Several years ago, I noticed something odd in my mother’s neighborhood. During the summer, late in the afternoons, a strange sound would come from outside.
The first time I heard the sound, I was immediately transported back to a more innocent time. A time when I was young. A time when you could chase a truck down the street with a quarter and come away with a Dreamsicle. That time is past. I realize this because the sound has gotten a little creepier.
The ice cream truck should make a noise that sounds melodious and inviting. The ice cream truck in my mother’s neighborhood makes the same sorts of sounds, but they’re about as anti-melodious as you can get. To me, it sounds more like a bunch of empty bottles and cans randomly hitting each other swaying in a breeze. The sound should have been enough to keep me away, but I was intrigued. An ice cream truck? I haven’t gotten ice cream from a moving vehicle in years!
So I shot to mom’s front door where I finally caught sight of this wonder on wheels. I froze. No sooner had I opened the door did I close it again. I dropped to my knees and prayed to God that the driver hadn’t seen me.
If the clanging of empty bottles and cans wasn’t enough to send up a red flag, the sight of the truck itself certainly was. It’s old. Not like vintage or antique. It’s just old. And rusty. And looking at it sent chills up my spine. The guy driving invitation to death? Just as creepy. Not your grandpa’s Good Humor man.
I was tempted to hide behind some boxes in mom’s basement. I was fully prepared to curl up into a ball and repeat to myself, “Can’t sleep, the clowns will eat me.” I was terrified that the boogeyman that drives the ice cream truck would come after me. He didn’t. And I’m sure he never will. He’s probably just some harmless guy trying to eke out a living.
Even so, if I had kids, there’s no way they’d be getting ice cream from the rustmobile. I’m 35 years old now and just thinking about that thing still gives me the willies. The only thing missing was a giant clown head on top of the truck. Like a giant bobble-head. Sorry… cold chill again…