• Dzama


“I fake it once a day,” said the ice cream guy. “I’m this happy all the time really but once a day, once a day it hits me and I have to smile and fake it.” “What hits you?” the lady asked.

“This,” he said, gesturing to the ice-cream shop and the world visible through its glass door and floor-to-ceiling windows. The lady looked around. “What, you don’t like ice-cream? You don’t like summer?”

“Once a day. The rest of the time I love it. But that’s why you gotta be able to fake it so that you smile one hundred percent of the time.” He went to scraping dried ice-cream off the counter. “That’s how you tell a professional,” he went on.

“Yeah, a professional liar,” the lady said. “Maybe,” he answered, grinning.

The lady looked him in the eye. “That’s what my husband is, a liar,” she said. “And I’d like you to go and tell him that.”

The ice cream guy stared at her, still smiling. “Oh, I don’t do those kind of jobs any more, lady.”

“Yes you do, MacCrackey! You did one for Mr. Steward last week. He paid you ninety dollars and I’m going to double that.” She dropped some hundreds so they landed down in the ice-cream bins. Then she walked back to the door. “19982 Sylvermar Ave. His name is Pilsen and he’s got salt and pepper hair.” Bells jingled as she pushed out the door. Then she abruptly disappeared around the corner. MacCrackey stared after her. He reached down and lifted the bills out of the ice cream and wiped them off, putting them in his pocket. He took an ice-pick and a long knife from under the counter and hid them under his apron. Then he hung a “Be Back Soon” sign on the door and headed down the street.

About twenty minutes later he returned, smiling, apron spattered with blood, carrying a human head with salt and pepper hair. He went behind the counter and placed the head in a freezer box with several other heads, all frozen solid. Then he looked around the shop and the smile ran away from his face for a spit second before being replaced by an even bigger smile. He removed the bloody apron and put it in a black garbage bag before throwing on a new one.

Soon children getting off from school lined up in the store and he had his hands full making their ice-creams, big smile gleaming, bell ringing with each new customer.

When the lady showed up again it was the end of the day and the setting sun made the empty ice-cream parlor glow orange. She walked in and he came forward and plopped the head on the counter. “I knew you still did it MacCrackey,” she said, winking at him. She put the head into her bag and waved as she left the store, “Keep smiling!” she called, the bells ringing with her exit.

And he did keep smiling, the big smile widening more and more on his face.

Even when the police arrived about a month later he smiled. He smiled all though his trial. Then they gassed him and his famous smile was frozen on his face forever.



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