Ice Cream: Part Three
Adee wished that she didn’t live on Terror Mountain. All the snow kept her thinking of ice cream, a constant temptation lying everywhere on the ground.
More to the point, it was plain that the annoying dreams hadn’t stopped. She could think of two options – stop eating so much ice cream, or accept the dreams. She had tried the first one already. She shuddered at the idea of the second. Maybe they would go away by themselves... or not. But maybe?
She decided to give it a week or so and see if they changed. Her original plan of not worrying was a good one. Everything would work out if she was just patient.
That day she had ice cream for lunch, breakfast, and dinner.
That night she dreamed four kinds of killer ice cream and got hit twice. She also touched two new scoops. One odd-looking one made all the scoops disappear for a second, and the other, which was green, seemed to speed them up. She decided to study all the different scoops and see what they did.
Of course, that was only if the dreams continued. She hoped very much that she wouldn’t get a chance to discover them all.
When Adee woke up she didn’t think about her dream. She just blocked it from her mind. After all, dreams were products of the imagination, weren’t they, so if she never thought about them, they would probably stop.
Later in the day, her neighbor, a red Kacheek, said something perfectly normal to her. He said, “Nice weather we’re having.” Adee had to agree. As well as the crisp cold air and the crisp cold snow, the clouds were shaped like mouth-watering heaps of ice cream. She wondered if maybe they would rain ice cream later. Immediately she realized they wouldn’t, of course, but she couldn’t help fantasizing about it. It was such a lovely thought.
In her dream Adee dodged five flavors of killer ice cream. She was getting lots better at avoiding them. She also figured out what several odd scoops meant. Some of them were bad, but most were good. She only died once, on the last flavor.
She was getting used to these dreams, but she still wished they’d stop.
She ate ice cream. Delicious, scrumptious, delectable, magnificent ice cream.
She dreamed of ice cream. Fearsome, dangerous, evil, horrible ice cream.
She didn’t mind eating ice cream in the daytime now, but she was hating the dreams as they continued to grow longer. It was like a nightmare from which she could not wake.
Except she always woke. Every night, as soon as the most recent flavor had finished. But only at that exact moment – never before, no matter how much she wanted it. In three more days, she decided, she would stop waiting for the dreams to go away and she would do something else about them. She didn’t exactly have any ideas for what that might be, but she would think of something.
In the meantime, she supposed she would go on eating ice cream. For all she knew, the dreams could be unrelated to her diet, anyway. And it wasn’t as if she could eat anything else. She’d tried that.
There were seven flavors now. The first few were boring and she never got hit on them, but the last few were tough, and she got hit twice on the new one. It was a good thing she got better at dodging every night.
Two days until she took action. Until then Adee would just wait and eat ice cream. But she was beginning to be worried again. While she was still as physically healthy as ever, she had noticed that she had difficulty paying attention to things. When she tried to play a game of Igloo Garage Sale, she lost interest as soon as she realized there was no ice cream falling. When she took a walk to see the petpets in the shop in Happy Valley, she found herself straying almost irresistibly towards the Ice Cream Cart. She didn’t like reading anymore unless the books were about ice cream. Whenever she began to do something, she would distractedly note the absence of ice cream and go to the freezer.
To say she was worried was, in fact, a very big understatement. She was once again considering a visit to a doctor, but she couldn’t seem to concentrate on that either.
She got lucky, and didn’t get hit at all until the last flavor, which was so fast that it made her dizzy. Only two scoops hit her, though. She was getting much better, and a good thing, too.
Tomorrow, if the dreams hadn’t stopped (and Adee doubted that they would), she would do something about them. She still didn’t know what she would do.
Mid-morning she passed a biscuit Chomby in the street, and reflected on how fortunate it was that there was no such thing as an ice cream paint brush. She would hate to have to stop herself from eating random strangers all the time.
She wasn’t as lucky tonight. She was hit five times altogether, three times on the last flavor, which was fast and furious. She knew she couldn’t take another hit, but she got through the last few killer scoops, and it was over, to her relief.
Adee did not have her idea as soon as she got up. She did not have it as she was eating breakfast (chocolate ice cream). She did not have it for a few hours after that, either, although she thought about her dreams for much of the time. She did not have her idea until a little before lunch, and when she had it she decided to eat right away. She felt more focused than she had in days.
After getting out a bowl of ice cream (mint), she bravely opened the door of the cupboard where, days ago, she had stashed the “food” (if non-ice cream could really be called food) from the new shop. She had fed the baguette to a snowbunny, but the pie and cookies were still there. They looked stale. She had never liked stale food, before she started eating so much ice cream, but at this point she doubted that it really mattered. Stale non-ice cream or regular non-ice cream, it didn’t make much difference.
So she broke a piece of the crust off the pie and dropped it in the bowl of ice cream. She took a big spoonful of the ice cream, with the crust sitting on top, and shoved it in her mouth.
She tasted the ice cream first – mmmmmmmmm. Then she noticed the pie crust. She could taste it, and it tasted bad, for sure, but mixed with the ice cream, she didn’t mind quite so much. At least her taste buds weren’t trying to crawl off her tongue, as they’d seemed to when she tried it plain, although she would have had to spit it out if it had been much larger.
But she ate it. She had eaten something other than ice cream for the first time in days, maybe weeks. It had been a fairly simple method, yet it had worked. There was still hope! If she added a little more non-ice cream to her diet every day, eventually she might grow to like it again.
