he morning sun shone on the crooked little figure wading in the azure waters of the tropical cove. As exotic fish shimmered at his feet, the fellow pulled a pencil from his pocket and sketched a lush mango bush in the air beside himself. Then he smiled and reached for one of its bright pink fruit........ "BZZZZZzzzZZZ!" The sound of his door-sharpener jolted Dr. Ph.Doodle from his nap. Unfolding himself from the feathery warmth of his wing chair, he gasped in shock as an icy wind blew open the door and tossed in a visitor.

"Brrr-phmf...!" Notatious Squiggly, the Prime Minister of Marginalia, picked himself up and stomped into the entry exhaling frosty clouds through his mustache. With an effort, they shut the door and headed for the cozy kitchen where the little doctor drew them each a cup of tea.

"This weather is positively beastly!" exclaimed the Prime Minister, sucking his tea through a sugar cube.

"There were only a few flurries when I looked out this morning," Dr. Doodle ventured as he set out a plate of scones and jam. In silent awe, they stared out at their spiral-walled domain as it slowly vanished beneath a vast, snowy blanket.

"We’ve been here a long time, Ph.," Notatious declared, " but I’ll tell you; I’ve never seen Marginalia like this, and I intend to find out who or what is responsible!" Dr. Doodle, who was pacing the floor lost in thought, nodded absently.

"Of course!" he muttered at last. "Of course, what?" the Prime Minister prodded anxiously.

Leaning conspiratorially on the table, the professor grinned, "Why, Notatious, you’ve just given us our first clue to this storm!" "Huh?" the Prime Minister gaped at his friend.

"Think about it!" Dr. Doodle urged. "Isn’t it true that, for centuries, our busy blue-lined boulevards have welcomed students, writers, artists, scientists and merchants, inviting them to set down the original ideas and images which have come to life and illuminated the pages of our history?" The Prime Minister nodded, somewhat confused. "So?"

"So," Dr. Doodle went on, "this ebb and flow of creativity caused only minor fluctuations in our weather; until now! What do you make of that ?"

Like a schoolboy, Notatious eagerly raised his hand. " I’ve got it, Professor..." he crowed triumphantly. "Someone’s imagination is out of control!"

"Yesss!" the professor sighed and rolled his eyes.

"But who could it be?" the Prime Minister demanded indignantly. "And why wasn’t this awful project registered through my office?!?"

"Well," Ph. Doodle shrugged, "obviously it’s too late for that now. We’d best try to find the culprit before Marginalia becomes a giant popsicle!"

The two friends finished their tea and scones and then stepped outside. Enormous snowflakes swirled round them obscuring the roads in every direction. "Let’s head towards the university!" Dr. Doodle shouted above the screaming wind. "We might find another clue or two in my office!"

Picking their way up the icy steps of Marginalia University, they opened the door marked ‘Department of Scribbleology, Ph. Doodle, Chair. Dr. Doodle apologized to the Prime Minister for the books, scrolls and papers scattered everywhere. "Sorry about the mess," he shrugged. " I’m still compiling my Handwritten History of Graffiti * and believe it or not, I really do know where everything is."

Drawing a beeline to the section stuffed with myths and legends, Ph. Doodle selected several books on the origins of weather. While the professor tripped through his antiquated almanacs and manuscripts, Notatious began to examine the intricate frost patterns gathering on a window.

"My,... aren’t these beautiful!" he mused. "You know, Ph., I think there is something magical at work here..." Suddenly he noticed that the snow was coming down faster than ever!

"Hurry," Ph.!" Notatious gasped. "The snow’s as high as my waist! We’ve got to stop this!"

Despite his anxiety, time seemed to pass in slow motion. Suddenly, he heard a heavy book slam shut. "Well, Notatious, you’re right about the magic." Dr. Doodle coughed through a cloud of dust. "And I believe I’ve found two more clues. Let’s go!"

