Flash Friday 06/12/2013: Ms. Mayberry Returns
On September 21st, I had officially been doing Flash Friday for a whole year, starting with the very first entry ‘Ms Mayberry‘. I would have celebrated this occasion closer to the day, but something very silly was happening at the time. So, in celebration of a year of silly flashes, I’ve decided to revisit my very first Flash Friday. Enjoy!
The crooked-looking, slightly rotund woman was giving Gareth the eye as he walked down the high street. He wanted to say she was giving off the vibes that she wanted to turn him into a newt and use him in a potion, but her gaze didn’t seem to give that impression. When he looked harder, he could see that she was actually giving him eyes of pleading.
“‘scuse me, sir,” the woman croaked. “Don’t suppose you’d give an old lady another try?”
“Another try?” Gareth said.
“That’s right. Remember on that fateful day when we first met a year ago, when you were but a young lad and I was a sour lemon? My, how times have changed. You have grown, and I have abandoned my cynical and harsh self and become one with human compassion. You do remember, don’t you? That one fateful day?”
“I can’t say I do, sorry.”
“You bloody well will if you know what’s good for you,” the lady hissed, grabbing Gareth by the collar. “You, me, the ice cream shop. All I had to sell was vanilla, remember? And you stormed off in a huff.”
“And you were very rude to me.”
“Yeah, well.” Ms. Mayberry buckled like a dog being struck on the nose. “Tough times and all. But come in, come in. I’ve spent the better, arthritis-free parts of the last year bucking my game up. You were right. Annoyingly right, but right nonetheless. I needed more flavours, more variety. Well, you got it, big guy.” With a heave, Ms. Mayberry threw Gareth in the direction of the store’s door.
Now that he was in the bowels of a past nightmare, he could definitely remember. His reflex action was to turn and leave, but Ms. Mayberry was an effective enough deterrant from trying to escape.
“What was it you ordered when you first got here?” Ms. Mayberry said, shuffling into the shop. She locked the door’s latch behind her. “Banana, wasn’t it?”
“To be honest, while I do remember being here, I don’t remember what I ordered.”
“It was banana,” Ms. Mayberry said. “I remember it well. Your order was the first few words that started the entire revolution of the Ms. Mayberry brand, they were. Completely new business plan from the ground up. New flavours, new styles, and new choices. I like to call it ‘discovery’.”
“Really?” Gareth said. “Because I like to call it ‘having an inventory’.”
“Your lips will shut themselves once they wrapped themselves around some of my produce. See here,” Ms. Mayberry said, hobbling behind the ice cream counter. She tapped a long nail on the glass. “All of them are flavoured now.”
“And their proper colours,” Gareth admired. “Very nice.”
“I know. And they’re not all vanilla flavoured, before you run your bloody mouth. Because you helped me out in my time of need, you can give my new batch a free trial. Have some banana,” she said, digging a spoon into the mix. “For real, this time.”
“Thank you,” Gareth said, taking the spoon. He put the ice cream into his mouth, expecting the familiar vanilla flavour that he had in his mouth for an entire week the last time he came here. Yet, as the yellow mixture went in, he realised that it did actually have a flavour to it, one that wasn’t Ms. Mayberry’s trademark. As much as he wanted to not be defeated by her, he had to admit that she managed to get the soft, chocolately flavour just right.
That’s when he realised something was off.
“Ms. Mayberry,” Gareth said. “Try it yourself.”
Ms. Mayberry squinted with confusion, but went along with it. She dipped a single finger into the banana ice cream, then tasted it. Her eyes went wide.
“Oh bloody hell,” she said. “I’ve only gone and mixed up the colours.”
“So it’s safe to assume the chocolate one is the banana?”
“Nope,” Ms. Mayberry said after the second taster session. “That one’s strawberry.”
“Well,” Gareth said, with a shrug. “I guess you were almost there. Well, I have to get going now, so–”
“Oh no you’re not,” Ms. Mayberry said, piling the containers onto the counter along with a spoon. “You’re going to help me find the banana ice cream if it’s the last thing I do. There’s chocolate, strawberry, blackberry — oh, watch out, won’t you dear? I tried an experimental batch of horseradish flavour and it could be any one of these.”
“Doun wowwy,” Gareth said, with his tongue hanging out. “I fown it.”
“Oh, jolly good. So that one’s horseradish, and this one is…definitely blueberry. And this one is peach, and this one…ooh, this one tastes of lychee. I forgot I had that one. And this one…ah,” she exclaimed happily. “This one is banana.”
“Which has the colouring of vanilla,” Gareth said, the memories surfacing again in his mind.
“…oh, so it does. Oh, well. What comes around, comes around again only harder. Let me get you a cone of this stuff.” With a strong scoop with a spoon, she placed a scoop of ‘banana’ ice cream on a cone. “If you want chocolate sauce, it’s right there next to you in the bottle.”
“Are you sure?” Gareth said, taking the cone. “Because I got a nasty surprise last time.”
“Oh, no. Remember my speech when you came in? It’s chocolate now, pure and simple. Goes very well with banana, if I can say so myself.”
Gareth took the bottle with suspicion and gave it a try. Sure enough, chocolate sauce made its way out of the nozzle.
“Thank you,” Gareth said. “Are you sure I shouldn’t have to pay for this?”
“It’s on the house,” Ms. Mayberry said with a smile. “You come back, dearie.”
“I’m sure I will,” Gareth said, leaving the store. He took a lick of his ice cream; it’s only then he realised that Ms. Mayberry had somehow mixed up chocolate sauce and ketchup together.
Book Spotlight: Moving House — a story about a boy who makes his house walk.