Ice Cream and Cigarettes

Unnumbered Short Story #2

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The street was dark and quiet. It was late and there was nobody around. Every now and then the sounds of cars could be heard driving in the distance. Craig Johnson was walking to the Petro Canada gas station. He was going to buy a pack of cigarettes and maybe a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Half-Baked ice cream. He hadn’t decided yet. He lived just down the street and it was a short walk, one he had made many times. He had been smoking for three years and he had walked to that gas station almost every day to buy a pack of Macdonald specials. They weren’t the nicest cigarettes but they were cheap and Craig wasn’t too picky.

The walk had become routine by now. Every night at around 3:30am Craig would run out of cigarettes and walk to the gas station. Craig was a night person, so he always stayed up late into the night and slept in all morning until he had to go to work in the afternoon. He worked at the Subway Sandwich Shop on Bank Street, making sandwiches for professional type people in suits.

Tonight he was listening to music on his headphones. At this particular moment “Lovin’ You, Baby” by Charles Bradley was playing on his IPod. Charles sang passionately into Craig’s ears as he crossed Percy Street.

“One more block.” He said to himself, breaking the silence of the cool summer night. He looked up at the trees that were hanging over the street. The street lamps illuminated them. In all the years he walked down this street he never paid much attention to the trees, but for some reason tonight they looked particularly nice.

Finally Craig made it to the gas station, and without thinking, he through the double doors into the fluorescently lite store and walked straight to refrigerated section where the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream was. When he left his house that night he told himself that he didn’t need any ice cream, but in the back of his mind he knew he would buy some. He stood in front of the refrigerator for a couple minutes, arguing with himself before he gave in and opened the sliding glass door of the refrigerator and got the pint of ice cream.

He walked towards the cash register and noticed that he had never seen the cashier before. Craig had been going to that same gas station every night for three years and he had never seen this person before. After think for a moment Craig shrugged it off and figured Petro must have hired someone new. He paused his music and took off his headphones to talk to the cashier.

“Good evening, sir.” The cashier said politely.

“Hi.” Craig said as he put the tub of ice cream on the counter. The cashier scanned it.

“Is that everything?” The cashier asked.

“Uh, no, can I have a pack of Macdonald’s, red, regular, twenty five pack?

“I.D.?” The cashier asked. Craig exhaled through his nose in exhaustion. He never really minded getting carded, but at twenty-three years old it was a little insulting and he hadn’t been carded at Petro in years. He ignored his own surprise and dug his I.D. out of his wallet and handed it to the cashier. He smiled politely as the cashier scanned the I.D.

The cashier looked over Craig’s I.D. carefully, looking for all of the proper identifications. After a minute the cashier handed it back to Craig and rang through the ice cream and cigarettes. Craig paid for his things and bid the cashier good evening, a vague suspicion nagging at him.

Once he was outside he took the pack of cigarettes out of his bag and unwrapped the plastic wrapper, opened up the cigarettes, took out the paper packaging and threw it all in the garbage sitting just outside of the door to the Petro. He didn’t want to litter but he hated carrying around garbage in his pockets. He took out a cigarette and lit it. As he walked past the front of the Petro Canada he looked through the window at the cashier standing behind the counter. He was standing behind the counter staring blankly forward, a dull smile stretched across his face. But Craig didn’t stop walking and once he lost sight of the cashier and he didn’t give it another thought.

Craig walked across Bronson Avenue and put his headphones back on. He pressed play and Charles Bradley was once again crying into his ears again and his thoughts slowly drifted back to his ice cream and getting back to his game. Craig had been playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare since twelve o’clock that night, when he got home from the bar. He had been playing Team Deathmatch and attempting to get his kill-to-death ratio up.

He walked quickly and eagerly back home. He took a long step to avoid the crack that split the sidewalk. As his left foot landed a loud noise erupted out of the darkness. Even through the music that was blasting through his headphones he heard the sudden screech clearly. It was violent and painful and it made Craig jump. He ripped his headphones off in a fury and spun around in his tracks, looking for the source of the ferocious sound. It was so loud and jarring, he had never heard a sound like that before. But the street was quiet and still. Craig realized that he couldn’t even hear any cars in the background anymore.

He scanned the houses that lined both sides of the street, but there was no sign of any life. The houses were deadly still and the windows were black with darkness. The noise was long gone but the feeling it gave Craig still lingered in his stomach. Slowly and carefully he put his headphones back on and continued walking, but he was nervous, fear rose up inside him. He repeatedly his shoulder, searching for something out of the darkness. He quickened his pace.