Mystified, the Prime Minister squinted through the swirling snow; to see what Ph. Doodle was up to. The crooked little figure scribbled through a snowdrift, then came to a sudden stop. He shut his eyes and held up both hands with palms perpendicular. Then he spun around slowly, pausing to inspect his left hand.

"Ah-hah!" the doctor shouted and took off in a vaguely northeast direction. Notatious struggled to catch up.

As they trudged along, Ph. told his friend what he had discovered in his ancient almanac. "One entry showed me how to find wind direction in a snowstorm; that’s why I was spinning around. Another revealed the imaginative ‘magic’ which can turn a few innocent snowflakes into a serious blizzard."

Pausing at the top of a narrow street, Ph. reached up to clear the snow from a road sign marked ‘Graphic Alley’. That’s when he saw the strange speckled smoke pouring from the chimney of a tiny snow covered house. The professor directed his friend’s attention to a large, arched window where a little girl was seated, intensely absorbed in her work.

"You see, Notatious; there’s our culprit! She is the one with the extraordinary imagination!" But we must try to convince her to use such a gift wisely!" Notatious whispered, "Yes, and now let’s see how she makes her chimney smoke like that." Ph. cautioned, "Take it easy, though; we don’t want to scare her." Moving closer, they peeked in, and tapped gently on the window...

Twelve year-old Jacqueline Frostmacher loved to draw; and there was nothing the young artist loved more than drawing snowflakes. In fact, she was so fascinated by their intricate configurations, she barely noticed the thousands of snowflakes flying from her pencil... out through her chimney!

Suddenly the point of Jacqueline’s pencil snapped. Scowling, she threw down the offending instrument with a little screech. Then she looked up to see who was trying to get her attention. Jacqueline detested interruptions.

When she recognized her important visitors however, she welcomed them politely.

"Good afternoon, gentlemen; this certainly is an honor. Is there something I can do for you?" she inquired.

Surveying the tiny studio covered with unfinished snowflake drawings, the Professor and the Prime Minister complimented the artist on her fine work. Thinking she was to receive some special award, Jacqueline simpered modestly.

Then Notatious cleared his throat, "We’ve come, Miss Frostmacher, on behalf of all Marginalia. We desperately need your help to stop this dreadful blizzard!"


"Me?" The little girl looked around to make sure they were addressing her.

"But I’m just a kid," she protested, "what do I know about stopping blizzards, or starting them for that matter?" Pointing at the snowflake drawings, Dr. Doodle raised his frizzy eyebrows. "My dear," he smiled, "do you realize this dreadful storm is your doing? And do you know that only you can undo it!"

Suddenly, the young artist understood. "Do you mean I have to stop drawing my snowflakes?" Jacqueline’s voice rose to a squeak. "You can’t be serious." she challenged, playing for time. The two visitors just stood there, nodding solemnly. Then she sighed disconsolately, "what would you have me do?" The Prime Minister turned to the Professor. "This is your department, Ph."

Dr. Doodle thought for a moment. Then, he remembered the wonderful tropical paradise in his dream. "That’s it!" he almost shouted.

"What’s... IT?" Notatious and Jacqueline prodded anxiously. Ph. Doodle answered by picking up some pencils and a sketchpad. He handed them to Jacqueline and then described his dream.

"Now," he said, "if you would use your enormous talent and imagination to create a tropical paradise with a nice, bright sun; you would melt our blizzard and save Marginalia!" The little girl frowned uncertainly. She didn’t like beaches with their yicky jellyfish and slimy seaweed, nor did she relish getting sunburnt.

"But will I ever be able to draw my snowflakes again? I mean, wouldn’t it be boring to just have summer all the time?"

Notatious Squiggly imagined strolling down his beautiful blue-lined boulevards, exchanging pleasantries with the best creative minds in Marginalia. Professor Ph. Doodle imagined sunning on a beach under azure skies and munching the juicy mango he had sketched in his dream. The two friends looked out at the raging storm once more, then at each other. Finally, they burst out laughing.

"We don’t think so, Miss Frostmacher!" they chorused.