Ice Cream Friday

There’s an ice cream cone in your future, but just wishing for it won’t make it come any faster. Lester realized this after work on a Friday evening. He’d spent all day wanting an ice cream cone, in fact pining for one. If he’d wanted one any more he might have begun to hallucinate that Judy from accounting’s head was a vanilla cone with raisins and a bad haircut. His work suffered a setback when instead of typing his F-140 report he typed the word “Sunday” over and over again. When his boss reviewed this paper, he mistook the word’s meaning for the day, and figured that Lester was simply looking forward to the long up coming weekend. So he simply shredded the page and asked Lester to do the work over again.Had he understood the true meaning behind the word, Lester’s boss would have instead thought Lester crazed right then and there, and called Lester’s wife to see if he had been under any unusual stress, or if he’d been acting strange lately. She would then have been obliged to inform Lester’s boss that the two of them had been divorced for almost a year now and that Lester was a “Fucking stupid, ass monkey” for not having told his boss this a year ago. While this would provide a stunning insight on the married life of Lester and his ex, it would give him nothing from which he could discern Lester’s mental health. Being left with no other option, Lester’s boss would be forced to approach Lester himself on the matter. He would then find out that Lester, thinking he had some free time on his hands, having finished his F-140 report so quickly, had left early to go get an ice cream cone. And so Lester’s boss would call the mental hospital and have a psychologist brought in to see if Lester needed to be committed. Lester, after finding that the only ice cream place inside of thirty minutes was closed for renovation, would return to his work, sans-cone, and a broken man. He would literally be in tears by the time he returned to his desk. Soon he would be cornered by the psychologist and asked all kinds of questions like, “And how does that make you feel,” and “what does the word Sunday, mean to you?” The evaluation would show clearly that though Lester was otherwise fine, he had a crippling ice cream fetish and he needed to be hospitalized immediately before he could do himself or others any more harm with his addiction. While in the hospital he would eventually find a way to get a hold of an ice cream cone, due to a clever scheme he thought up in a dream. He would steel it from the chief nurse’s son three weeks after he was committed, and it’s flavor would be coconut and peanut butter with candy corn. His first taste of the cone would make Lester so euphoric, he would become dizzy and fall down. Upon leaning what he did, the chief nurse would be forced to heavily sedate him, in order to prevent any more ice cream cone thefts in the future. Unfortunately, the unpaid intern she would have told to perform the procedure would have just finished sniffing paint in the bath room, and would be unable to distinguish 4 cc from 40 cc, and nowhere near capable of distinguishing either of those amounts from the incredibly large amount he would give to Lester. His mistake would slip Lester into a coma, from which Lester would never recover, nor ever see another ice cream cone again.

