VOL. 6: You Served Ice-Cream for a Living

Artwork by Chris Gooch
Artwork by Chris Gooch

The following is an excerpt from Vol. 6, available now!

 
YOU SPEND YOUR days at Cold Rock Ice-Creamery smashing mini Mars Bars into frozen compounds of bubblegum-flavoured milk mixtures and serving dollops of the stuff to teenagers wearing miniskirts over black stockings. The first time I saw you, you were scooping lemon sorbet with Nerds into a waffle cone, your black dreadlocks barely covering the outline of your chest, silhouetted against a bright pink sign advertising cakes in the shape of handbags for little girls’ birthdays.

I imagined you in your bedroom, writing lines of poetry with liquid white-out on the walls:
 

I remember
our school banned Tamagotchis
& Mum learned how
to use them
so we wouldn’t come home
to 4 dead pets.
Thanks, Mum
you say aloud.

 

Alana invites me over for lasagne and you’re curled up on her couch watching re-runs of The Simpsons. I ask where you work and you tell me how you scoop ice-cream for a living ’cos your birthday is coming up and you never had an ice-cream cake as a kid ’cos it would’ve melted before your old man made it to the table and this is your way of saying ‘fuck you Dad, now I can have an ice-cream cake every year’. I sit next to you on the couch, upright, and you lie down on your side and push your feet and calves across my lap. I ask how you know Alana and you say, ‘I’ve decided that season one of The Simpsons does not belong in the golden era.’

‘Do you drink coffee?’ I ask.
 
We go for coffee that weekend. You almost run into a hipster sitting on a pallet covered in fake grass and then you order a soy mocha because you don’t want to hurt the cows and I leave South America’s savannahs and giant anteaters out of the conversation because your fringe reminds me of a woman I once went down on in Sydney’s Chinese Garden of Friendship. I want your vagina to taste like hers.

You tell me again your birthday is coming up and say, ‘Please don’t buy me any Christian books ’cos my shelf is full and my heart is empty.’

‘Are you religious?’ I ask.

‘God no,’ you reply.

I nod and you say, ‘When I was 13, my Bible study teacher made us glue two sheets of paper together and then rip them apart again. Shreds of paper were stuck to each sheet, they had tears and holes and a sticky mess all over them. Without a word, we all signed an abstinence pledge.’

After coffee, on the way to Howlin’ Wolf Bar you tell me, ‘My turtle is called Sergeant Pepper. My dead pug was called Billy Jean. And I have a pet Barramundi, but she never really got a name. We just call her Barra.’

At Howlin’ Wolf you twirl in a circle, black dreadlocks with tips dyed orange like they were dipped in orange paint fanning out in a circle around you. You say, ‘I know your friend. I almost got kicked out of a club and I needed a guy to make out with and he was there.’ I ask why and then mentally rearrange your words as you speak them, forming poetry on a piece of paper in my mind:
 

A lovely old man
told me I made him
want to dye
his beard orange.

 

I laugh and say that’s not what I meant. Two girls holding hands squeeze past us and I ask what you’re thinking about. ‘I don’t agree with gay marriage because I don’t agree with the institution of marriage,’ you say. I nod, and say nothing…
 
Grab a copy of Vol. 6 here!
 
 

Chloe Higgins
Chloe Higgins 1 Article
@Chlo_Higgs is a Wollongong-based fiction writer and poet. She currently likes recording conversations and stealing lines from people’s Facebook walls to use in her stories. She is the Director of Wollongong Writers Festival (@WGongWritFest) and works at South Coast Writers Centre (@SCWCentre).