I Scream, You Scream: Stalked by the Ice Cream Man
A few days ago I posted a little essay about the ice cream truck that frequents our neighborhood. We really like the fact that we have an ice cream truck that comes around, especially since lately we have been out working in the ninety plus degree heat for several hours a day. He generally comes about the time we are wrapping up for the night, covered in dirt, sweat and an astonishing variety of live bugs and dead plant material that rivals anything the dog picks up on his daily walks.
Yesterday I came home from the grocery store with two packages of Klondike Bars. They were buy one, get one free at Safeway. When I opened the freezer drawer to deposit them in the deep freeze, I noticed a couple of bars in there from the ice cream truck. Must have shown up early that day. According to the old man, he drove right down our driveway, (it’s a pretty long driveway), to the shop. We laughed about how we’ve got him trained well.
Today ended up being another sweltering day. I was out in the green house tying up the beans and tomatoes when I heard the ice cream man headed our way. The sound was so faint at first, you had to strain your ears to hear him, but it got progressively louder as he approached our end of the street, and then it got really loud, because he was in our driveway again! So I kind of hid in the green house because I felt weird that we weren’t going to be buying any ice cream from him, and here he was, at our door again. Luckily I was in the end of the green house blocked from view by the shed. It felt really strange hiding from the ice cream man. Something about the carnival ride like music, the simmering heat in the air, the guilt I felt, like I had done something terribly wrong, bringing home those Klondike Bars. It was almost like a Stephen King novel:
The truck stops in the driveway, I know because I hear the music, and the volume is constant, so no, he’s not leaving. I hear the creak of the door, and the ice cream man getting out, feet crunching on the gravel. He’s coming this way! Only now he’s an evil clown with a jack in the box, turning the crank to make the music keep playing as he approaches the green house, the one I’m peeking out of at him. I scurry to the other end and try to open the door, but of course, it’s stuck. My fault. Should have trimmed the thick grass and weeds growing out there weeks ago.
The music box is getting louder as he rounds the corner of the house and proceeds towards the open door of the green house. Can I make it out before he catches me and beats me to death with the ice pick dangling from a chain on his belt? I bolt for the door, and just as I step on the threshold, I scream. I’m face to face with the evil clown/ice cream man with the jack in the box (that surely contains the rotting corpse head of the real ice cream man who will pop out like alien and eat my brains the moment he stops cranking), when the old man casually steps out on the back deck in his boxers and tells the guy that his wife came home with Klondike Bars yesterday, so I guess we won’t be needing any coconut bars tonight. He stands there in his boxers, clueless.
The evil clown ice cream man imposter looks at me, malice squeezing out of his eyes like oily sweat on the brow of a spaghetti western cowboy on the outskirts of the desert somewhere in…Italy??? He walks away, slowly-ever so slowly, cranking on that box so as not to reveal the dead mans head inside to the old man standing there in his underwear looking down on him from the deck. He gets in the truck and drives away like a fox creeping away from the hen-house. I sigh and fall to the floor of the greenhouse. I scream again! Damn, that black weed-block fabric is hot! The old man shakes his head and gives me that “WTF?” look and steps back into the cool, air-conditioned house. All I can do is cry a few bitter tears, which I immediately lick off my salty lips with greedy slurps.
Did that really just happen? How can the old man be so oblivious to the fact that we are being stalked by a murdering evil clown/imposter ice cream man, who I suspect will be back tomorrow, another 90º plus scorcher according to the weather lady on Fox News Thirteen.
I cast myself on my knees, (ouch!) and pray for rain, a cool breeze, a day time high below 75º, a husband that pays attention– anything to keep that bastard evil clown away. Then I pick myself up off the floor of the steamy green house and go inside, where the old man is eating a Klondike Bar and watching the news. He remarks that tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter. I might be mistaken, maybe it is the heat, but I swear he’s fighting a tight-lipped evil clown grin as he says it.
©2017 by Ilona Elliott