What really happened wasn’t worse, but it wasn’t better either. When redoing his work, Lester almost ate the paper twice due to its sporadic mention of “Cake batter with chocolate chips and sprinkles mixed in.” He needed to hurry because the ice cream place closed at five on the week days and he was already pushing overtime redoing his F-140 report. Lester dropped the thing off at his boss’ office and darted out the door. On his way however he crashed into his boss, knocking him to the ground. “You should watch where you going, Lester. Did you finish that report?” His boss stood up right between him and the door. “Ice cream” Lester said, following that with a “Banana whipped cream flavored fudge bar.” He started running toward the door yelling “Brownie surprise, Brownie SUPRISE” in an almost singing fashion, over and over. Thinking Lester had gone insane, his boss proceeded to call Lester’s wife, to tell her of his concern for the love of her life, and to ask if she might know where he went. She informed him that they’d been divorced for almost a year now and that she’d “knew that Ass-faced penny pincher was batty.” While this didn’t help Lester’s boss at all in finding the poor fool, it did give him fantastic insight into the reason for his insanity.
Lester, meanwhile was speeding ever onward toward his ice cream, faster and faster. Rt. 94 had upon it cars, trucks, and Lester, and who was going faster, it was hard to say. He was running pretty damn fast. Unbelievably fast. Some said they saw a bigger, hairier big foot running down 94 that day, others claim it was a cheetah escaped from the zoo. Granted Lester looked nothing like a bigger, hairier big foot or an escaped cheetah, and while these people were either children or very drunk at the time, this certainly gives you an idea of how unbelievable he was. Very. Very unbelievable. An ice cream truck passed him on the highway. He lost focus on the road in front of him, and tripped over a scrapped bumper. He went head first over the side railing. The other side was steeper than he’d thought it was from the road, and the gravel did nothing to slow him down. He rolled until he passed out and when he woke up he was in a strange new world of trees. He’d never seen so many trees in all his life. His head was caked with blood, and throbbed whenever he moved his eyes. He looked up the hill at the bottom of which he was sprawled. It was a good thirty or forty feet high, and that was just until the branches got in the way. He couldn’t see the road from there. He tried standing but there was too much pain in his leg and it gave out on him. He collapsed to the ground and started to cry from both frustration and pain. He wondered how long he was out for. It wasn’t that long. In fact there were a few people who saw it happen, and they were calling to him from the top, but he couldn’t hear it over the sound of the highway. He called out for help, but they also couldn’t hear it, also because of the highway.
One brave man named Thomas Peckit decided that they couldn’t wait any longer. That there was a man down there who might be in trouble, who wasn’t responding to them, and he was going down there and making sure he was okay. He informed the other witnesses of his intentions, and in their silence he overstepped the side rail and slid down the hill and out of sight. As he slid, Thomas Peckit almost regretted putting this kind of responsibility on his own shoulders. He often did things without thinking about them, or rather, did them having only thought about them from a brief perspective. In this case only one word shone bright in his head as he hopped the rail, “hero.” It wasn’t capitalized because he realized there was a distinction between the compassionate citizen and the likes of a moral crusader. It was, whether Thomas knew it or not, too late to turn back, for the gravel down which he slid was quite impossible to climb, as he would soon find out.
After sliding for longer than he’d believed was possible he arrived at a place he didn’t think could exist so close to the highway. Everything was green and dark brown. Rays of light dripped from the waving treetops above. It was lush and gorgeous. He almost forgot why he was down there, which is when he spotted Lester lying not far off on the gravel. Lester sat staring at Thomas Peckit, trying to distinguish just who he was. Thomas Peckit introduced himself, but Lester didn’t really hear him because he had discovered from the cloths the man wore, the truer, more important identity of this savor that had come to his rescue. Thomas Peckit, you see, had just come from work when he saw Lester spill over into the abyss, and he had no time to change from his work clothes. Thomas Peckit was the very Ice Cream Man that passed Lester on the highway, that directly lead to Lester’s fall.
