Prompt: The never ending banana split
Her spoon crunched through the rubble of crushed walnuts, slightly toasted and thickly applied. The nuts occupied the space between the fluffy whipped cream, fresh and unsweetened, and the warm blanket of chocolate sauce. That’s right, chocolate, not hot fudge. To each her own. Then the ice cream, one scoop vanilla, one scoop cookies and cream and one salted caramel, all nestled in the cradling comfort of their banana boat. She liked to work for it, a little, so the banana should be just ripe— not a squishy travesty fit only for muffin making.
“How’s that workin’ for you, Bethany?” asked the man behind the counter. He smiled broadly beneath a handlebar moustache and a perfectly crisp white paper hat, despite the heat.
“It’s ideal. Perfect!” she sighed, scooping another bite with a perfect combination of flavours. “I’m in heaven.”
“Well now,” said the man, whose name tag said ‘Nate’, “that’s an idea.”
Bethany nodded vaguely and turned her focus back to the split. In her enthusiasm, her hands had grown quite sticky despite the long handled spoon.
“Pardon, where’s the ladies’?” she asked Nate who, though apparently busy, was lingering around the counter across from her stool.
He gestured to the end of the bar as he tossed a dish towel over his shoulder.
Bethany rose and headed toward the door then hesitated, she turned and said, “I’m not quite done.” Her eyes fell on the split. All that remained was a bit of banana swimming in a swirling pool of chocolate and melted whipped cream. A few bites of bliss and she had every intention of savouring them.
“Copy that,” said Nate and he gave her a quick salute.
Why, thought Bethany, were all soda fountains stuck in the fifties? Not that she was really complaining, it all felt right. Perfect really.
Bethany returned to her place at the counter. The cut glass bowl at her place was full, the snow cap of glistening whipped cream a perfect swirl where the puddle had been. Nate was gone. This was a little crazy. Two banana splits? She could not in good conscious indulge in another.
It’s not like it would kill her and the bowl looked so perfect. Some people liked the nuts sprinkled on top of the whipped cream. Not Bethany, not at all. She liked them in a thick carpet underneath letting the cream virtually bounce on top. She hadn’t even had to tell Nate that. And, to her delight he hadn’t even bothered to offer her a cherry. Gross.
Bethany sighed and tucked in. As she reached the bottom she noticed Nate back across the counter though she’d not seen or heard him approach.
“How’s that workin’ for you, Bethany?” Nate asked.
“Oh, well, um,” Bethany fumbled for the right words. She suddenly felt embarrassed for having eaten another bowl and not sure if he was gong to charge her. Were there free refills here? Bethany turned to the back of her chair and fumbled in her purse for her wallet. She began to worry that she hadn’t brought enough money for the treats.
When she turned back to the counter a new, glistening banana split awaited.
“I couldn’t…” began Bethany but then three things came to her mind. First, she realised she actually could, she could eat another one; her stomach did not feel in the least full. Then she thought, I’m not sure I want to. Finally, she realised that Nate, in his candy-striped shirt and bow tie, knew her name.
“Oh, but you can,” said Nate with a smile, “you must.”
This was not Bethany’s strong suit. She really and truly loathed confrontation. He was such a nice man, and had made these splits for her. She didn’t want to be rude.
“Oh my, well perhaps just a few bites,” she replied a little hesitantly, and then she ate.
When her napkin fluttered to the floor, Bethany stood on uncertain legs and bent to pick it up. When she rose there, at her place, was another banana split. It was time, she thought, to put and end to this. Maybe it was because the shop was empty, maybe the poor man just wanted something to do. Be she was beginning to look at the split with distaste.
“Aren’t you kind. The splits, they’re heaven but…”
“Oh no, Bethany” Nate interrupted, “heaven is an entirely different shoppe. You didn’t make it to that one, I’m afraid. Now, do sit. Eat.” He pushed a clean spoon toward her eyes dancing with pleasure, and a hint of red light she had not noticed before.
“Oh hell!” Bethany groaned, and scooped.