CHASE by Frankie McMillan

CHASE by Frankie McMillan

Mr Whippy here and there, up the street, down the street, swerving his pink and cream van to avoid a dog, Mr Whippy his face emperor white, hunched over the wheel wondering what dogs want with Mr Whippy.

Mr Whippy glancing in the rear vision mirror, kids still chasing him on bikes, their heads ducked under the handlebars, a mother jogging with a baby on her hip, ice cream, ice cream but Mr Whippy is wrecked, days leaning out his window, handing out cones with the perfect pointy top, pulling on levers, eyes squinting in the bright sun. his ears ringing.

Mr Whippy turning off his ice cream shaped speakers because Green Sleeves isn’t what he wants to hear right now. He turns into a leafy suburb, checks in the mirror again, sighs with relief. Mr Whippy parks under a tree, eases himself into the back of the van, pours sacks of skim milk into the machine, fondly pats the metal side, re stocks cones, wipes the sticky window sill, tugs on his ear again.

Mrs Whippy shining a torch down his ear canal, slush in his ear she laughs, a cul de sac of sprinkles and Mr Whippy, tired though he is clamps a pale hand on her thigh. Mrs Whippy wriggles loose. Mr Whippy rises.

Out the bedroom door, down the hall, out into the night. Mrs Whippy runs smooth and light as a girl and Mr Whippy follows, his legs pumping, dogs barking, the whole street cheering him on.

Frankie McMillan is a poet and short fiction writer. Recent work appears in Best Microfictions 2021 and Best Small Fictions, 2021. She likes swimming in cold water but never gets far because dog paddle is all she can manage.

Art by Crow Jonah Norlander in imitation of Bob Schofield

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