By Rain Crow
It had started again. The voice echoed up into the workshop from further down inside of the tree.
Okay, Gadget thought, it was mildly funny the first ten or twenty times...
"Dale, knock it off!" Chip's voice, shrill with irritation, stalled the voice for a moment.
"But, it's so-o hot!" came the inevitable rebuff of reason.
"So? Go out to the fountain or- oh for the love of..." Chip's muttered cursing was censored out by the squeaking sounds of four paws rapidly propelling a furry body up the spiraling slide that led down from her workshop to the main living room.
Gadget sighed, looked down at her latest project, and decided that she couldn't survive another hour of Dale's attempt to use psychology to give the team some relief from the God-Awful July heat. All moral questions relating to the use of live test subjects would be put aside...
The squeaking stopped, and she turned just as her workshop door exploded inward with a SLAM, which hardly covered an odd, vaguely electrical swooshing sound and a flash of blue light. For a moment there was silence, and then Gadget grinned at her handiwork. Dale stood before her, his hands pointed at her and cocked like twin pistols. His eyes were wide, and as she looked him over the first shiver shook a bit of the bluish-white ice that had crusted over his fur, sending it to the wooden floor to melt into little puddles of water.
Gadget held up her new invention and blew off the foggy condensate that remained from its discharge. Dale continued being stock still, and blessedly silent. She favored him with a cheeky grin, leaned forward to pat his head and whispered.