“Ice cream!” Shouted Lester. Thomas Peckit was a little surprised, and deep down a little disappointed too. He’d come to this man’s rescue, and he expected a “Thank God, my savior!” He didn’t think the first thing the man would do would be to place an order. Thomas Peckit asked, “are you hurt?” and Lester asked “Do you have mint toffee crunch?” “I don’t feel like that’s appropriate given the situation” said Thomas Peckit. “You’re right, I’ll start off with chocolate almond and work my way to something more complicated after,” said Lester. Thomas Peckit didn’t like Lester, but he tried desperately to feel otherwise. “Time to get you out of here,” he said as he approached Lester. Lester made no move, and only seemed to talk to himself about ice cream. He extended his hand to Lester to try to help him up.
Here is what happened to Thomas Peckit’s hand. Lester, at this point long gone from any shadow of the Lester that the world had grown up with, had thought that Thomas Peckit, being an Ice Cream Man, was extending a cone toward Lester. Lester was of course hallucinating, but how was he to know that? “ah, Mint Toffee after all. Of course that’s what I really wanted.” Lester then took hold of Thomas Peckit’s hand, and began to lick it. Thomas Peckit tried desperately to get Lester to let go, but the man had an Iron grip and wouldn’t let go no matter what he said or did. The reason for this was that Lester’s life was stressful and therefore full of stress balls. He couldn’t get enough of them. They lined his desk at work, and though they didn’t help his mental health at all, they made his hands twice as strong as any other man in the county. Only after Thomas Peckit kicked Lester in the stomach did he finally let go.
Lester’s boss was on his way to the only ice cream store in the town, because he felt, like so many others, that he needed to help Lester. He’d taken Lester’s nonsensical rant about ice cream as a clue to his destination and was currently en route. While cruising down rt. 94 Lester’s boss couldn’t help but notice a line of cars and an ice cream truck parked on the shoulder. Why did everyone want ice cream so badly today? Was he missing something? Was it National Ice Cream Eating day? Was Lester actually sane and just a good citizen fulfilling his responsibility to tradition and the American way of life by going out and buying all the ice cream he could? He pulled over to see whether there actually was such a thing as National Ice Cream Eating day. If there was he decided he wanted a cone of Mocha Latte Blend French Vanilla. He liked it because it tasted just like coffee, and he really liked coffee. Thinking about coffee so much just then made him want that too. It sounded like a dumb holiday, but there were a lot of dumb national holidays. Take Arbor day for example. No one knows what the hell that is, and it isn’t even a clever acronym like National Ice Cream Eating day is.
“What’s going on?” he asked a short balding woman after he got up enough nerve to ask a stranger a question. “Someone fell over the side. Ice cream man went to get ‘em.” What the hell was it with today and ice cream anyway? “Is he okay?” asked Lester’s boss. She said something to the effect of “I don’t know,” in such a way as to give Lester’s boss the hint that she was no longer his go-to-gal. He didn’t really know what to do about Lester, but having a moment off the road to think about it made him realize that there was no way Lester had gone to the ice cream shop, that he had gone crazy, and that there was no such thing as a National Ice Cream day. He felt a little frustrated, and wondered briefly why he cared so much about Lester’s personal health. He peaked over the side rail, and was confronted with a dark abyss.
They sent an ambulance, not fully understanding the complexity of the situation. The EMTs got out of the truck in a hurry, asked a few questions, one of which was “Where is he.” When the majority of the hands pointed over the edge, the two EMTs peered over at the wall of trees and darkness and then at each other before turning back to their truck. The one picked up the radio, the other opened a lunchbox and began to eat a sandwich of some sort. Lester’s boss joked with himself that it was an ice cream sandwich. He laughed, but reprimanded himself for making dumb jokes in this situation. He kind of wanted to go over the side and help the Ice Cream Man and the unknown victim. He was antsy to see a rescue and wondered how much they would praise him if he was the one to take charge.
The Headlines would read:
LOCAL HERO SAVES PAIR FROM RT. 94 ABYSS

