn-out leather seat, with sponge oozing out of it on every side.
“Here we go!” Matt yelled at the top of his lungs, and then proceeded to drive the machine. It rammed into Miller at full speed.
“Stop it now!” Miller shouted, but it was no good.
Matt kept on driving the machine into Miller. The first blow caused a big dent. From there, every successive blow was like a hatchet to a redwood tree: effective, but time-consuming. Eventually, Matt stopped backing up, and decided to drive into Miller and keep going. He did not stop; he just kept going forward. This tactic was much more effective than his first strategy, and had Miller down in mere minutes. The excruciating sound of metal-on-metal drove everyone insane. The sheer force of the bulldozer was no match for Miller and her helplessness. Within only half an hour, Miller was laying on the ground pitifully.
“How dare you!” shouted Sonny at the top of his lungs.
“We have no need for a pathetic windmill like this one with the new coal mine opened,” retorted Daryll.
“What a waste of our time,” said Matt, and with that they were off.
Miller was still. All she could think was, “What did I do to deserve this?” From there, she fell asleep.
For the next few months, Sonny spent the entire day by himself. All he did was think about what he just saw, and what he should do. He could not even absorb the sun, or take a nap. He was just too heart-broken. Until one day, Sonny tried to take in some sun and rest, but no matter how hard he tried he could not.
“What’s going on?” Sonny shouted. He opened his eyes and could not see anything. The entire plains he once knew were covered in smog. It was so thick, not even beams of sunlight could penetrate through the thick gas.
“If only Miller was here,” Sonny thought, “She would know what to do.” Then Sonny realized, “This is all their fault! If it were not for Matt and Daryll opened the new coal mine, we would never be in this situation. I bet it is behind this disastrous gas.”
Little did Sonny know, the whole town of Portland was covered in smog. The first coal mine they opened was so successful, they decided to open another one, just a little further north. Then they decided to open another one in the south. After that, they had so much coal they needed a place to use it so they opened factories, and factories, and more factories. Portland, was urbanized to the max, and it all happened in such a short amount of time, leading to the sudden change in climate.
“The smog, it’s just too thick!” Sonny cried.
For the next five years, Portland lived in the smog until every ounce of air was pushed out of the town. Sonny was devastated until one day, Matt and Daryll came back. Only this time, the trudged through, wearing big gas masks. They were followed by some strangers who toed a giant mysterious silhouette behind them. Soon they got closer and closer, until finally Sonny could make out the figure. It was Wendy herself. After years of solitude, Sonny had a friend again.
“Miller!” Sonny cried.
At last they were together again. Only this time, she seemed different. Miller acquired a giant engine on her back, with a long gray cord coming from it. It took only an hour for them to prop up the machine, but when they did, Miller was instantly restored.
“What happened?” Miller questioned.
“Shaddup! Both of you!” Matt demanded.
The smog was so thick, you could not even see the top of the windmill. The town was desperate. You could not go out on the street without hearing a person cough. After Miller settled down, the long cord that ran from the machine on her back was grabbed by Daryll. He clutched it in his sweaty palm, then walked over to the shed and found a ladder. He leaned it neatly against the wall of the shed, and then proceeded to climb up it. He plugged the cord right into Sonny and soon Miller started blowing the smog away.
“Thank goodness it worked!” Daryll cheered, “I knew using this solar panels energy to power a motor on the windmill would help get rid of all this smog. I saved the town!”
“As if,” retorted Matt, “It was clearly me who led the mission.”
While the two men bickered back and forth, it mere seconds, the smog was all gone, revealing a bright sunny day.
“I can finally bathe in the daylight again!” said a very content Sonny.
“Looks like we’re going to have plenty of time to catch up,” said Miller, and with that they defeated global warming. This concludes the story of how Portland found homeostasis in urbanization.
A-A-Ron Johnson is a freshman at Corbin High School.