Relations between Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy continued to worsen this week. On Monday, Mt. Airy announced it was recalling all of its yoga instructors from Chestnut Hill, and on Tuesday banks on the Hill said they were freezing the assets of all their Mt.  Airy investors. (Rumor has it that the bankers are actually spending the money on fast cars and fancy parties.)

Let’s all hope for cooler heads to prevail in the Water Ice War so the soldiers can be removed from the checkpoint at the Cresheim Valley Drive border separating Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill.

The trouble started with the ongoing attempt, led by a Mt. Airy businessman, to put a proposed water ice store in Chestnut Hill out of business. As a result, several Chestnut Hill business owners accused Mt. Airyites of “trying to tell Chestnut Hill how to run its business.” The anti-Mt. Airy sentiment quickly spread. One poll showed that that 79% of Chestnut Hillers believed that Mt. Airyites were “using mind-control techniques to bend Hillers to their will.”

This all culminated in a bourbon-fueled midnight rally during which thousands of Hillers threw copies of “Rise Up Singing” onto a giant bonfire, chanting “Death to Mt. Airy.” Since then, a number of militias and “Neighborhood Protection” groups have sprung up on both sides of the border.

I recently interviewed “Dirk,” Commander of Mt. Airy’s Rainbow Warrior Brigade, in his tree house fortress at an undisclosed location. He asked that I not call him “Commander,” stating, “No one is better than anyone else here. We’re all special in our own way.”

Dirk told me the story of how a band of angry, torch-carrying Hillers had recently broken into the Historical Society and stolen a mid-level catapult. “That was a month ago,” he said, “and they’ve been shelling us night and day ever since. It started with peanut shells, then they moved on to heavier stuff — pasta shells like cavatelli and conchiglioni. The lasagna was particularly devastating. Last night they started with clam shells. One barrage took out my weathervane. Now I don’t even know which way the wind is blowing.”

He went on, “It’s so dangerous here that people can’t leave their homes. The Chestnut Hill Militias have blocked our main roads. All the conventions of civilization are breaking down. People are drinking tap water. We’re almost out of organic tofu. Where’s the city? Where’s the National Guard? We can’t live like this. We’re not animals. We’ll, yeah, I guess we are, technically, but we still shouldn’t have to eat CONVENTIONAL tofu, for God’s sake.”

Dirk then whipped out a guitar and began to play me a song he wrote about the conflict: “We are all Mt. Airyans / We are not barbarians / All we need is love…” Just then a flying clam shell hit him in the head, knocking him out of the tree. He climbed back up, finished the song (“…and peace”), and went on to say that the allegations of mind control are completely false. “I mean really,” he said, “do I look like someone who would try to brainwash anyone? Look deeply into my eyes.” That’s the last thing I remember before waking up in a drainage ditch with an incredible yearning for soybeans. I decided to get the other side of the story.

I arranged an interview with General Bentley B. Bentley III, Supreme Commander of the Chestnut Hill Peoples’ Vigilante Association (CHPVA) [Note: The other main combatant force on the Hill is the People’s Vigilante Association of Chestnut Hill (PVACH). They broke away from the CHPVA after a disagreement over a technicality in the “looting and pillaging” section of the bylaws.]

According to Bentley, captured documents have revealed “a conspiracy by a coalition of underground Mt. Airy cults to take over Chestnut Hill using covert coercion and sub-conscious indoctrination.” “For instance,” he said, “You know all those so-called ‘meditation’ classes offered by the Mt. Airy Learning Tree? They’re just scams to get Hillers into a relaxed state, then they hypnotize you and plant electrodes in your brain.

“There’s more. I happen to know that the Mt. Airy food co-op is placing subliminal messages in their telephone ‘on-hold’ music. I know of several Chestnut Hillers who were put on hold and subsequently went insane. I tell you, no one is safe from their insidious subterfuge. I have even caught myself on several occasions humming ‘I Will Always Love You’ for no apparent reason. They must be stopped.

“In addition to our 24/7 shelling operation, we also have several other strategies ongoing. With the help of the many fine stores and restaurants of Chestnut Hill, we have constructed a giant cheese log that we plan to roll down Germantown Avenue. We are projecting that it will completely crush the Mt. Airy Business District and demoralize the inhabitants to the extent that they will surrender forthwith.

“We are also sending snipers into the region. They will install themselves on rooftops and shout things like, ‘Nice pants; I didn’t know Pep Boys sold clothes’ and ‘Hey, who does your hair; Edward Scissorhands?’ This will further weaken their morale and lead to our ultimate victory.”

As of yesterday, refugees were reportedly streaming into Germantown at the rate of hundreds per hour. I will continue to tweet and blog from the field as long as my batteries and my soybeans hold out.