He’d never been in the paper before. His son Jack was already in the paper three times. Once for soccer and twice for class projects. Lester’s boss was proud of Jack, but he felt that somehow, because he had been in the paper three times already in his short life, he’d already outshined his old man. Lester’s boss tried not to think about it. He wasn’t going over the side anyway.
“I’m hungry,” came Lester’s voice from behind Thomas Peckit. “It must be around dinner by now… It’s getting dark,” said Thomas Peckit. He tried to keep everything in perspective. There were a lot of people up there. Someone called the cops or something. They were going to get out of there. Lester moaned loudly and Thomas Peckit didn’t know how much more of the man he could take. He wasn’t worried about Lester at this point. He was tired, and hungry, and his bed seemed to grow further and further away with each passing minute. He couldn’t just climb out now without Lester though, he’d look like a coward. “Cherry chocolate and whipped cream!” Lester nearly screamed into the dim air. He couldn’t believe he jumped over the side for this guy.
Lester’s boss was getting hungry and wondered if the men at the bottom of the hill were getting hungry too. The EMTs were finishing off their meals and drinking what he was pretty sure was coffee. He looked around and the crowed was thinning out. The people rested sure in the fact that the EMTs were on the case. Lester’s boss saw that the Ice Cream truck still had it’s driver side door open. He thought for a second about what was the right thing to do, then he opened the back door to the truck. He took an arm full of the ice cream bars and little half pints, and threw them over the side, where he could see skid marks disappear into the distance. “Hay! What are you doing?” one of the EMTs stood up and walked over to the truck. He hopped that was enough for them. He didn’t know what kind of trouble he could get into with an EMT, but he didn’t want anything to get in the way of his otherwise perfect record.
Thomas Peckit was nearly hit in the head by a half Pint of Mint Chocolate Chip. It flew right by him and smashed open onto the rocks. Two more half pints did the same after almost hitting him in various private and painful areas. Next came the ice cream bars, which faired better against the fall. What the hell was going on? Why were the people up there throwing his ice cream at him? Then it hit him: food. They were throwing down food for him. It was a glorious revelation when he realized the ice cream could stave off his hunger. He felt proud, almost as though he himself had invented the bars he now held. “Ice cream? Is that? Is that Ice Cream?” Lester was frantic. He recognized the packaging, the sound it made when it was being opened. The shape of it. He tried to stand but ended up flat on his face. So instead he crawled. Thomas Peckit was faced with a problem. There was only two bars, and one was nowhere near enough. He hadn’t eaten all day and he was more than just a little hungry. He began to rationalize his forgone conclusion. Lester had been talking about ice cream from the moment Thomas Peckit had arrived, he wasn’t hungry, he was a lunatic. If he was going to get them out of there Thomas Peckit was going to need all the energy he could get. It was Thomas Peckit’s ice cream in the first place. He had paid for it himself. What he did with it was his own business. If Lester ate one he might grow ten times stronger like some kind of Popeye, and come after the other bar with force. This is how Thomas Peckit excused himself as he ate the ice cream in front of Lester, looking anywhere but Lester’s anguish stricken face. Lester didn’t know what to do. All he wanted was ice cream, but no matter how close he came or how hard he tried, he just couldn’t seem to get any. He couldn’t decide if it was the worst day ever, or if he’d died and went to hell. He’d never thought he belonged in hell himself. He didn’t really belong in Heaven either though. He couldn’t remember the place where they put un-baptized babies, but he thought that he should either go there or be reincarnated into something cool like a Horned Owl. He’d never flown before, so he had long ago decided that he wanted to be a falcon when he grew up. When he finally did grow up, his interest shifted to Owls, and he instead became a sales representative at a hand towel company.
