It was just another hot, dry afternoon in the third-floor Deseret News offices Thursday when a delivery man announced he had two, 300-pound blocks of ice downstairs addressed to the newspaper's editorial cartoonist, Craig Holyoak.
The more than quarter-ton of ice didn't need to hit one of the newspaper's reporters on the head for her to realize this could be the day's big story. Who? What? When? Where? Why? raced through her already overheated mind.A note delivered with the ice read, "Hope this helps," and was signed by a friend of Holyoak's, Jeff Ray, vice president of the company that owns Utah Holiday magazine.
The reporter pondered the cryptic message. She had written tougher stories during the weeks that the newspaper office had been without air conditioning, and she knew she could break this one.
If only she could figure out how the ice was supposed to help.
Holyoak had been acting strange in the past few weeks: wearing shorts, posting the office temperature after it passed the 80-degree mark and complaining about how long it was taking to replace the faulty air conditioning system.
And now he was lounging on the several-foot high blocks of ice sitting in front of the Deseret News entrance at 30 E. First South. "It's cold. I'm starting to go numb," he told a newspaper photographer.
Cold? Numb? Was the ice supposed to cool Holyoak off? The reporter felt she was getting close to the truth, but she had to be sure. A call was placed to the friend who signed the note.
"I thought it was obvious," Ray said. But the reporter wasn't going to let him off without a better explanation. She pressed for more details.
"The art department has been suffering," Ray said. "I could see their long faces and dry, chapped lips."
Go on, the reporter said.
"I just didn't want their creative juices to suffer in the heat," he said.
Ray needn't have worried. A good-sized chunk of one of the blocks ended up in the executive washroom, apparently placed there by a member of the art department.