When Spanakopitus returned from the Aurora Borealis, the DrizzleMasters and the Venturi called a conference to discuss why winter was so late in starting. Of course they invited Bang!opolis, and they invited Spanakopitus, as well. (Some quarters wondered why Spanakopitus had been invited, for he held no real power, other than what he could sell from the Big Engine.)

"Did you hear the owl just now?" asked the DreamCatcher.

"Yes," said Teller. "The owl is the scribe for these official meetings. He lives in the PerSisters."

"What is his name?" asked D.C.

"He goes by the initials W.O.," said Teller. "That stands for Wise Old."

"Ah, I see."

"So did Wise Old."

Now, some time ago the Spanakopiti had cautioned the Zom that winter would come, and wood and food and other stores would be very nice to have. But the Zom were involved in frolic and revelry and the making of a great deal of beer. They did have wood, but just a little. The Spanakopiti, on the other hand, had cord upon cord of wood all neatly stacked away, and much bear and deer meat wrapped up in the freezer. They were well prepared for winter, being a very industrious lot.

Spanakopiti splitting wood for winter.

Kinkajou was concerned for the warmth of his little brown body, and he was homesick for his native tangly jungle, probably in the Yucatan. Up in the PerSisters he talked with Wise Old.

"It's getting a bit chilly these days," he said. "Brrrr."

"Soon it will get chillier," said W.O. "I was scribe for a Very Important Meeting, and I can tell you for a certainty that soon winter will begin with a Fury."


"So you must go and tell your people the Zom, so they can prepare."

"Iwill-Iwill-Iwill!" said Kinkajou, as he ran helter-skelter down the big tree.

Wise Old and Kinkajou.

So Kinkajou warned the Zom that winter would begin with a Fury, and the Zom were suitably concerned. They decided to go hold counsel with the DrizzleMasters and the Venturi. The Zom wanted to suggest that winter be cancelled, and in its place there be declared a month of festival, for which they would provide all the beer. Teller hoped that Bang!opolis wouldn't hear about this, for he might throw thunderbolts at poor little Kinkajou, bearer of the news. So the Zom went to petition the Powers That Be, but when the DrizzleMasters and the Venturi heard their scheme, they just laughed. "Just for that," they said, "this winter will be even more severe than usual. So go home and prepare yourselves, you foolish folk!"

In humiliation the Zom dragged themselves back home, and with a great determination they set out to cut cords and cords and cords of wood, which they split and stacked, all in very good order, until their place was almost as snug as the Spanakkopiti's. The only problem is that the wood of the Spanakopiti, having been cut early, was nice and dry and would burn eagerly. But the wood of the Zom, having been cut in a hurry, and late, was still quite green and would only smoke and smolder.

And so the Zom called in Bang!opolis. "Please help us," they pleaded. "Throw a few thunderbolts at this wood and turn it into charcoal (which will burn long and hot), and we will reward you with a lot of our beer."

"Sounds good to me," said Bang!opolis. "Where shall I start?"

And so Bang!opolis zapped the wood of the Zom to a fine charcoally dryness.

And that worked for a while.

5: Propositions