Lester’s Boss, who had been a sales representative and who’d done so well for himself that he no longer needed to sell towels, could wait no longer for something to happen. A half an hour passed since he threw the ice cream over the side, and the ambulance fumes were giving him a headache. Why didn’t they just turn it off? Lester’s head hurt too but that was because of the fall, and Thomas Peckit’s head hurt as well but that was from the ice cream. Thomas Peckit was worried that it’d taken over his brain, because it was the longest ice cream headache of all time. The actual Guinness record for longest ice cream headache was only 5 minutes, but this was because it was such an obscure record that no one took the time to report a longer one. And while this isn’t the longest story about ice cream, it’s certainly pushing it wouldn’t you agree?
Lester’s boss took off down the Rt. 94 toward the Ice Cream Shop just as the fire engine showed up at the scene. The Firefighters jumped down from their giant metal rescue device and walked over to the paramedics. There were four Firefighters and two EMTs, and so five men and one woman in all, stood by the running ambulance, which was right behind the running fire truck, and ran their mouths. There was a lot to talk about. Tommy Walsh the firefighter, who went by Tom for short, had just had a baby, or his wife did anyway, and so when he told the Firefighters there were many congratulations to go around. Debbie Pincer, one of the Firefighters was the only one there who truly wasn’t happy for Tom. She couldn’t have children due to an unfortunate gardening accident, which left her scared and bitter. Tom wasn’t aware of this, so he took her slight personally and decided that he didn’t like Debbie and he wondered why most women who were good looking were ass holes for no reason.
Lester was holding his left pointer finger with his right hand in his incredible grip now, saying, “you, you, you, you, you, you love ice cream.” He said this over and over again, and he rocked back and forth. Thomas Peckit decided that the biggest mistake in his life had been coming to help this man, and vowed that if he ever got out of it alive he’d never help another soul as long as he lived. “Are you okay?” He asked Lester. Lester shook his head violently. Then he nodded even more so. Then he threw up. Thomas Peckit lost it, and deciding that he needed to get away from Lester before he was eaten, or rapped, or licked any more, he tried desperately to climb back up the hill, but he ended up slipping and falling backwards on to the rocks. It wasn’t a very far fall, but he hit his head pretty hard. It was probably the most painful moment of his life. He rolled awkwardly and ended up face first in a group of thorn bushes not too far away from Lester. Luckily for Thomas Peckit, he was already unconscious at this point.
Lester was crazy, even he couldn’t deny that. He’d thrown up on purpose, but not to make Thomas Peckit uncomfortable. It was just that he suddenly remembered that as a kid he was able to make himself throw up whenever he wanted to, and he wanted to see if he could still do it. He could.
Debbie Pincer was putting on a harness in order to climb down into the depths and help the men at the bottom back up. She did so as the result of losing a close game of rock-paper-scissors with one of the other Firefighters. She rocked when she should have scissored, a rookie mistake a lot of people make. She had lost to Tom Walsh, which in her mind, gave her the right to dislike him even further. Even as she prepared to be lowered down the side, he talked to the few remaining members of the audience about his brand new baby. “Ready” she said, interrupting Tom in the middle of telling a short Asian woman how his son’s bowel movements smelled better than anything else he’s smelled in his life. “Like rich chocolate cake.” Tom prepared to belay her down the hill, into Hell or wherever the hill led. He lowered her slowly, but without difficulty. Before long she turned on her flash light. It wasn’t really that dark, her eyes just hadn’t adjusted to the difference in light. It took longer than she’d expected to get to the bottom. Once she’d gotten past all the branches there was still another thirty or forty feet between her and the crazy man.
Lester’s boss was just now arriving at the ice cream shop. He didn’t know why he’d come in the first place. Once he stopped on the side of the road, he’d lost all hope of catching Lester at the shop, which was closed down anyway. Maybe he’d gone back to work? Lester’s boss called his secretary, a young girl by the name of Lindsey Adams. Lindsey was only eighteen, and had gotten the job because Lester’s boss had a neighbor who was a single mother, who he slept with on occasion, and giving Lindsey a job was a favor to her mom, as well as a way of making himself feel better about sleeping with her mother, and cheating on his wife. To be fair, she was a very good secretary, no matter how she’d gotten the job.
“Lindsey?” Lester’s boss sat in his car, parked outside of the ice cream store. He prayed to his god that Lester was back and he could finally stop worrying.
“Yes sir?”
“Has Lester come in?”
“He’s here.”
“He is! Oh thank god.”
