Cream of the Ice Cream Cops in Vancouver.

The cop wanted to know why I was parked on the beach. His tone suggested he was ready for any answer I’d give, but I chanced one anyway.
‘There’s a sign that says it’s ok for Service Vehicles.’
‘Sir, it says “Service Vehicles Only”! So what makes you think you can put your van there?’
‘I’m providing a service.’
‘Bin collectors provide a service. Policing is a service. Medical attention is a service. SELLING ICE CREAM is NOT a service.’
‘No?’
‘NO! This is Vancouver, you can’t just do what you like because you feel like it.’’
‘Oh.’
‘Can I see your licence?’
‘Here tis.’
He left then, a real fan of CHIPS.  There was another fella in the car. There for back up, in case I attacked him with a Strawberry Crunch. The van ticked and sighed. There was a smell like cardboard, and oil. It had been a long day of unsold produce and tire kicking kids asking me to play the van music for the craic. Working off commission was the exact opposite of profitable. Out of boredom and despair – I’d ate more than I’d sold. I’d actually cost myself money by gorging on what I was supposed to sell. The beach had appeared like an oasis in a financial desert. Sunny types playing their roles on the sand, chasing the good life, watching the waves, wanting ice cream and not knowing til I arrived. The sound of the bell got them salivating and I nearly made a few pound made. Definelty close to breaking even. A real Richard Branson me. Was just on the way home when Estrada waved me down.

I went through all the things they could find on the computer, hoped none of them showed up or it could be a free flights home, deportation style. My last two customers were still on a bench, facing the water. A Japanese father and daughter. They’d come to the window in silence, she pointed at what she wanted (Shark Attack) and he’d paid without saying a word. Now they were still there, not talking, but somehow content, oblivious to South Central episode behind them. The cop came back, handed me the licence with a reluctant look, a show for the fans.
‘What’s the name of your boss?’
‘My boss?’
‘Yes, you’ve had jobs before haven’t you, like this not this first job you’ve ever had in your entire life, is it?’
‘No.’
‘No, so you know that in jobs you have a things called “Bosses” So what’s the NAME of yours?’
‘His name?’
‘YES. His NAME.’
‘I’m not really sure, he’s in my phone as PETE ICECREAM.’
‘That’s all you know?!’
‘I’m afraid so.’
‘You work for someone and you don’t even know their name?!’
‘Only started yesterday, didn’t talk much, got the job through a friend, like, didn’t ask many questions.’
‘Well maybe you should ask questions the next time you get a job, like where you can park, and how to park legally.’
‘I will.’
‘You can play your funky tunes wherever you like, just not park wherever you’d like. You got that?’
‘Yeah.’
‘You sure?’
‘Yeah.’
‘Because I don’t want to see this vehicle doin anything stupid again or I’m impounding it, you understand?’
‘I do. I do. I do.’
‘When’s your Visa expired?’
‘Three months time.’
‘You ever want to come back here?’
‘I might.’
‘Then start following the rules.’
‘Ok.’
‘Ok, I’m going to let you go with a warning this time, no ticket, no fine, I’m going to assume you genuinely didn’t know you were doing anything wrong…’
‘Grand.’
‘Ok.’
‘Ok. Now go.’
Beat. Pause. I felt like thanking him somehow, showing my appreciation, leaving it on a good note. So I started up. Fiddled with the gearbox. Turned on the lights. He was still there looking at me. Waiting til I was gone. Safely away from the beach. Before I rolled up the window I asked: ‘D’you want an Ice Cream for yourself?’
He pulled a face like he was trying to piss vinegar. ‘GET OUTTA HERE!!!’
‘Sound sound sound.’
The music started as I pulled away. …Bing bong, bing ling ling, bong bing, ling ling….ling ling ling, bong bong bong bong, ling….do bu do boo boo ling boo du boo boo boo….

——————

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Fisherman’s Blues is the hilarious new novel from Mick Donnellan.Dark and audacious, written in a distinct West of Ireland vernacular, it covers a myriad of genres from Crime Noir to comedy and an odd bit of religion. Fresh in its language, vivid in its descriptions, the book sings with the signature style of all Donnellan’s previous work, and a bit more. Delving into the lives of drinkers, lovers, thieves and scam artists, the story weaves a web of intrigue and curiosity that ends with an unforgettable bang. Not without its poignant moments, the plot hinges on the chaotic consequences of three unlikely comrade’s attempts to save their lost relationships, while unintentionally ruining the plans of a rising criminal’s efforts to take over the city. The question is: Can they succeed? And if they don’t, what then? And where have the women really gone?

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