A #fridayflash story
By John McDonnell
The Mr. Sweety ice cream truck was as much a part of summer on the island as bikinis and sunburn, and when the kids heard its tinkling music they’d run from the beach with their money and line up to get their frozen treats.
The truck was owned by a man named Banana Joe, who wore a big floppy hat and pretended he liked kids, although the kids knew his smile was fake and his cheery manner disappeared when there were no parents around. Besides, he had one long fingernail, his pinky nail, and the kids thought that was weird.
Banana Joe had a specialty, miniature bananas dipped in chocolate sauce and frozen. He called them, “Banana Joe bars”. The kids loved them.
He had a brother named Willy who was not too smart, and he helped out on the truck, but Banana Joe was mean to him. He called him “Stupid,” and “Dummy”, and ordered him around.
One time Willy felt sorry for a little girl who didn’t have any money with her, and he gave her an ice cream bar for free. When Banana Joe found out about it he got angry at Willy and called him really bad names until Willy got tears in his eyes and looked embarrassed in front of the kids.
“You do that again and I’ll put you back in the home,” Banana Joe said.
“No,” Willy said. “Please, don’t do that, Joe.”
“I swear I will,” Banana Joe said. “I oughtta do it anyway. You’re more trouble than you’re worth, you moron. I oughtta put you back there where you belong.”
Willy’s lip was quivering, and he was wringing his hands.
The next day, when the kids heard the music from the truck and they ran to get their ice cream, Banana Joe wasn’t there. “He got sick,” Willy said. “I’m gonna sell the ice cream now.”
The kids all cheered, because they loved Willy. They lined up and fired their orders at him, and Willy tried his best, but he got all mixed up about what everybody wanted and how much everything cost. He took forever, and the kids were getting impatient. One teenaged girl tried to butt ahead of everybody.
“I’m tired of waiting,” she said. “I want a Banana Joe bar.”
“I’ll get to it,” Willy said. “Just give me a chance.”
“I want it now,” she said. “My Dad knows the mayor. He can get you kicked off this beach. Now!”
Willy wiped his brow, and said okay. He reached in the freezer and brought out a Banana Joe bar. The girl paid him and tore the wrapper off the bar. She bit into it, said, “Ow!” and cursed. “Why is this so hard?”
She looked closely at the place where she’d taken a bite. Her face changed, and her eyes got very, very big.
“Oh my God,” she said. She dropped the Banana Joe bar on the pavement and ran screaming down the beach.
In the noonday sun, you could see a fingernail protruding from the chocolate.
Copyright 2010 John McDonnell. All rights reserved.