The man standing before me was in his mid-sixties, well-tanned, wearing a yellow-striped golf shirt and a baby-blue golf cap.
“Do you have any Spumoni?”
“I don’t know. When did he write?”
“He’s not a writer. It’s a flavour of ice cream.”
“Then no, we do not have any.”
“Why is it ice cream parlours never seems to carry Spumoni? Do you think they are racist? Where your freezer at?”
“I don’t have one.”
“How do you sell ice cream without a freezer?,” he asked.
“I don’t.”
“I’m not surprised. Well, what flavours do you have? Butterscotch ripple? Pralines and cream? Tiger Tail?”
“I don’t have any. I don’t carry it.”
“Chocolate, Strawberry, Black Cherry…”
He was still rattling off flavours when the door opened and a woman in her mid-fifties stuck her head in.
“Do you have licorice balls?”
Tongue be still.
“How about a book on how to make them?”
“I’d settle for salt-water taffy or Turkish Delight.”
The man in the golf cap spoke up.
“Why would you assume this is a candy store? Clearly, it’s an ice cream parlour.”
The woman turned to him impatiently.
“Back home in Saskatchewan, we got these candy shops all over the place.”
“Maybe, but in Florida, where I’m from, these are ice cream parlours and they’re all over the state.”
“I believe the designer also did a string of brothels in Amsterdam,” I offered, trying to show his diversity.
“I don’t think so,” the man answered, but after considering this briefly, he added, “Oh yeah.”
At this point, I’m wondering whether I paid the bill from that designer. The one who only uses one colour scheme.
“You could walk over to Jolley’s convenience store around the corner,” I suggest. “They have an impressive selection of both candy and ice cream.”
“How will I know the store? Does it look like yours?” the gentleman asked.
“Alas, no,” I answered. “But I’m sure you will have no trouble finding it.”
“In that case, may I treat you to some licorice balls, madame?” the fellow asked.
“Only if you let me buy you an ice cream,” she fired back with a twinkle in her eye.
The two left the store, arm in arm. In the absence of selling books, we do manage to bring people of different stripes together. As I watched them cross at the light in the direction of Jolley’s, I began to think about the other business that the designer was known for. I wondered about the likelihood of a busload of Dutch Shriners pulling up to the store. To be on the safe side, I turned off the “Open” sign and shut off the light.