For two weeks in March the sky was orange. No one knew why. Many people, especially those living on the rocky, volcanic coasts, said that it was because of ash in the atmosphere, ash from some distant volcanic explosion. Those crabbed and twisted men who made their living watching the seismographs and geographs insisted strenuously that there had been no significant eruption in almost six months. Still, shrugged the people living in the coastal lowlands, instruments were not perfect; those men who watched them must surely sleep sometime. An explosion of the tempestuous earth they had first thought it, and nothing would lift that idea from them.
But still the sky was orange. Animals, livestock, housepets, research ‘specimans’ (and what a wealth of horror there was in that innocent title!) were panicked and wild, eyes wide and rolling. Postmen were off their game — it is very difficult to read an address when all the light you have is a sickly orange colour! Chaos and discontent were rife throughout the heart of the heartland. (The coasts, as always, mostly said, “Eh,” and went on with business.)
A council was called, consisting of the twelve topmost thinking countries: Lichenstein, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Sumatra, Brazil, Mongolia (ruled by Mingolia), Tarim Pendi, Yemen, Gabon, the United States, Canada, and Russia. Nothing whatever was accomplished, although the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the conference was held, reported a dramatic increase in tax monies from alcohol.
Eventually the sky went back to blue, and everyone, barring a few militant obfuscantists, promptly forgot about it.