Monday, June 04, 2012

Strawberry season

The Lonely Lumberjack is to thank for this Rebel Camp NaNoWriMo prompt:

The man was short but carried himself lower still, hunched over a wheeled walker as he struggled through the door of the Queen O’ The Dairy Restaurant & Ice Creamery. He wore a long white beard and his white hair spilled out below a black bowler hat. Half-bent, he toddled slowly toward the serving counter where young Pamela stood in three-toned golf shirt, matching visor and name tag. She chomped chewing gum and drummed her fingers on the countertop waiting for Father Time to arrive at the designated Order Here area.

As he inched within two metres of the order area she figured he'd come within hearing range. “Welcome to the Queen O’ The Dairy Restaurant and Ice Creamery! How can I help you?” she chanted gaily. “Shit!” she added. The old man looked up, startled. “I mean - Thank you for choosing the Queen O’ The Dairy Restaurant and Ice Creamery. How can I help you. Sorry. I keep forgetting they changed the script this week. They do that every once in a while just to mess me up and make me look stupid.”

“How dare they,” said the old man dryly.

“I know. So what do you want?” said the girl.

“I’d like to order some refreshment.”

“Yeah, so what do you want?”

He looked wearily at the illuminated display boards behind the girl. “I want a strawberry malt.”

“A what?”

“A strawberry malt.”

“A strawberry what?”

“A strawberry malt.”

“A malt?”

“A strawberry malt.”

“A strawberry malt?”

“Yes. A Strawberry malt.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I want a strawberry malt.”

“Wait a minute,” said Pamela. She turned and left him and pushed through the swinging door. Another girl was standing at the hot dog production area carefully painting a fingernail strawberry red.

“Where’s Steve?” said Pamela.

“How would I know? I’m not his mother.”

“What’s a strawberry malt?”

“How would I know?”

“Oh, for fuck sakes. This old guy wants a strawberry malt.”

“It’s a code word for blow job.”

“Fuck off. It’s not.”

“Give him a strawberry milkshake.”


“That or the blow job, honey. It’s your choice.”

“Oh fuck off.”

Pamela returned to the service counter where the old man looked up at her stone-faced. “We don’t have strawberry malts but we have strawberry milkshakes. Will that be fine?”

“I want a strawberry malt.”

Pamela put her hands on her hips and clicked her gum noisily. “We don’t have strawberry malts here. Do you understand? It‘s twenty-twelve in case you haven‘t noticed.”

“Twenty-twelve for a strawberry malt? That’s highway robbery.”

“The year is twenty twelve. A strawberry milkshake is two-eighty-nine for a small.”

“I want a strawberry malt.”

“We’re all out of malts. Come back Monday.”

“I want a strawberry malt today.”

“Well, I’m sorry about your luck. Go try the Five and Dime, gramps.”

The man stared at her. Pamela stared back.

He spoke: “A sundae then?”

“No. Monday.” I won’t be working that day, she thought.

“I want a strawberry sundae.”

“You want a strawberry sundae?”

“Yes; a strawberry sundae.”

“Fine. For here or to go?”

The man stared at her. “Where the hell am I gonna go?”

Pamela shook her head. “Have a seat then. I’ll bring it over to you.” She grabbed a cup and held it under the soft serve dispenser, shifting the cup about to create the required swirl.

‘A sundae, without the swirl, is like an oyster, without the pearl,’ the tall and gawky assistant manager had serenaded on the day of her training. And you’re making me want to hurl, she had added silently and then laughed out loud. The assistant manager had laughed then too and winked at her. If only she’d had her spray can handy she would surely have peppered the spindly fucker right then and been out of a job and then horrendous days like this would never have come.

She ran the dish under a stream of strawberry sauce then and looked over where the man was still hunched and ponderously inching toward a table.

“Crushed nuts?” she asked.

The man stopped, erected and stared at her. “No. Just old age and arthritis.” He bent and pushed off again. Pamela frowned, looking back and forth between he and the tub of peanut sprinkles.


Elizabeth Twist said...

Ha! Genius.

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

Wow. Thanks for your support. I hope you're feeling munch better! I hope to see you Thursday night.