By Benji Elkins:
Every, time, the minute I step into the Stonedge Treats Shoppe I’m greeted with an inundation of sensory pleasure. The cool air from the freezers brushes under my feet, chilling my toes. The smell of fresh baked cookies, sugary icing, and best of all, homemade ice cream bounce across the room. And the baby blue painted walls soothe the eyes as they accent the wooden chairs and benches lining the wall. I simply love it all.
Usually Stonedge Treats is packed, but as I walked into the shop, past a frowning father and son, I was delighted to see it completely empty, and therefore, with no line! Most of the time, it takes me a while to know what I want to order, so I’ll stand in the back and take a long hard gander at the black chalkboards above the ice cream freezer, deciding between the multitude of the stores original ice cream flavors like “almond croissant” and “ice cream”. However, this time I knew exactly what I wanted - a large chocolate ice cream with a dab of caramel and a sprinkling of heath bar. I had been thinking about it all day. My mouth watered.
I walked right up the cashier. I could almost imagine the cold chocolate ice cream gracing my lips, melting in my mouth with the delicious flavors of the sweet yet slightly bitter chocolate, the sugary and thick caramel, and the crunchy and delightfully rough heath bar. I could not wait.
I said “Hi!” and placed my order. “I will have a large chocolate ice cream please with a dab of caramel and a sprinkling of heath bar.” I exclaimed. I was ready, and then, like in a dream out of heaven, the cashier looked me in the eyes, smiled back, walked towards the ice cream freezer, opened it up, and said with the sweetest voice a man could ever hear, “The chocolate ice cream? Oh, yeah… we’re out. I just had the last scoop a few minutes ago.”
What?! I thought. “What?!” I said, almost in a trance of shock. “Oh I just ate the last scoop of chocolate a couple minutes ago,” she repeated, “perks of working at an ice cream shop I guess!” She chuckled.
I stayed silent.
I had been waiting for this the whole day. I had dreamed about it while filling out Excel sheets at work. I had tasted it in my mouth when I had eaten my chicken salad sandwich during work. And I could see it in my hands when told my wife I couldn’t make our daughter’s violin recital. And all, just for this? My stomach rumbled and I looked at the cashier. She was fairly small and slightly chubby, her brown ponytail hanging out of the back of her baseball cap, resting on the top of her apron. The cap read, “Always happy to serve!”. She was young, I guess I would give her a pass.
“What about vanilla?” I asked.
“Oh vanilla! Good choice!”
She walked down to the other side of the freezer, pulled open the top, and looked back to me.
“Ooh, looks like I finished that off too.”
I was shocked.
“Mint chocolate chip?”
“My favorite, but, gone.”
“Ate it just before you came?”
“If only you had come five minutes earlier.”
“Ooh, I ate that one yesterday.”
“It was great! You know, you should try it next time.”
“FUCKING PISTACHIO?!” I screamed.
She stopped in silence. Our eyes met in a deadlock stare. My face turned red, hers remained shocked, cold, expressionless, evil. I couldn’t bear the sight of her, I averted my eyes.
“Well?” I said, looking to the floor in shame. “Any pistachio?”
She looked at me, and finally smiled.
“Yes, we have pistachio, how many scoops would you like?”
“Come on.” I yelled and left the shop. I stared back at the door, and looked up towards the awning. It was a short black curtain the hung over the door. In the center was a big bowl of chocolate ice cream with a chocolate chip cookie dipped inside. I stared at that for a long time. I hadn’t cried that hard since my mother passed. No one likes pistachio.