“Bye love, keep wrapped up, it’s still chilly in that wind.” Shouted Ethel after her Husband as he left the house.
“I will sweetheart, don’t you fret.” The late April sunshine made Tom squint, but, as his wife had said: it’s still chilly. So off he set towards their Nest Egg, at a brisk as possible pace.
The Ice-cream kiosk had been his idea, he’d sold the dream to Ethel no problem; we’ll make a fortune, rake it in we will, all I’ve got to do is sell ice cream to snotty nosed kids. His every word swam around inside his worried head: Like heck, we will, if this season doesn’t come up trumps we’re finished, good and proper. He thought.
The first two seasons had been flops, unkind weather and the out of the way location of the kiosk had seen to that. Rhyl was a tough place to make a living at the best of times.
This year WILL be better, I’ll make sure of that. Said Tom’s inner voice with conviction. With renewed vigor, Tom straightened up and picked up the pace, he kicked an empty Coke can that rattled along the pavement, just missing a scrawny Pigeon that searched for food scraps, causing it to hop into the gutter.
First Day of the bloody season and look at it, pathetic hole, even the Gulls look as if they’ve had their fill of the place. Still, it’s early yet, plenty of time for things to pick up.
“Morning Tom.” Came the voice from across the street. It was Herbert who owned The Golden Goose souvenir shop, he had just finished putting out his pavement display of kiss me quick hats and shrimp nets. Tom assessed the traffic, picked his moment, and quick-stepped between two slowly moving cars. Safely across he approached the portly figure of Herbert.
“Hello, Herbert, ready for it?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be Tom. I say, did you see that bolt of lightning last night? Lit the entire seafront up it did, and the weird thing is, there was no storm.”
“Saw nothing of it mate, Ethel went to bed early, so I indulged in a few nips of the old Heathen Fire Water, that was me zonked until six this morning. Look, I’ve got to dash, those ice creams won’t sell themselves, more’s the pity.”
“Okey-doke Tom, I hope your day goes well, see you later.”
Herbert watched Tom until he lost sight of him, on the now busier promenade, before he himself disappeared into his shop.
The sea breeze helped thin the dark cloud of depression that hung over Tom’s head, the cry of Herring Gulls coupled with the smell of tourism, cheered him up. This would be the year that saved the bacon. He hummed a tune: zipperdy doo dah…
Earlier that morning while most people slept, a large spacecraft came into Earth’s orbit.
“I don’t care who you send, just get someone down there.” Thundered Commander Zorg of the imperial fleet.
“He’s on his way as we speak Sir, we’ve sent Lieutenant Tulok, he’s chosen to go disguised as a Seagull.” Reported 1st Mate Zonger.
In a bright, violent flash, they transported LT Tulok to earth.
“Right, hold a steady orbit until we hear it’s safe to go in. Keep us cloaked and on RED ALERT.” Ordered Commander Zorg.
Tom’s cinder block kiosk was now in sight, only another 100 yards away. It’s like a prison cell, thought Tom. Even if I charged Ten Quid for a lolly, I wouldn’t make enough to make ends meet. I wish I’d never laid eyes on it.
But this morning there was something different about the place, the hairs on his neck stood up, there was something on the floor in front of the shuttered serving hatch. My God… My God, it’s a Seagull. Tom hurried the last few yards then knelt beside the injured bird. “C’mon little pal, let’s get you inside.” Said Tom soothingly as he picked up the cold, limp body of Turlok. Once inside, Tom busied himself preparing a box for his unexpected guest.
“There there, you’ll be warm and safe in here.” Said, Tom, as he placed the Gull into a nest of fluffy tea towels.
The shutter rose with a metallic rattle, Sunlight, accompanied by the sounds of an awakening seafront flooded into the little kiosk. Tom, now 68years old, spent the next hour leaning on the counter with his chin resting on his cradled palms, people watching. Mhh, so much for saving the bacon, look at it, ain’t even opened the till yet. Tom was going on a downer when suddenly he heard a groan. A long drawn-out groan full of fogginess and bewilderment. He turned, expecting to see something like an Egyptian Mummy stood behind him, but nothing, not a sausage. Then the groan came again, louder this time, sending a shiver down Tom’s spine. Tom’s jaw dropped, and he had to lean back onto the counter to steady himself. My God, it’s the Gull, it came from the box.
Gingerly, Tom took two paces forward, then peered into the box. “Well, I’ll be!” He exclaimed. The Gull now sat on its haunches, eyes wide open and fully awake. Tom beamed a broad smile, instantly, the deep hoarse voice filled his head: My name is Torlok, thank you for saving my life, I will grant your every wish. As long as I live, your every wish is my command. Just use telepathy to communicate your wishes and desires.
Tom’s eyes lit up; You will aye, in that case, my little feathered friend. A chuckle escaped him before he continued: I wish for my Till to be overflowing with cash and everyone in Rhyl to want ice cream. No soon had he wished it when KERCHING: the cash tray sprung open. Notes: 5s, 10s, 20s, and 50s filled their respective compartments. As Tom stared, trying to comprehend what was going on, he noticed a queue forming to his front, with more and more people heading his way to join it.
The front of the queue swole into a crowd that pressed forward shouting orders for ice cream. Tom couldn’t keep pace with the demand, sweat beaded on his brow.
“There you go son, that’s a tenner please.”
This is incredible, thought Tom, I wish I had two raunchy blondes to help me out.
And it was so. Two bikini-clad bombshells now passed ices over the counter into the hands of the eager customers.
The girls could no longer close the Till, it was full to the brim with Wonga. Tom opened the Till and removed the notes, he added them up. That’s £2.400.00, and we’ve only just started, he informed the girls.
I feel vulnerable in this box, I need protection proclaimed the voice in Tom’s head, it was Turlok.
You must wait, I’m far too busy at the moment; just look at all this wedge.
The two Hoodies burst through the side door, one waved a pistol threateningly while the other punched Tom in the face and grabbed the money. Pistol Pete covered his partner’s exit, then he too walked backward toward the door. To stamp his authority on the situation and keep everyone’s head down, he fired three rounds into the cardboard box. Crumpled on the floor, Tom watched the Hoodies make good their escape. Still reeling from the blow he’d received, he pulled himself upright then peered into the box. Tom wept.