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Ice Cream Girl
by Suzanne Smith

As my co-worker got off the phone with our boss, who was giving her a "to do" list, I was writing down the numerous tasks the night crew failed to perform the night before. I posted my paper on the bulletin board and started on the daily opening duties. As I lifted the scoopers from the blue sanitizing liquid, I began to feel her ominous footsteps and smell her flyspray perfume.

"Here!" she barked as she thrust her list at me, not caring if I caught it or not. I freed an exhausted sigh as she walked off. At this point, I had little to look forward to. All day I was going to be crammed into the poorly ventilated ice cream section, dealing with tourists, dairy products, and the laziest, bossiest, most horrible excuse for an ice cream manager ever imaginable. Then it came to me - an idea like a punch in the face. Flee!

She must have seen the flame in my eyes as she looked up from the stuffed animals. I knew. She knew. I ran. She ran. Into the back room, down the stairs, we kept going. Though the isles of back-stocked towels, tee-shirts and bibs. Past the goodwear shirts and the box of broken merchandise. And then I stopped. Suddenly, silently. "Suzanne, get up here!" she called from the stairs.

The boxes and their protective shadows hid me well. "Now!" she yelled with pathetic authority. Her tormented growl reached me clearly, followed by her footsteps back up the stairs. I was safe. For a little while, anyway.

Story previously appeared in
the Beechnut Review

Copyright 1998 Manitou Publishing Co. & Suzanne Smith • All Rights Reserved.

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