A Shady Night at an Ice Cream
Writing prompt: It’s the night shift, and Lloyd is acting weirder than usual.
Twenty-eight days. That’s how long Dylan and Lloyd have been working at the ice cream stand on Broadway Street. It’s a short time for some, but for Dylan and Lloyd, it's made them veterans. Being the only two employees in a seasonal shack, they know all of the company drama and how to get around in the cut throat world of frozen diary. Of course, it helps that they have known each other for longer than twenty-eight days as well. They’ve known each other their entire lives. They even served as each other’s references when they applied together.
Suffice to say, Dylan and Lloyd get along well, and see things much in the same way. They like the same kind of girls, they play the same kind of games, and they even got the same haircut once (and only once). It made every bit of sense forty-one days ago, when they saw the sign for help at the Ice Cream King’s stand, to apply together. And for twenty seven days, things went swimmingly. Yesterday, however, was the end of that.
Dylan comes into work this morning (morning for him anyways) at twelve-forty-five pm. Lloyd is not there. In fact, Lloyd does not show up until two pm. This has left Dylan alone to do all of the set up. Still, they are good friends and when Lloyd comes in, Dylan makes little of it. So does Lloyd. In fact, Lloyd can’t seem to be bothered to do anything. He just sits and stares out the vending window, burning holes with his eyes into the road before them.
It does not take much longer for Dylan to become a bit annoyed, and a bit concerned. He is not sure which feeling, if either, is justified. Thus, Dylan decides to do some investigative work and see if he is unable to get things back to normal.
“You alright there, bud?” He asks gently. Lloyd glances at him and goes back to the road. The look Dylan receives is one that is in his direction, maybe it is even at him, but there is no focus and no real recognition. “What’s on your mind?”
“How do you think this place stays open?” Lloyd asks him.
“Are you joking? With you and me running this place, how could it close?” Dylan jives back.
“Seriously. How can this place be open for two months of the year, and be able to pay for itself?”
Dylan pauses at the thought. He is surprised by Lloyd’s interest in the business’ financial plan.
“I suppose I don’t know.”
“Well,” Lloyd looks back at his friend. This time his eyes are sharp and aware. “I do.”
“Okay… tell me.”
“They’re not selling ice cream, Dylan. They’re selling us.”
“What?” Dylan scoffs.”Lloyd, you need to chill your grill. Mr. and Mrs. Monroe are paying us to be here.”
“Even so,” Lloyd replies, using the same tone he has from the beginning. “We’re the products.”
“And who would be buying us?”
“Vampires.” At this, Dylan cannot help but laugh.
“That’s definitely not a thing, man. Look, we gotta open up shop soon. Can I count on you or not?”
“I’ll prove it to you,” Lloyd insists. “Stay with me after shift, when Mr. and Mrs. Monroe come to lock up.”
“If I do, and nothing happens, will you let this go?”
“Then you have a deal.”
The shop closes the same time it does each night, at ten, well after the sun has set. Dylan has never been bothered by that reality, until tonight. The Ice Cream King’s stand loses the last of it’s customers at seven, sometime eight. But it does not lose sight of the sun until eight-thirty, or even nine.
The boys clean up at eight, and have the shack set up for tomorrow by nine. Usually, the last hour is spent taking free throws into the trash can, or looking at funny videos together on their phones. Tonight it is spent waiting.
Dylan does not believe Lloyd. All of the academia within him refuses to leave room for vampires. Yet, there is another end to his mind that will not be at peace. Dylan is his friend. They have each other’s backs. They are not accustomed to breaking each other’s trust or abandoning each other. Why would Lloyd act this way? Does he think he’s funny? Has a screw gone loose? Could he be telling the truth? What does one believe, when someone who is worthy of their trust, insists on something that couldn’t possibly be true? For Dylan, the antinomy is haunting.
Ten O’clock happens quietly. Mr. and Mrs. Monroe arrive, dressed in their usual Victorian-aristocratic style. They speak briefly but kindly to the boys, and seem to notice Lloyd’s odd manner, but disregard it. The boys exit the shack and circle to it’s back where their bikes await. They unlock them from the rack they rest in. Then they tuck their miscellaneous items into their backpacks. Lloyd laces up his shoes tightly, as if he were about to run a track event. The fear Dylan feels forces him to follow suit.
When they’ve done all they can to be ready to leave, and leave quickly, they sit down against the building. Lloyd presses his ear to the wall.
“Listen with me,” he insists. Dylan feels weird about putting his nose where it doesn’t belong. However, he wants his friend back, and if he must wade into the water, to drag his friend back on to land, he is willing to do it. Two voices can be faintly, but rather punctually heard.
“Sirius should be in town tomorrow,” Mr. Monroe states. There is an interlude of silence.
“Will he come by tomorrow?” His lady inquires.
“Yes, I expect he will.”
“Very good. I hope Lloyd is not ill. It would be a shame for Sirius to think we are giving him spoiled meat.”
“I’m positive he is healthy. Couldn’t you smell his blood?”
“His blood wreaks of cheetos and soda,” she replies rather loudly.
“Yes. He is a teenager. Still, despite his diet, he is in good shape. Besides, you know Sirius likes some sweets with his food.”
At this point, Dylan’s eyes are wide and staring at Lloyd. He looks away from him for a moment to the nearest bush. He sees no camera man. Our protagonist turns his ear back onto the wall.
“You know I do,” Mr. Monroe answers.
“What’s our plan then? Werewolves live a very long time, dear.”
“Werewolves!?” Dylan blurts out from behind the shack. The two friends stare at each other. Have they been heard? They press their ears unto the wall a moment longer. There is silence.
“We need to leave,” Lloyd states as if it were law.
Together they rise, hop on their bikes, and speed away. In an instant, the Ice Cream King’s stand is vacant outside, and vacant from within.
Need more fantasy? Check out The King of Criminal Island!