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Roger left the house in his pajamas, on a groggy search for Edy’s Strawberry Slow Churned Ice Cream. He took his mission seriously as he was under strict orders, no other brand would be an acceptable substitute.
The first grocery store was closed, as it was almost midnight on a Sunday. The second store was open, but after searching the shelves and having an apathetic teenager check the back, was of no use. He hopped back into his truck, tired but determined.
He had to find it, or what use was he? His wife had awakened with a taste for one particular brand and it was his job to find it. What would he tell his unborn son, that he had failed his mission? No sir, he would drive to the next town if need be, but he was coming home with the good stuff. His sleep depended on it.
Walmart was next, and he liked his chances, if he couldn't find the right brand of ice cream at America’s obesity headquarters then this country was on the verge of collapse. He pulled into the extensive parking lot, which although it was now midnight, was almost a third full. Heading inside, he nodded at a younger man exiting, haggard and worn, the man was wearing an ancient Hard Rock Cafe T–shirt and jogging pants, the bags under his eyes betraying his weariness. In his hands was a family-size jar of pickles.
The doors slid open and the familiar beeps of the registers could be heard, as the harmonious transactions never slept. Roger made his way towards the freezers hoping that this would be the last stop on his late night quest. He rubbed his eyes under the florescent glow of the bright lights overhead.
At the ice cream aisle, he began his search, Rocky Road, Double Chocolate Chunk, Reese’s, Cookies and Cream, Cookie Dough. A group of college aged students were searching as well, laughing and giggling without a care in the world. He smiled politely, but he was there on urgent business, out of the way kids.
And then he spotted it, in the back, a single container of Edy’s Strawberry Slow Churned Ice Cream. He looked around and then quickly snatched it from the freezer, unable to believe his good fortune he gave it a quick inspection and then made his way to the front.
Back in the truck, Roger smiled, he just might get to sleep after all. He started the engine and began on his way home.
He listened to a talk show about ufo’s and wondered if there was anyone else listening at this hour. A man professing to be a scientist was describing in striking detail, an abduction he had witnessed some years before. Having heard enough, Roger changed the station, classic rock, as he turned up the volume he noticed the flashing lights in the rear view.
You've gotta be kidding me.
He pulled over at the old gas station just over a mile from the house. A single light shined on the pumps as the station had been closed for hours. Roger let down his window, feeling the muggy summer air infiltrate the cabin. He turned off the ignition, waiting patiently while trying to think of just what exactly police officers do in their car for so long after pulling someone over.
Finally, the officer emerged from his vehicle, inspecting Roger’s truck as he passed. As he approached Roger’s window he closely examined his eyes as he spoke.
“License and registration please.”
Roger handed it over, he noticed the officer glance at the ice cream sitting on the passenger seat.
“Where you headed?”
“Home, I uh, had to run out to grab this.” Roger answered looking over at the ice cream, now turning soft.
A pause, the officer scanned Roger’s outfit, then shined his Mag-lite on the quickly melting ice cream.
“How far along is she?”
“Sir? Oh….uh about six months.” He was dealing with quite the detective here.
Another pause, Roger heard dispatcher from the patrol car radio.
~~Unit five, we have a possible 211 at 198 Blake, Unit five~~
The officer turned his head slightly, before mercifully clicking off the flashlight. He calmly responded to the dispatcher from his handset before returning Roger's information. The flashlight was back on, pointed at the ice cream in the seat.
“Slow it down through here, got it? Also, get her the waffle cones with that, you’ll thank me next time.”
Roger arrived home and quickly put the ice cream in the freezer. He found his pregnant wife on the couch, asleep on her side with one of her numerous expectant mom magazines on her lap. Beside her was Julius, their 3 year old lab. He lifted his head and attempted to wag his tail but instead only yawned. Roger found a spot on the couch and rested his hand on his wife’s leg, smiling as he thought of his successful trip. His wife turned her head to him and smiled.
"Yep, mission accomplished."
"You got the pickles?"
Copyright 2012 Pete Fanning