“Where did you think he went?”
“It’s a long story Lindsey, I’ll tell you about it later. I just need you to make sure he doesn’t leave the building until I get back.” Lester’s boss forgot that she was an eighteen year old girl when he told her to make sure the crazy man didn’t leave.
“Oh wait, did you mean Lester Andrews?” Lester’s boss’ stomach sank. He’d also forgotten that there was more than one Lester in the office. He hadn’t meant Lester Andrews. He wished to his god that he did, but nothing happened.
“No, I meant Lester McMann.”
“I haven’t seen him sir. I’ll keep an eye out though.”
“Yeah, thanks Lindsey.” Distracted, he didn’t hang up, but simply put his phone back in his pocket. The dead tone started ringing soon afterwards, but he didn’t notice, and couldn’t notice at that, with the car now running. He didn’t know what else to do, he would have to go to the police and see what they could do about Lester. He wasn’t sure if there were any laws against crazed men searching out ice cream, but if there was, he hoped the cops would be able to do what he could not. While getting on the highway again, Lester’s boss almost got into an accident, when he nearly switched lanes into an eighteen wheeler. If he had realized how close he’d just come to losing his life, he might have pulled over and cleared his head. He might have cried into his hands for an hour and thought about all the things he had worth living for. He might have shaved his head and found a new religion. He might have started dropping acid and known true happiness in some alternate reality involving a green sky and blue grass. He might have mowed the sky on the weekends. But he wasn’t paying attention to the eighteen wheeler that nearly pancaked him, or even to what side of the road he was on for that matter, so instead he headed back down Rt. 94, back in the same direction he’d just come from.
Lester’s boss was a man who always knew what to do. He could handle any situation with level headedness and ease. But he was at an absolute loss this time. It was the worst feeling he’d ever felt. Even worse than when he’d decided he didn’t love his wife anymore. Even worse than when he realized she didn’t love him either. He couldn’t reason it out. There was nothing to reason. It was completely out of his hands.
At the bottom of the hill Debbie Pincer found one man, sitting alone and holding his hands over his ears. He was covered in what looked like either vomit, or sewage, or both. “Can you move?” she said, hoping he could and she wouldn’t have to touch him. “Ice Cream Man,” said Lester, unable at the moment to articulate any further. “What?” He pointed at the bush nearby and repeated himself. She didn’t get it. She couldn’t see Thomas Peckit in the bush. “Can you move?” then, “are you hurt?” He stared at the bush without moving much more, then started to pretend he was licking something. He seemed to be enjoying himself so she didn’t stop him. Debbie was used to crazy people, so Lester didn’t really put her off by acting crazy. Her father went crazy back in the seventies. She was very young, but she would visit him on weekends sometimes. She didn’t really mind crazy, in fact she married a man many believed to be crazy, because he claimed to have been abducted by aliens when he was coming home from work one night. In actuality, someone had just dropped a tablet of acid into his beer at the bar one night in an elaborate plan to get minor revenge on him. It worked, because while he thought he was being probed in a spaceship, he was really just sticking things into his own butt on top of the bar. Debbie didn’t believe his story, but she humored him because she loved him, and that’s what love is all about. Some might say that was Lester’s ex-wife’s problem. Others might suggest it was the fact that Lester was actually crazy, and thus harder to put up with than Debbie Pincer’s husband, who merely thought something crazy happened to him as the result of a very un-crazy, very inconvenient thing that happened to him.
Once she discovered that Lester was crazy she approached him with more caution, but also with more of a desire to help the man. She now felt bad for Lester, that he should get the help he deserved. “Do you want some ice cream?” She baited him into going with her. “I have some if you want. But it’s all the way at the top of the hill.” Lester tried to stand, but fell back down after a short effort. “I gottcha, I gottcha.” She moved in to help him become comfortable. “Were gonna need a stretcher down here,” she said into the her two way. “We got one adult male, about a hundred fourty pounds, about six feet tall. He’s got at least one broken leg by the looks of it.”
The voice that came back to her was muffled and static filled, and if the words that came out could be spelled they would look like this:

