As Kennett finished up his cold shower to cool down before bed, he wondered why he’d made a gigantic pot of hot soup for dinner. Of all the things you don’t want to eat on a hot day, soup is probably on the very top of that list, and Kennett was well aware of that. For Belgium, 95 degrees is just about as hot as it gets, and to make the living situation all that much more unbearable, Kennett and his housemates were living in an apartment that was designed to trap heat. And flies. And at nighttime, mosquitos. The building’s thick concrete walls and lack of windows were of benefit during the fall, winter, spring, and about three quarters of the days during the summer, but on the rare occasions that it was above freezing, the Belgian commode was a sweat house.
But Kennett wasn’t worried about this. He’d spent a solid two months earlier in the year purposefully riding during the hottest parts of the day in 90 to 105 degree heat, acclimating for super hot race days that never really ended up materializing…but he was very well heat acclimated nonetheless. He’d made the bulk of the soup out of carrots, onions, and potatoes, all of which he’d gathered on various days from certain farmer fields surrounding the city. Also in the soup, he threw in a little flour to thicken it up, a chicken bullion cube, pepper, Italian seasoning, a can of salmon, an egg, and some white cheese sauce. The soup turned out to be a grand slam, as they say, and he and one of his roommates, David, each had a few bowls while watching a bike race on TV. The sweat was literally dripping off Kennett’s face into the soup as he hunched over the steaming bowl. Flies buzzed around his head, yearning for a chance to land on his eye or maybe up his nose. Anywhere to really piss him off.
Hours later, after the soup had digested and after his cold shower, Kennett made his way up to his room for sleepy time. As he went up the stairs he could feel the air temperature increasing the higher he went. Kennett knew that this was because hot air is less dense than cold, which is why the sun, being way far up there, is so hot. Kennett made it up the stairs and entered the narrow hallway. Hot. He walked down to the end of the hallway. Hotter. He opened the door to his room. Hottest. Kennett had been forced to abandon his old room a few days ago when the room’s rightful owner returned from a long trip. Being the second newest member of the apartment, Kennett had to move into the Gimp room (the middle room/closet situated underneath the attic stairwell). The gimp room is also referred to as the Harry Potter Cupboard. It has no window, not electrical outlets, the door doesn’t close all the way, and the bed-frame is so creaky that Kennett decided to get rid of it and just lay the mattress on the floor, which, since he’d been without a bed-frame for some years, Kennett was accustomed to. Kennett didn’t mind the Gimp room since the alternative was the couch downstairs, which David was now sleeping on, or moving to the Zingem apartment, which is on a whole nother level of uncomfortable and stressful.
Kennett closed the door to the Gimp room, carefully checking to make sure the extension cord running underneath the door coming in from Jake’s room wasn’t pinched, and got into bed. Just a few nights before, Kennett would have been dreading the first seven hours of sleep in this infernal room. Even his last room with the window was miserable to sleep in because of the mosquitos and heat. But tonight, Kennett eased onto his comfortable mattress with a smile on his face. This boy had a trick up his sleeve!
Kennett looked back on his life and thought about the greatest purchases he’d ever made (discounting sandwiches of course). At age 10 or 11 he’d bought his first stand up surfboard, an orange and blue tri-fin that he never quite mastered. At age 13 or so he’d bought his first play boat (a type of white water kayak). It was a Centrifuge, and was probably the best piece of sports equipment Kennett had ever owned if you don’t count bikes. At age 18, Kennett bought a pair of Mad Rock Locos, at the time a pretty radically-shaped bouldering-specific rock climbing shoe. Also at age 18 he’d bought a plane ticket to Costa Rica, where he traveled the country in a semi-circle on his mountain bike for a month before heading to college. At age 21 he’d bought a pair of winter Shimano road shoes, which kept his feet slightly warmer than the average road shoe during the many colds rides over the next five years of winter training. At age 24 Kennett bought the ingredients for one of the best sandwiches he’d ever made, which included an expensive loaf of artisan bread, dry salami, pastrami, two kinds of chee–wait. Kennett had gotten side-tracked and forgot that he was discounting sandwiches. He moved on to the next purchase. At age 26, Kennett topped all of those things with the greatest purchase of his life. A 15-euro fan, the cheapest one they had at the fan store, yet the finest fan Kennett had ever owned.
With the fan, Kennett could find peace anywhere. It stifled the heat, it sliced up the mosquitos, it silenced the sound of Jake masturbating in the next room….it did it all. It could rotate. It had three settings. Actually four settings if you include Off. It was lightweight, had a cool white glossy paint job, and it came with a two-year warranty. Kennett saved the packaging so he could return it at the end of his stay.