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Monday, April 22, 2019

Microstory 1086: Signa

Let me tell you a little story about how Viola Woods powered two towns, all on her own, and potentially saved thousands of people from freezing to death. Before you moved here, we had what was probably the worst winter storm in our local history. By the second day, people were trapped in their houses. This wouldn’t have been the worst thing ever, since we knew it was coming, and authorities urged us to stock up on supplies, but then the power went out. For one slow and terrible hour, almost everyone in both Blast City and Coaltown was without heat, and it would not be for another week until everything was back up and running. My mother runs the power plant that serves both towns, so she and a ton of contractors worked tirelessly day and night to fix the problems, but Viola had a temporary fix for us that very few people were aware of. As the storm was brewing, my mother shuffled the entire family to the plant, knowing that it would be the most protected building throughout the ordeal, and that she would more than likely be needed. So, thirty minutes after the lights went out, Viola showed up and pulled my mom into her office alone. Fortunately for us, my brothers and sisters all learned long ago of a vent in the custodial closet off the break room that has decent access to secret office conversations. Viola revealed to her—and by extension, us—that she was capable of patching the system herself while the technicians worked on a permanent solution. Of course, this was highly unorthodox, and mom had no reason to believe anything Viola was claiming was real, but I think you can guess where the story is headed. Desperate for a miracle, mother let Viola physically place her hands the power generator. Despite how I grew up, I don’t know how the power station works, but maybe she was touching the voltage regulator? Whatever it was, it worked, and my mother decided to only allow a skeleton crew work on the repairs in that area, so that not too many people would find out what was going on. She had to come up with a good lie to tell them about how they were supplying temporary power. We were reportedly relying on the goodness of the next power station over to help us out, which meant the head of that facility had to lie as well. The reality is that randomly supplying power to two towns that your plant wasn’t designed for is even harder than it sounds. Otherwise, they probably would have just stepped up and helped. There’s no way to know for sure how many lives would have been lost that day had Viola not been there, but I’m confident it would have been over zero, so it was worth it. Everyone here owes her a lot, and they don’t even know it yet. The day after power was restored completely, my whole family worked in the kitchen, cooking thank-you food. Then we went over to the Woods house, and gave them to her. She and I were friends from that day on. I never asked her how she did what she did, nor did anyone else in my family, and she never told us. I guess she was just waiting for you to run this series.

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