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Ice Cream Truck Beat
Topic Started: Nov 8 2015, 06:59 PM (1,003 Views)
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OSKAR PEARCE: START

Oskar Pearce wouldn’t call the Diamondback Ice-Cream Parlour one of his regular haunts.

As much of a sweet tooth as he possessed, it was rare for him to indulge it in every single café and eatery in town. His spare income was pretty scant nowadays, and it was a fat chance that he’d allow himself to consume just as many calories as his heart desired. All the pilates and cheerleading routines in the world couldn’t make up for a slow metabolism and a strong weakness for chocolate, so abstaining from it was usually his method of choice.

Some days, however, Oskar really needed something sweet. A burst of sugary goodness was just the trick to keep up his energy and peppiness, especially when the stresses and events of the day had steadily been whittling away at it. Unfortunately, his very favourite café was temporarily closed, so instead of acquiring a mug of his favourite Ferrero Rocher hot chocolate – the desire for which had been gradually escalating throughout the day – he’d instead set off on an impromptu search for a suitable replacement.

It didn’t take him long to settle on Diamondback. It’d been a family favourite, way back when he was little and things were easier, and he knew that a fair few of his classmates worked there. Even if he didn’t have the good fortune to run into one of them, he could still snatch a few moments of quality conversation with whomever served him as a consolation prize. All of the friends he’d contacted were sadly otherwise preoccupied or hadn’t yet responded to his texts. It seemed like it’d been forever since he’d properly talked to someone, and he felt that if he didn’t manage it soon he’d go stir crazy.

Crazy wasn’t a good look on him.

His mind made up, Oskar strode into the parlour, the top-knot he’d pulled his hair into bobbing in his wake and his ugg boots padding softly against the tiled floor. As he took in his newfound surroundings, the carefully maintained warm visage that Oskar projected over his features quickly gave way to a much more genuine grin. Daniel Brooks wasn’t someone he was particularly close to, but he was a familiar, friendly, and popular face, and right now Oskar really couldn’t have asked for anyone better. Sadly, the parlour was wholly empty save for the two of them, but while Oskar preferred to be around as many people as possible, he could at least take comfort in the knowledge that he was assured at least a semi-decent conversation.

“Hey Danny!” He chirped, energy instantly picking up as he bounced jovially towards the counter. “How’re you?”
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Oskar chuckled softly at Danny’s pun, delicately clapping his hands together in appreciation for the his jest. He’d always appreciated the other boy’s humour, and it was so good to have to someone around who was willing to part with a joke or two – especially when he hadn’t entered the store in the most spectacular of moods. As he grinned back at Danny and formulated a reply to his query, though, he could already feel his emotions being buoyed.

“Yep, things are excellent! I’ve not got much on today, so I thought a nice trip into town would be the perfect recipe for something exciting! How about you? I hope the daily grind’s not been too harsh on you.”

Almost forgetting the secondary purpose behind entering the parlour, Oskar’s eyes lit up as he hurriedly perused the multicoloured selection of creamy treats laid out before him. “Oh! And could I get a double scoop of chocolate and raspberry ripple, please?” He grinned as he spoke, absently sifting through his messenger bag to pull out of the coinage he’d need.

It didn’t take long before another of his classmates entered: Isaac Brea, someone with whom he was similarly lacking in a strong acquaintance. He’d heard a few tales of the boys antics, and watched him a few times performing in talent shows in the like with his brother, Frederick. Isaac’s twin was someone he adored spending time with, for he was pleasantly laidback and had an amazing voice. Honestly, Oskar couldn’t help but wish it was him who’d walked through the doors instead – it would’ve saved him the anxiety over interacting with someone he didn’t know too much about. Ordinarily, he knew just how to adjust the way he conveyed himself to suit whomever he was with at the time, but when it was with someone who was almost a mystery to him, he’d have to do it on the fly.

Figuring it’d be best to start off with his trademark exuberance, Oskar gave the other boy a sparkling grin and offered him a “Hey Isaac!", hoping it would be enough of an initial foundation.

And as luck would have it, yet another loose acquaintance of his entered shortly afterwards; Candice Banks, a junior whose sheer enthusiasm for singing made up for the fact that Oskar honestly didn’t really like the way her voice sounded. It could’ve been worse, though – there were a lot more people to whom it was much harder to dish out compliments. And if he could apply the same veneer to Isaac he usually managed with Candance, maybe things wouldn’t be too hard after all.

