It had been another hot spring day. By ten o’clock in the evening, it had only cooled down to 87 degrees, according to Larry's thermometer in the living room. He rarely looked at his thermometer because he usually didn't care what the exact temperature was.
Larry had two table fans in his bedroom. Because of the high temperatures, the last three evenings had been “two-fan” nights. He used his air-conditioner only occasionally. During one month the previous summer, he had used the air-conditioner 10 days consecutively, day and night. His electric bill that July, normally about $30, was $77.
But Larry figured that, once in a while, using the AC wouldn't kill him. So that evening at 11:30, just before he went to bed, he turned on the AC. He set the thermostat to 72 degrees. He woke up four hours later when he heard a big bang, which sounded like two cars had run into each other on the street outside. But it wasn't two cars. It was the AC capacitor on the roof; it had just blown up. Larry's air-conditioner was officially dead.
Two circuit breakers had switched off, so he switched them back on. Larry had already suspected that there was something wrong with his air-conditioner. He called Jack, the repairman, but Jack didn't show up until four days later because he was so busy repairing all the other air-conditioners in the neighborhood.
When Jack finally came, he climbed up on the roof. Larry heard a lot of banging. Twenty minutes later Jack told Larry, "You need a new air-conditioner. Yours is the original model that came with this apartment building. All the other original AC units have been replaced. Yours lasted longest, but now it’s kicked the bucket. I'm going to call your landlady to see if she will approve a new AC unit for you. It’s going to cost $12018 parts and labor.”
“Wow,” said Larry.
Jack said that if everything went as planned, he'd install a new unit Monday morning. “Until then,” he said with a smile, “stay cool.”
Larry said, “No problem,” but he wondered if he should drive to the thrift store to look for a third fan for his bedroom.