As a result of the order passed last month by the Hamptons Council, the job of injecting all trees on public property in the Hamptons with the chemical compound created at Dr. Harold Hill’s Setauket Institute has been completed. The injections were done by our Department of Highways crews, but will have no noticeable effect on the trees this fall. Next fall, however, in the autumn of 2013, leaf color changes will happen in a precise sequence. The leaves will turn yellow on October 1, orange on October 8, red on October 15 and then, on October 22 at 10 in the morning, they will fall off the trees and onto the ground.
“It takes a year for the chemical compound to take effect,” Dr. Hill told the Council Wednesday after announcing, to a standing ovation, that the job was completed. “I know you wish it were this fall, but the trees have to get it into their system. Xylem flows up. Phloem flows down. That’s just the way it is.”
Next year, we will no longer have to put up with leaves turning clashing and conflicting colors and then falling all higgledy-piggledy whenever they want. We will have instead a 60-mile-long fireworks of thrice changing colors in the most dramatic manner imaginable. What a phenomenon. It will even be visible from outer space! Yellow, orange, red, off. People will come from everywhere! What an economic boon to our community.
“These are hard times,” said Mayor Bennington. “We can hardly wait to hear the cash registers ring.”
Dr. Hill’s formula combines benzetrate hydrolecide with squid ink, iodine, Imodium, baking soda and brake fluid in a special proportion as secret as the formula for Coca- Cola. Indeed, Dr. Hill only knows half the formula. His wife knows the other half, but—and this is a concern—Mrs. Hill has moved out of the house and has filed for divorce.
One question is—how long will the effects of this injection last? It’s entirely possible it will just be one year, Dr. Hill said. But he can’t be sure. It’s all too new to make studies. So instead, Dr. Hill, because of his marital situation, has created 30 tank loads of this formula and has had them buried deep underground. And only he knows the longitude of that burial site. He needs Mayor Bennington for the latitude. Both expect to be around for a long time, though. And they are friends.
“It’s true we had to pay a pretty penny to have the exclusive rights to the underground tanks,” Mayor Bennington said. “But after we reviewed the benefits, we went ahead. Also, we have obtained a bond for this purchase from the State of New York, so for the next 30 years our children will pay for this, which is only fair since it is our children who will get the benefit.”
Hamptons Environmentalist Joe Naturewalker said these injections could effect the environment. “It could confuse the bees and the butterflies,” he said. “It might even confuse the male and female trees themselves when they try to mate. How do they tell one another apart?”
The Hampton Region Bay Keeper Howie “Clammer” Bottom expressed concern for the clams and fish. “Water absorbs color,” he said. “They could be blinded.”
Jason Prettybucks, the head of the United Real Estate Brokers Board, said he thought this would be good for real estate. “Location, location, location,” he said. “All you have to do is fly over the Hamptons and look down. There it will be.”
Clarence Huffington Phipps, the Chairman of the Estate Section Tennis Committee, said he didn’t care what they did, so long as they don’t do it on his property.
The head of the Hampton Association of Artists and Sculptures, Peter Penny, said, “As far as landscape painting goes, this changes everything. What an opportunity! And everyone will have to come here!”
Gladys Gooding, the head of Stop Global Warming Now in Amagansett, said she could not comment because she had been away visiting relatives in Pittsburgh and knew nothing about it.
Mario Gonzales, the head of the leaf picking up crew for the Department of Highways, said this was a godsend. “Now we know exactly where it will be and what color it will be. It will be red. And since it will all be down on the same day, we can go right at it.”
And Henry Prohoski, the head of the Farmer’s Cooperative of the Hamptons, said, “I would have preferred that the changes take place every two weeks instead of every week. We’d have double the time for the autumn harvest. That would make it easier on everybody, but nobody listens to me.”
AS WE GO TO PRESS: Dr. Harold Hill was killed at 11 p.m. last Friday in that wild rainstorm at his home in Setauket. According to his ex-wife, her voice broken with emotion, ––this was a huge tragedy because she has reconciled and moved back in with him.
“It was a damn lightning bolt,” she said, “One minute he was right there by the Buick, looking for his car keys so he could roll up the windows, and the next minute there were just these smoking black ashes in a puddle next to the driver’s door.”