KCH Brare to thuy KCHKCH in hare th iuth pog fad unner da KCH

Or at least this is what normal people would have heard. But to the trained ear this merely confirmed the need for a stretcher and promised one would be prepared and sent. It was very simple for a woman like Debbie Pincer to understand this message because of her many years of experience in the department. She can’t even remember a time when she would have heard otherwise. It was like a second language to her. Lester just heard this:

KCH Ice cream sandwich KCHKCH I have two raspberry cinnamon cones for you KCH

Why would the radio have ice cream for me, he asked himself. It doesn’t even know me. Maybe it’s giving away free ice cream, the supermarket does that sometimes. He stared at the radio without realizing he was doing it. The radio, being hooked to the breast pocket of Debbie Pincer, was of course, in close proximity to her breast. When she looked over at Lester, and she noticed he was staring at her chest, she got embarrassed, and turned away. She wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of being ogled by a crazy man at rock bottom nowhere. But the radio had more things to say. Such as:

KCH Im oh thru am. KCH

and…

KCH Um ophth the peaith dkf fur alreadyKCH

Which to Lester sounded more like:

KCH Here’s the ice cream. KCH

and…

KCH Why don’t you come get it alreadyKCH

Lester wasn’t sure he could get to the radio to get his ice cream if he wanted to. He was in a little bit of pain, and it seemed to get to be too much for him whenever he tried to stand up. However, his desperation for ice cream sparked an ingenuity in him he’d to that point been lacking. He found a stick close to him, that could support his weight. It was a relatively thick stick, but it would have taken much less. Lester was built like a pole, and twice a skinny. It would have been hard for him to find a stick that wouldn’t hold his weight. With it he stood, and began to move toward his eventual ice cream, which the radio said it had. Where would it keep it? He held out his hand which he would use to make the radio talk again and tell him where the ice cream was. Debbie Pincer, who had just finished reminding herself of the fact that Lester was insane and probably not even staring at her chest, turned around to face Lester once again. As she did, Lester’s hand, which was not where she had thought it would be, pressed firmly against her blossom, and closed softly around her right breast. Debbie Pincer swung at Lester immediately, purely from instinct. Her fist made clean contact with Lester’s right cheek, and he fell backwards. She stood there a long while afterward; Lester lay on the ground holding his face.
“Why would you do that?” She said after some time. Lester had no answer for her, which was all well and good, because there was none that he could give her that she would accept. She shone the light on his face, which was pale and frowning. She saw that he was crying. Tiny crazed streams ran from his eyes and nose, and went rolling off groundwards. “You made me do that. Why did you have to go and…” Her voice trailed off into the dusk air. She felt bad, like she’d just punished a child for doing something ultimately forgivable. Lester was the first person she’d ever hit like that. It didn’t feel very good. Not only did it hurt a lot, it just didn’t feel like her.
Up on top Tom Walsh had run out of people to share pictures of his newfound bundle of joy with, and he was growing quite bored. That’s when he noticed the ice cream truck parked nearby. It’d been a while since he’d last seen one. So long he wasn’t quite sure when exactly it had been. When he was twenty he and his friends cased one down the street because they wanted spider-man bars. None of them really liked the ice cream, or the gumball eyes that came with it, but they chased down the poor quality ice cream simply for the novelty of it. Seeing the ice cream truck there now reminded him of only that, and he wondered if it was weird that he had an ice-cream-truck-less childhood. He walked over and searched the truck, but it’s owner was nowhere close. Then he searched out the owner among the crowd, but he couldn’t find them. Then one of the people there told him that a man who dressed like an ice cream man went down after the first man who fell about an hour ago, before any of the rescue effort had arrived. Tom Walsh thought all of this very strange. He Radioed down to Debbie Pincer about the missing ice cream man.
Debbie Pincer was somewhat bewildered as to what an ice cream man looked like. She was unaware that they had their own uniform. Indeed, Thomas Peckit had made his own ice cream attire, as it was his truck and his business. It involved pink pin stripes and pictures of ice cream bars on the sleeves. There was only Lester however, no matter what an ice cream man looked like, there were none around. Maybe he just walked away? Tom Walsh continued to talk into the radio, as though he’d made a brand new discovery. For him it was a way to pass the time with someone he thought might be bored waiting for the stretcher to come down, which was slow goings. For Debbie Pincer it was another reason to hate him. For Lester it was another reason to stare at the talking chest of Debbie Pincer and hallucinate about ice cream.
Tom Walsh said this:

