Excerpt: Short story "There is a change in temperature now"

ONE (i)

There is a change in temperature now. The kettle is becoming more and more reluctant to boil my water each morning, and it's come to a point where I barely have time to let the tea cool before I drink it; my scalded tongue torments me throughout the day and is the cause of much misunderstanding. Where it comes from, I don't know, but they tell me winter is drawing up for the first time in a long time. The stores have even put out warmer clothes as a tentative measure and to see where the lay of the land is. Nobody takes their endeavor really seriously; their merchandise consists mostly of rugs and blankets haphazardly sown into shapes somewhat resembling human forms or potato bags. Yet some people do buy them, and it's become a sort of silent discord—you can hear it as a high-pitched tone of waspishness searing through the streets in the morning—between those who believe in winter and those who don't, and you can distinguish them by looking for human-couch hybrids hobbling around in the streets. 

There's also been another development in the realm of merchandise and goods for sale. Someone read in a book that children drink hot chocolate in the winter-time, and so the ingenious and scrupulous have stationed themselves outside the kindergartens and primary schools selling cocoa to the kids between and after classes, not even the Jewish school has been spared. It's nonsensical really—the children don't even have any money to pay for it!—but it's working, and there's now a whole hot chocolate black market up and running as a whole separate economy, it’s even attracted out-of-town investors. Some of the children have gotten involved, and are receiving discounts in return for running cocoa to the kids who have to sit inside during the break for causing mischief and have to write lines like: A FREE MARKET ECONOMY IS SURELY AN UNSUSTAINABLE SOLUTION, WE MUST WORK TOWARDS A DEVELOPED MIXED ECONOMY WITH STATE-OWNERSHIP IN STRATEGIC AREAS OF THE ECONOMY SUCH AS THE COCOA-SELLING BUSINESS fifty times (nicely) in sky blue ink.