As a younger man–though old enough to know better–I once navigated a rather cryptic epoch during which I chose (wholeheartedly or pigheadedly) to stick with my plague-rich mentality of promotional ice cream lotteries, confident in my god-given ability to strike it rich. With my trusty two and a quarter inch nail at my disposal, I scribed the five luckiest numbers ever known to man and beast in my favorite subterranean cave, positively declaring an end to the ceaseless turmoil of fumbling around in the cosmic muck for a few measly digits that–at one of my lower points–I thought would elude me as long as I were to inhabit this particular body. I then hastily chucked good ol’ Rusty (that’s what I called my long-suffering galvanized friend, knowing that his kind doesn’t rust for decades–a joke we shared on countless occasions) into the nearest ravine, a flourish that would–by all accounts (payable or otherwise)–bring this self-imposed trudge to a meaningful conclusion.
Boy, what a boneheaded mistake. No sooner than I’d comforted myself with that symbolic nail toss, a magpie hopped on by and casually reminded me that the most lucrative lottery drawings typically have six numbers. I wept, knowing that I’d severed the most rewarding relationship of a lifetime under the false pretense of a free scoop of rocky road at a participating Neddy’s® Frozen Custard.
I shaved and went back to my old CPA job.
What’s that? Oh, just a trainsquatting parallel service station ruminating forethoughts of rubbish, only to behold what everybody thought they’d lost oh so long ago. It varies, but the general longing is for innocence and chocolate ice cream. Tomorrow becomes yesterday, and fantasy splits from memory. You put on your corduroy pants and striped shirt, fling the door open and view the world anew, film life from your cold eyes. You skip down the street, greeting every pigeon and squirrel you see, unaware of the bewildered gawkers insinuating what you must be: a madman, a mentally challenged individual or somebody with a zest for life like nothing they’ve seen from someone your age–however old you happen to be. If you could read their thoughts, wouldn’t you obviously prefer the last one? Obviously. As you go to look for an ice cream truck in the middle of January, you feel lighter than you can ever remember. You click your heels and start whistling. The ice cream truck is an impossibility, and you know that in the back of your head, but you prefer to ignore your nagging mind and imagine the rarity and spectacular deliciousness that would come from an off-season waffle cone. Then you wake up and the process begins all over again, in earnest.
What time is it? Am I getting older?
I really wish I could use my arms.
We have to bring with us
a time that smells like
the grand representation
of polychromatic measures
for any and all underachieving
squirrel mongers we’ve come
to know and love. Some things
are better left unexplained
by our grand cynics, and I’ll
need you to take the kids
for a walk before bedtime.
If you could scrape a few
dollars together to get
some ice cream, that would go
a long way toward pleasing
our benevolent overlords
B: I told you not to let him go. Didn’t I tell you not to let him go? I definitely told you not to let him go.
P: What’re you groaning about this time?
B: The ice cream man! You heard me say I had to run into the house to grab my wallet. I said ‘don’t let him go after you get your popsicle.’
P: Oh, but I got a sundae. I thought your command was conditional.
B: You gave me the distinct impression that you wanted a frozen water treat, so I said popsicle. This was clearly all my fault.
P: Finally you see the light.
I: I’m still here, guys.
P: Ah! Oh, you scared me half to death, ice cream man!
I: My name is Frank.
B: What an odd name for an ice cream man.
I: Do you want a popsicle or not?
B: Really going for the jugular, Frank. No, I want a sundae.
I: I don’t do sundaes.
B: Then what’s that?
P: Oh right, he calls them mondaes.
B: Jesus, Frank. Give me a mondae then.
I: I hate mondaes.
P: You’ve still got it, Frank. Now get out of here before I call the cops.
B: Can I have my ice cream?