By E. Redding
Besides the common aversion to spiders, heights, and tight spaces, I have other unusual fears—clowns and ice cream trucks. Perhaps the worst scenario would be a clown driving an ice cream truck. The connection between these two is that behind the seemingly cheerful face and jingle, something more sinister can lurk. The mere sound of the carnival-like tune, eerily carrying through the air, gives me goosebumps. So after our recent class discussion about addressing our fears head on, I decided to deal with at least one of them.
Coming home from school, I heard it approaching our neighborhood in its typical sly, unassuming way. I followed the repeating tune that resonated throughout the streets. There it was, approaching me ever so steadily like an avalanche in slow motion. The windshield was tinted, so I could not see who was driving until it got much closer. Instead of a clown or a monster, I was greeted by a middle-aged man in a crisp white shirt and a baseball cap slightly shielding his face. His hands were relaxed over the steering wheel. “Hello!” A thin smile emerged from underneath the shadow. A minute later, I claimed my prize of two almond toffee bars. Keeping one eye on the ice cream man, and using the other to count the dollar bills, my first ice cream truck transaction was successfully over.
However, my feeling of victory and accomplishment was soon replaced by dread. Why was he following me after our “business” was officially completed? I crossed the street quickly and walked the opposite direction. I found it difficult not to panic, especially after I heard the truck troll right behind me. This time, my pace increased to a steady trot. Turning the corner, I noticed he was once again coming my direction. I swiftly unlocked the front door and slipped inside the house. I looked through the peephole. To my complete terror, the ice cream man parked in front of our house and got out—his body stretched and distorted, taking the shape of a faceless embodiment. My worst fear was about to become a reality. I raced upstairs. Soon, a steady knock on the door echoed through the house. I froze, not making a sound. I expected him to kick down the door or break in through the window. Instead, there was a period of silence, followed by footsteps, this time going away from the house. I heard the truck start and drive away. I looked through the peephole again before opening the door to make sure the coast was clear. There, lying on the doormat, was my wallet with a note: You dropped it on the sidewalk. Didn’t want you to be without it. Signed, The Ice Cream Man.
Delightful! Good chuckle over morning coffee…but I’d rather have two almond toffee bars.
Great story! I keep getting ideas for a creepy ice cream man character.
Lovely story of upending a fear. On to the clowns next!