Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dreams Part 1: SweetMan

Just a reminder: for the next month I will be sharing with you a story I wrote more than a decade ago, but am just now trying to illustrate. Please yell at me about it in the comments!

Part 1: SweetMan

Once there was fat, white ice cream salesman who grew tired of bomb pops and began to eat babies.

The old man had been peddling icy treats to kids for 40 years, driving around in his square white truck, listening to the ten second jingle on infinite repeat. Day after day he had bent his face toward them to take the sticky nickels and dimes, and day after day he’d handed them ice cream and a pat on the head. Their joyful grins or spoiled pouts were the same each year, a source of comfort to the childless old man.

Then one day he reached mandatory retirement age and was asked to turn in his pressed white jumpsuit and the keys to his cherished SweetMobile. Roger (the ancient ice cream man) now sat in his little white house with the short, white picket fence and ate Blue Bunny vanilla ice cream from the carton with plastic spoons. He no longer bothered getting dressed in the morning; every day he wore the same sweaty underwear and soiled “SweetMan” hat that he had refused to turn in with the rest of his uniform.

Finally Roger snapped out of his waking coma, dressed in his bathrobe and bunny slippers, and walked to the nearest thrift shop.

With the last of his retirement fund, he bought a dark brown polyester suit, khaki shirt, white suede shoes and a lawn angel. Roger straightened up his apartment and hung out a hand-painted sign that read “SweetMan Ice Cream Man’s Day Care Center.”

Men and women who had bought creamsicles and popsicles from him in their childhood recognized his house and the name, and they sent their children to be cared for by his ice-reddened hands and round rosy cheeks. They left their toddlers to his olive shag carpeting, their preschoolers to his cardboard box jungle gym, and their first graders to his library of 30-year-old Reader’s Digest Magazines.

The babies however… the babies were left to the dark shed behind the garage and his ever-expanding kitchen. Somehow, the mothers and fathers did not notice their missing babies. They scooped up the toddlers, preschoolers and first graders and blithely went home to their pot roast or meat loaf dinners, never wondering why the family seemed that much smaller or there was an extra crib in little Johnny’s room.

So for several years Roger lived on the frozen corpses of stolen infants and the little money he got from the Day Care Center. Soon, however, other ice cream men nearing retirement began to come to him for advice on dealing with the change, and, after careful consideration, he let them in on his secret. The men then flocked from all parts of the country; retiring, near retirement, or simply quitting the sweet-pushing business, they came to him, and in three months the Center had expanded to three buildings with a state-of-the-art play center and two computers equipped with Teaching Tools for Young Children. And for those three months, Roger slept as soundly as a baby.

No comments:

Post a Comment