"Hey Candice!” He chirped, giving an obligatory greeting before picking up on the similarity between their orders. “Ooh, chocolate, aye? That’s my favourite!”
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Danny’s time-travelling comment elicited another burst of Oskar’s trademark laughter, causing him to reflect on his own workplace and the drudgery it sometimes caused him. Shifts practically flew by if he had Tiresias working alongside him or the store had enough customers to keep him occupied, but working in solitude got both terribly boring and terribly lonely. A time-winding watch would certainly help pass over those periods of solitude. In fact, it vaguely reminded him of a book they’d recently stocked – though the title completely eluded him. Oskar made a mental note to see if the store still had a copy – his reading list needed replenishment, and although it wasn’t one of the Harlequin novels he’d grown so fond of recently he figured it’d be a good break.

As his friend went to prepare his food, Oskar couldn’t help but notice that he’d been given priority over Isaac in the queue. That knowledge filled his heart with warmth and gave his smile a level of genuineness it hadn’t experienced for a while, and although a small part of him he knew he shouldn’t take pleasure in such prioritisation the temporary elation he was experiencing was enough to mute it.

“That would be cool, wouldn’t it?” He said thoughtfully, gently placing a couple of notes upon the counter while Danny continued to work on his order. “Oh, and keep the change!” It wasn’t too much extra - just a dollar or two - but it couldn’t hurt, especially if it helped solidify a positive opinion of him in Danny’s eyes.

Not wanting to provide too much of a distraction, lest he prove an annoyance to Danny, Oskar opted to adjust his messenger bag as he waited, smile still plastered warmly across his face.
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“Thanks Danny!” Oskar delicately took his purchase from his friend’s outstretched hand and licked it heartily, sighing in utter bliss as the perfect concoction of raspberry and chocolate melted over his tongue. But before he could revel in the contented mood the ice cream had placed him in, a faint vibration emanated from the depths of his messenger bag; his free hand snaked inside it to retrieve his cellphone. The battered and ancient secondhand Samsung was one of the banes of his existence; the second he’d saved up enough money he was strutting right into the closest Apple Store and finally buying a replacement phone he wouldn’t be ashamed to be seen with in public. Concealing it from view, he opened up his messages folder, hoping to see a text from Juniper or Jasper pasted across the screen, but finding instead

Come home now. Got a nice friend here so I’m taking you and her out to dinner tonight. Please be nice to her :-)

Oskar resisted the urge to roll his eyes at his father’s message, lest any of the others in the parlour notice and inquire if anything was wrong. Telling others about the intricacies of his personal life was not his jam, especially if it involved his family life. He could count on one hand the amount of people who knew anything more about his father other than the fact that he was an office worker and often busy. A great deal more people knew about his Grandma Cecilia, but he had no issue with his friends knowing about her kind nature and sharing with them the seemingly endless stream of home baking she supplied him with.

Swallowing the bitter pill of resentment, Oskar slowly resigned himself to the evening ahead. He could already see how this would go with perfect clarity – he’d been through it often enough. His father would overblow his achievements at work and play the part of a perfect parent, treating Oskar with a layering of faux-kindness so thick it was suffocating. They’d likely head to Cheryl’s and he’d spend the whole time staring at his food and not talking while his father made excuses for him, calling him ‘painfully shy’ instead of admitting how uncomfortable the whole experience made his son. And lastly, he‘d have to schedule in an extra hour of pilates tomorrow to burn off whatever caloric meal he’d be downing tonight.

Over the years, he figured it’d get easier with time to adjust to his dad’s string of paramours, but it hadn’t. And the pessimistic side of him, the side that he couldn’t ever show anybody else no matter how tempting it may have been, told him that it never would.

Shaking himself out of the fit of introspection he’d fallen into, Oskar looked around at the others around him, knowing there was no way to avoid the inevitable return home, as much as he wished he could.

“Oooh, I’m super sorrrryyyyyyy! I’ve gotta dash – family stuff,” he began, letting his face slip into a small pout before returning to its trademark beam. “But flick me a message if you wanna hang out sometime, Danny! Oh, and it was awesome seeing you, Isaac! See you in choir, Candice. Ciao!”

Having bade his farewells to the occupants of the parlour, Oskar stepped out into the outside world and behind his trek back home, the smile he’d worn throughout the encounter still affixed to his face, but the reality behind it utterly vanquished.

((Oskar Pearce continued in Goodbye May Seem Forever))
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