SCOTT, WHY...? II
Scott Hayden squinted his eyes against the mid-afternoon glare. "Ninety-seven degrees. No wonder I feel like I'm melting," the teen said as he pointed to the time/temperature display belonging to a small town bank across the street.
"It is very hot," Starman agreed as they slowly kept walking with their heavy duffle bags almost dragging on the ground.
Scott's face suddenly brightened as he spotted potential relief from the sweltering heat. "Dad? How much money do we have left?"
"Two dollars and eighty-five cents. Why do you want to know?" Paul asked, curious.
"There's an ice cream place. Let's get a cone."
"How much do they cost?"
"I dunno. Maybe a dollar twenty-five for a one scoop cone. Probably two dollars for a two scooper."
"Each? That won't leave us anything to buy supper."
"I don't care. That can be supper."
"I care," Paul retorted.
"Dad," Scott protested with a sigh. "It's ninety-seven H-O-T degrees. There isn't even a cloud around for shade. Ice cream is very cold. I want to cool off. Don't you?"
Paul looked at his son's pleading face. Dark sweat-soaked hair stuck to his forehead. The cheeks and nose were turning a bright shade of pink. His own body exhibited similar signs of overheating. Perspiration saturated his hair and also rolled down his back, soaking the blue shirt he wore.
There were several people in the line. Father and son anxiously studied the list of flavors while they waited.
"I know what I'm getting," Scott said with a smile. "What about you?"
When there was no answer the teen immediately looked at his father's face and saw the lifted eyebrow. It was an expression he came to know as meaning puzzlement, surprise and/or alarm. Which one is it this time? the boy wondered. He quickly scanned the flavor list again to see what had caught the Starman's attention. There it was. This week's special. Sometimes I hate the English language. But then he saw this as an opportunity to have a little fun with his still naive parent.
The line advanced. It was their turn. With a michievious grin, the boy told the woman at the window, "Two small Death By Chocolate cones please."
"That'll be two fifty."
Starman reluctantly handed his son the money.
"Isn't this great? The perfect thing on a day like today," Scott said as he eagerly licked the cold dairy delight.
Paul joined his son under the shade of an umbrella-covered picnic table far away from everyone else.
The teen noticed his father still had an alarmed look on his face and hadn't even tasted the fast melting treat. "Don't worry, Dad," he said softly. "You're not gonna die if you eat it."
"Dad. Trust me. Death By Chocolate won't kill you."
"It's just a figure of speech. If you're a chocolate lover, it's supposed to be so good you'll think you died and went to heaven after eating it. The name's not meant to be taken literally. Now, are you gonna try it or just let it drip all over your hand?"
Paul cautiously took his first lick.
"Very good," the Starman agreed with a smile. "Scott?"
"What is Turtle Surprise?"