2018 'SHORT TAKES' PROSE COMPETITION
CATEGORY B -
An Ice Cream at Bondi by Barry Riley
There are some terrific things about summer in Australia; cooling off in the pool, colour returning to the gardens, the girls emerging butterfly-
On one of those 40-
Nobody told me the sand would be hot. Sand wasn’t hot back home in England, but here people happily walked around on it barefoot. Why weren’t they leaping into the air like me? What were their feet made of? Aussies are accustomed from childhood to going around barefoot and develop asbestos-
The sand grew hotter at each step. I couldn’t keep my feet on it for more than a second at a time, and I incurred the wrath of several beefy blokes as I used the edges of their towels for a soothing moment. Just what they thought of this pale-
The car park and the road were even worse. I made desperate dashes from one tiny patch of shadow to the next, and crashed into half a dozen innocent pedestrians while attempting to levitate across the road. When I finally reached the shade of the shop awnings I remained there for a few moments, gasping, and cooling my scorched feet. I half expected when I looked down at them that they would be charred and blackened stumps with flames still licking around the remains, but they looked normal.
I could have stayed in the ice cream shop all day with its cool tiles and refrigerated air, but the girl I wanted to impress was waiting for me on the beach, so I bought two ice-
I don’t know if the temperature had risen ten degrees while I was in the shop or whether my first foray had burnt a layer or two of skin from my soles, because the trip back was hellishly worse. The ice-
Aaah! Such blessed relief! I’m sure I heard them sizzle as they cooled off, no doubt raising the ocean temperature a degree or two. I received some odd looks from swimmers as I stood in the shallows, fully clothed except for my feet, with my eyes closed in rapture and my raised arms decorated with melted ice cream, but I didn’t care.
When I felt normal again I wiped the sweat out of my eyes with an ice-
My date took the ice-
<Back to Prose>