How to cool off on the hottest day of summer
|Holiday Short Story win. 2018 Quill Fantasy Short Story finalist.
“What a dish.” Melvin Spore stopped spooning chunks of rocky road. He'd just seen a bit of chocolate he wouldn't mind tasting himself. It was his first day on the job at ‘Farr’s Ice Cream Emporium’. He had muscles screaming at him he hadn’t known he possessed.
“Can’t you move faster than a melting glacier?” Shelly Long grabbed his spoon out of his hand to finish the customer’s request for a triple cone.
“What a Pal. Hottest day of summer, line a mile long, people melting on the floor, and I get this for help.” Everyone was called ‘Pal’ by the shift supervisor. She churned out orders for employees faster than could be filled.
“I want him to do mine. He’s cute. I want a chocolate ice-cream sundae with a cherry on top.” Melvin's vision pranced forward.
Shelly froze Melvin with a glance, threw the scoop spoon at him, and stepped back to watch. “Make it quick, Pal. No dilly-dallying.”
“Customer is always right.” The pretty chocolate colored college co-ed smiled and winked. “I’ll eat Hmm, here.”
“Uh. Right.” Melvin couldn’t help but smile back. Her’s was infectious.
Black eyes winked at green. “That woman needs a vacation. Can I have an extra dollop of whipped cream?”
“Sure, three scoops, right?” Melvin stared down at the empty chocolate ice-cream barrel as Shelly swept it aside, depositing a new one frozen solid.
“Line Isn't getting shorter, pal.” And she was off.
The chocolate girl looked more thoughtful than she should for just wanting something cool on a hot day. “You’re cute, you know that? You look like vanilla ice-cream with strawberry covered sprinkles on top.”
Melvin dug into the frozen wasteland of the chocolate ice cream, breaking the plastic scoop. "Nickname's red."
“Put warm water on the scoop first. It’ll sink right in. I'm Sam.” Samantha whispered.
It worked. Mel brought the goopy sundae to the customer’s table. “I’ll take your payment here so you don’t have to battle the line.”
When their fingers touched it felt like magic floating right up into his heart. “Me, too.” Samantha breathed. “I knew it when I saw you standing there.”
“Hey, Pal? You’re growing roots.” Shelly gestured. "And you are distracting the help."
“Ma’am?” Samantha stood. “This is the best ice-cream I’ve ever had. Here. Have some.”
Two and a half scoops covered with cream, nuts, and big red cherry on top suddenly adorned Shelly’s head.
“Poster perfect. Let me get a shot.” Samantha whipped out her I-phone and snapped some for fun, giggling as she did.
“You . . .” For once, Shelly was speechless. Chocolate ice-cream slide down her forehead skied over her nose and plopped down to cool off an over-heated chest.
“Take out,” Samantha noted with glee.
Melvin grabbed at Shelly’s apron strings to hold back the charging beast. “Customer knows best.” He swung her around, pointed the other way, and let go.
“Let me get you a fresh one, Samantha. No charge.” Melvin urged her towards the door.
Another employee bulldozed through the gawking crowd, leading the store owner. “What’s going on here?” He stopped to peer back from Shelly to Samantha.
“She’s just showing how to cool off when you’re hot under the collar.” Samantha dabbed a finger at the whipped cream for a lickety-lick as Shelly marched up.
“She’s outta’ here or I am.” Shelly’s voice was pure ice screaming her indignation.
It hurt the man's ears. “You’re talking to a repeat customer.” The owner blurted. “She wouldn’t do something like this without a reason.”
“I’m outta’ here.”
“Still not cooled off,” Samantha added a neighbor's hot fudge sundae to the mix on the flabbergasted supervisor’s head.
Other cell phones were flashing shots as Shelly broke open the front door to scattered applause. “Cool,” Samantha remarked. “I’ll take you up on that freebie if it’s still available.”
The excitement had even more customers coming in to find out what was going on. Photos whirled the event viral on social media and the store became a cool sensation.
Which is how Shelly became the summer’s hottest photo to catch on the hottest day of the year. She was rehired as the backroom bookkeeper. Samantha and Melvin found a new passion for chocolate ice-cream as long as a dab rested on each other's new summer love’s lips.
750 word entry for "Holiday Short Story Contest - closed" prompt: chocolate ice-cream and summer