“Almost home, Almost home, Almost home.” Craig said to himself. But he was still two blocks away from his house. He could still hear the noise in his head, it was like a scream, it was the type of scream a murder victim would make, but somehow completely different. There was something about the way it sounded that Craig couldn’t figure out.

He neared closer to Percy Street; he was one block away from his house when two dark figures emerged onto the street out of the backyard of a random house. They were half a block up from Craig. They were short and somehow they blended into the scenery perfectly.

Craig didn’t see them; he was still concentrated on making sure no one was behind him. The two figures stood still and Craig didn’t see them until one of them let out a scream, it sounded exactly the same as the scream Craig heard just a few moments ago. It was a hostile scream and there was a vivid insanity in it that Craig could feel. It made him stop cold. He looked over slowly and could only make out the two silhouetted figures standing in the middle of the street. He was so terrified he couldn’t move. He wanted desperately to run, but his legs wouldn’t move.

For a moment Craig and the two figures stood silently, looking at each other. And then, with no warning, the two figures burst out in a sprint, running towards him, they hollered wildly as they ran. Craig realized that the noise he had heard wasn’t the sound of someone being murdered, but the sound only of someone who did the murdering could make. It was the raving lunacy of a madman. Two madmen. Craig still couldn’t move, he watched the two figures run towards him, every couple of meters they past under a street lamp and Craig made out a detail. At the first street lamp he realized they were crouched on all fours, at the second he saw gleaming white, sharp teeth, at the third he saw fur.

“Fur?” He said to himself, puzzled. Then he realized what they were.

“Monkeys!” he yelled out into the night. For a moment the terror left him as he thought about the ridiculousness of the situation. They had gotten within 10 meters from him and from the light of a streetlamp he managed to get a glimpse of their faces and the terror returned. Their faces held an expression of blind insanity.

With the terror welling up inside him he ran away as fast as he could.

“Help! Help! Please! Someone help me!” He screamed desperately. But nobody came out. The street didn’t stir, not even trash blowing in the wind.

He looked back and the vicious, gnarled monkeys were gaining on him. He ran and ran but the monkeys were too fast. And then he could see a shining light around the corner and he remembered the Petro Canada gas station. He sighed with relief and ran quickly around the corner towards the Petro, the monkeys right behind screeching and running and clawing wildly at his coat tails.

Finally, as if it had been miles away, he reached the Petro Canada. The bright lights of the gas station shined out into the night like lighthouse shining out onto a dark and stormy sea. Craig made it to the doors of the gas station with only seconds to spare. He grabbed the handles and pulled with all of his might. To his horror, the doors were looked. In the seconds before the two wild monkeys reached him he looked into the gas station for the cashier he had talked only minutes before, but the store was empty. He banged on the glass and screamed for help. But it was to late.

The monkeys lunged onto his body, forced him to the ground and started to rip and tear at his flesh. Blood squirted everywhere and he cried out in pain. He tried desperately to fight back, but it was no use, the two apes overpowered him.

The attack was over in seconds and Craig’s limp body was left on the cold, hard ground, with his its chest ripped open and blood dripping out. The two beasts scampered off into the darkness beyond the gas station, as if they had never been there. Minutes passed by and nothing happened. No cars drove by, nobody walked by, no one made a noise. And then, after 10 minutes, the cashier from inside the Petro Gas Station emerged out of the back room and walked to the two doors, unlocked them and looked down at Craig’s body. There was no emotion on his face. The cashier didn’t react to the gruesome scene at all. He simply walked back into the store and carried out a garbage bin.

Slowly and methodically the cashier started to pick up the pieces of Craig’s body and threw them into the bin. Then, when Craig’s body had been disposed of the Cashier sprayed down the sidewalk in front of the store with a garden hose. He sprayed the bloody water towards a sewer and then sprayed the bloody water into the sewer. When he was done the sidewalk in front of the store looked as good as new. Then he put the hose back, threw the garbage bags full of body parts into the dumpster behind the store and quietly went back to the front desk.

The sun was rising before the Petro Canada gas station had another customer. A woman drove in to fill up her gas tank. By this time the streets were alive again with traffic and pedestrians. When the women paid for her gas, the cashier behind the counter smiled and nodded to her. The woman smiled and nodded back.

When she walked back out to her car, she noticed that there was a full pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream melting in the sun and an open pack of cigarettes lying on the sidewalk in front of the store. She looked over at the ice cream and cigarettes suspiciously for a moment. To the women it almost looked like someone had dropped them as they had fallen to the ground. But as she got into her car she quickly forgot about it and drove away from the gas station on her way to work.

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