She really could not stand any more right now, though. She decided she would try again at supper, and until then, there was ice cream to be eaten... as a reward for her accomplishment.
She did try again that night, and was very proud that she managed nearly half a cookie. It was incredible how encouraged and hopeful she felt, finding an actual solution (quite possibly) to her ice cream obsession. And wasn’t it likely that soon, maybe even tonight, she would stop dreaming about it? That was what she really truly wanted, and could now look forward to.
She dreamed as she always did, dodging flavor after flavor of ice cream. When the new flavor came out, she could hardly keep from being splatted. Not only did it seem lightning fast, the clumps were often too thick to let her through.
She was hit twice by the time it was halfway over, then she was lucky enough to get a shield. When it wore off, she had a nearly clear path for a few seconds, until an unavoidable wall of killer ice cream rushed at her. Jumping to the side, she found herself surrounded; a moment later came a collision, which jolted her abruptly into wakefulness.
It was not morning. The sky outside showed only a hint of dawn, which meant it was about an hour before her regular rising time. Yet Adee was wide awake.
What exactly had just happened? She had been hit one too many times, she supposed – maybe she had died in her dream. Then she had woken up. It seemed logical to assume, now, that she would wake up every time the killer ice cream succeeded in smashing her enough, as it had tonight. It had finally won, in a way. Yet had she lost? She was awake, after all, which was what she wanted. It had been necessary to go through a somewhat unpleasant dream in order to become awake, but she seemed to dream anyway, no matter what.
She considered going back to sleep, but realized she was too restless, so she decided that now would be a good time to try eating another cookie and went to the kitchen.
As she placed a bit of cookie in a spoon, covering it with ice cream, she was still thinking about her dream and what might be different now. Absentmindedly, wondering if she should let the killer ice cream win every night so she would wake up, she ate the spoonful she held, then prepared another one, put it in her mouth, and realized... it tasted fine.
The ice cream was delicious. But somehow, the delight she was used to feeling as it touched her tongue wasn’t quite there. And the cookie, for some reason, wasn’t quite as disgusting as before, although it was by no means as good as the ice cream. Startled, she picked up the bowl of ice cream and examined it, trying to see if there was anything different about it. There didn’t seem to be, and the cookie also appeared normal. Tentatively she took the smallest nibble of the cookie itself.
It tasted okay.
Not good. But okay.
Adee took a larger bite, then another, and ate the whole cookie. It was shocking. A couple of days ago she wouldn’t have dreamed of eating so much non-ice cream at once. Now, inexplicably, she had no trouble doing just that, although in absolute fact the cookie still didn’t taste that great. She picked up another cookie, and ate that too. That was as much as she felt like swallowing just now – it was like a dish which you enjoy at first, but get sick of quickly. She had eaten some foods like that, in the time before the ice cream.
Now, maybe, was the time after the ice cream? Maybe, now, it was over?
It couldn’t be entirely, not yet; for she didn’t want to eat more cookies right now, or anything but ice cream, so she finished off the bowl. It still had that funny taste, good but not quite as good, lacking the heavenliness it had had yesterday.
When it was gone she found herself tired again, so she went back to bed and fell asleep within what seemed like seconds. She slept until one o’clock in the afternoon without dreaming, catching up not only on the hour she’d missed today but on all the half-rest of the last several days.
As soon as she awoke she remembered the cookies she’d eaten that morning, and hurried to the kitchen. She felt nervous with excitement as she pulled out the pie and cut a slice – a whole big slice – and brought it to her mouth. Her hopes were not disappointed, for the first bite tasted all right, the second tasted fine, and the third was nearly good. The next slice went down as easily as the first. When she finished the third slice, she jumped up and down like a baby pet at Christmas.
Did she dare go shopping?
She was not the sort of neopet that could resist that temptation, and quickly she was bundled up and heading towards her usual store, the first one, which she had had to leave because it sold ice cream. She had no guarantee she could leave the ice cream alone this time, but she certainly felt, walking towards the store, that she could.
When she went inside the store she twirled around staring at all the shelves. Apples – those would taste good! Bread – yes! Smoothie – yes! Ice cream – no. She would not get ice cream! Cereal – good idea! Broccoli – sure! She took some of each item but the ice cream, paid for them one at a time at the front, and left.
Upon reaching her home she laid everything out on the table. For now she ate only a piece of broccoli, feeling pretty full from the pie. But she enjoyed eating it.
All during the afternoon she couldn’t help going to the table and nibbling on something every few minutes. It was as if she was rediscovering all the amazing foods that weren’t ice cream.
As dusk fell her excitement gave way to a calmer happiness, as it truly sank in that her ice cream obsession had left her, at least for today. She did have to admit the possibility that it was only temporary, but she had had today, no matter what happened tomorrow.
It must have had something to do with getting defeated in her dream. Her hope was of course that the dreams had left too, but if they hadn’t, maybe all she had to do was stop fighting them, stop avoiding the killer ice cream and let it hit her. Maybe if she did that, she thought as she sipped a smoothie, every day would be as full of possibilities as this one. As well as (or probably because of) eating the delicious food, her mind was as sharply focused as it had ever been, and it was an incredible relief.
At bedtime she passed by the freezer, where she kept ice cream for a special occasion. Instead she took a half-eaten apple from the table and brought it to bed, where she ate it while she read. She finished the apple, then the book (which disappeared in a puff of yellow smoke), put the core on her bedside table, turned out the lamp, and fell asleep.
And that night, Adee did not dream.