ICE CREAM

horror/comedy – july 2021

I don’t mind being dead if I have to be honest with you.

I am not bothered by being a ghost. I had, after all, told my husband I would haunt him until the day he died when he cheated on me with my best friend Lois and I found out at our neighbourhood 4th of July BBQ. I suppose my curse held some power, because last thing I remembered was the semi truck heading towards me on the I-75 and then I was standing on the side of the road watching on in detached amazement.

It didn’t take me long to adjust to my ghostly life, I just assumed I was attached to this earthly plane for unfinished business, namely that I was a bitter wronged woman. It came with no instruction manuals, no light at the end of a tunnel, no fire, no three previous dead cats and a welcome to your slice of heaven party. First I was breathing, then I was not, and I found I was bound by rules I didn’t understand and had to sort of learn on my own. I was okay with it though, it’s a bit of an adventure.

I couldn’t haunt my husband properly until I was buried, which is funny as I should have been ‘at rest’ but I was actually really angry and not very restful. I was able to talk to my young nephew but only he could see me, which I tried to keep to a minimum after he told my younger brother he was talking to his auntie. My atheist brother did not take his ‘wild imagination’ very well. I could not go haunt my husband at all hours of the day, it took a lot of energy to move through the world and learning how to jiggle his doorknobs right before he fell asleep was an exhausting learning curve.

I will admit there is one thing though that drives me nuts, and that is eating. I loved eating. My weight would reflect that, I was a little on the round side in life but there was no way I would turn down that extra taco on Taco Tuesday. Taste was a pleasurable experience for me, and as much as making my husband and Lois miserable was perfectly ghostly fun, I would also die again for a slice of pumpkin pie.

I missed food. I missed taste. I would watch my husband eat a bowl of fruit loops cereal and a coffee while I rattled his cupboards just to start his day off miserably, but really just wanted to put my ghostly lips around that rim of the mug and sip that beverage that I know he always crammed full of flavoured coffee cream.

Finally I decided I needed to try. I had mastered throwing plates, interrupting electrical signals, changing the television stations, and even getting to jump into mirror reflections for little flashes of time like some overweight, less-dramatic Bloody Mary.

The one year anniversary of my death was coming in quick. My husband decided to throw the 4th of July BBQ, which just made me angry all over again and hosted it at our abode with Lois. I knew my family would not come, but my neighbourhood loved some good gossip, so why not show up where the previous year a marriage had blown up in glorious fashion and the wife was killed two weeks later.

The crowd wasn’t as big as last year, and Lois doesn’t make a seven layer dip like I do. As much as I wanted to ruin the whole thing, what I wanted was to try and see if I could finally taste. All sorts of options presented themselves, but I saw the prize. I saw what I wanted as people got ready for the fireworks.

Ice cream. Glorious rocky road ice cream.

Ice cream cones were being handed out all around, my husband manning the scoop. I walked up behind him and saw the way the hair on his arms stood, because I knew I was very unsettling and always made him twitchy. I had grown to be a very vengeful ghost in my time.

I tried to reach out and grab the scoop right from his hand, but despite my powers with the plates, grabbing earthly objects is a very tricky art indeed, and I had never grabbed anything out of his or anyone’s hand. My own grasp went right through his, which made him shiver unpleasantly.

I instead, while he handed a fresh cone to a little kid I did not know, focused all my attention on the insatiable hunger I had been carrying around and grabbed the tub. To my surprise, it raised up in my hands. To everyone else surprise, there was now a floating bucket of ice cream in midair.

I screamed silently in triumph, people around me screamed in fear. One little boy, face covered in chocolate, pointed right at me and laughed, “The lady is gonna steal the ice cream!”

I sure was, kid. In a fit of excitement, not caring that the whole BBQ was now trying to figure out this trick, my husband looking on with pale face and aghast expression, I tipped that ice cream back and opened wide.

I don’t know what I expected to happen, but I watched Rocky Road slip down out of the bucket, come towards my mouth, then travel right through my ethereal ghostly form to smack down on the manicured lawn in a wasted, sad wet lump. The screams intensified as the tipped bucket hung in mid air.

I threw it, with no direction in mind. It clocked my husband right in his open mouth, splattering it in chocolate. People went running in multiple directions, Lois dropped her seven layer dip, and somewhere in the distance firecrackers started to go off sending dogs howling, a car alarm started to sing.

It was absolute chaos and the madness tasted better than ice cream.