“You never know, he could be under some kinda rock, or maybe he’s hiding in the bushes.”
This set Debbie Pincer off. She got really angry at him and took off her radio, throwing it in whatever direction she was facing. All he did was talk, and every word made her more and more angry with him. She hated his jokes, and his voice, and the way people didn’t agree with the way she hated these things about him. She really let go. Everything she’d been holding back all of the sudden just came to the surface and soon she didn’t know what to do with herself. It felt like she might explode, but she dare not. She kicked the gravel underfoot and cursed like a sailor, even though she’d never seen the ocean. Nothing made this feeling go away though, and she walked off to try to calm herself.
Lester had himself a predicament. He suddenly felt concern for the woman who’d just stormed away. She seemed really frustrated. At the same time though, he was crazy. And as someone who was crazy, he found the urge to do crazy things more compelling then his concern. So instead he picked up radio, now at his feet rather than on Debbie Pincer’s chest. He studied it for a short time before finally holding the button and saying this:
“Ice Cream?”
This surprised Tom Walsh, who was listening on top. He wasn’t expecting a mans voice, let alone one that said Ice Cream. He paused a minute, not sure how exactly to respond. Then, “are you the ice cream man?” There was no answer. This is due to the fact that Lester heard the radio say, “I’m keeping all the ice cream for you.” Had Lester known that now he was hearing more words then were being said he’d have been worried for himself, but because he was crazy, he had only his boss to worry for him. After a short while Lester managed to speak again. “Chocolate éclair.” Tom Walsh, figuring that it was indeed the ice cream man, and Debbie had found him and given him the radio, decided rightly that the man on the other end of the radio wanted some ice cream. He went to the truck, found exactly what he’d been thinking about up to that moment, attached a single spider-man bar to the now ready stretcher, and helped to lower it down to Debbie Pincer.
But Debbie Pincer had not returned from her rage, and Lester sat alone, now licking the radio. That’s when the stretcher came sliding down at him. When he saw it, it was like Devine intervention. That single Spider-man bar attached to the stretcher was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen in his whole life. He was reminded of his wedding day as the last time he’d been so truly happy. The stretcher rolled right up to him, and he wasted no time with the ice cream. He opened it and immediately bit off Spidey’s head. He swallowed the gumball eyes. He had no use for anything not ice cream. After that he could almost fit the whole thing in his mouth, and he tried several times. He looked like a little kid playing with his food. The corners of his mouth were blue and red, and he dripped from the chin. This was the moment Lester had been trying to achieve. Everything he did today was for this, and now as he finished his ice cream every muscle in his body relaxed. As he placed down the popsicle stick he was tackled from behind by Thomas Peckit. There was a confusion of movement and Thomas Peckit landed on top of Lester. He swung across Lester’s face, and broke his hand from the contact. The pain from the break was so bad that he had to stand up and walk it off. He cursed wildly. Lester had been so confused and frightened by the sudden attack that he’d peed himself. The radio talked to him some more, but it was hard for him to focus on it through the pain and confusion. Thomas Peckit kicked gravel at Lester across the small clearing. He hated Lester. The man had ruined his life simply by existing, what right had Lester to eat the ice cream that Thomas Peckit made his living from? What right had he to enjoy himself at all? Thomas Peckit was in hell; at his absolute worst. He didn’t know why he had just done that. Something had taken over. Debbie Pincer felt the same way. Lester was sitting in his own urine. Lester’s boss drove to his mistress’ house, the mother to his secretary Lindsey, and made love to her. Rock Bottom is a lonely place to be, even with company…

Tom Walsh is fine though. A real hero. His son turns one next week. You’re all invited. Ice cream cake will be served.

Ice Cream Friday

Chris Hubbard

New Jersey, United States

  • Artist
    Notes

Artist's Description

The whole things about a crazy guy who wants ice cream really badly, and the things that happen around him.

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