Going For Ice Cream, Officer

by | December 2020 B (Day 1)

We were hot and bored so we climbed into GK’s Chevy Impala — with the windows open cause his air conditioning sucked — and headed to this ice cream shop in Englewood that we heard was all retro and shit like the 1930s. Blasted Jeff Beck from the stereo — which did work — because we thought we were the only ones who ever heard of Jeff Beck and everyone should know how cool we were.

Coming down Dean Street I looked over at the park and saw about twenty guys in brown shirts and jackboots with swastika armbands. Do you see this shit? I said and I leaned out the window dropping f-bombs like it was goddamn Dresden and screaming about Hitler having just one testicle.

Cops stopped the car and pulled me out through the window, put me up against a storefront and checked me for weapons. Two white cops told me I was in big trouble, and I was thinking they weren’t around for the riots so this was probably the most action they’ve ever seen and were gonna ride it for all it was worth.

Then a black cop took me aside, asked me if I was Jewish.

No, but my mom’s German. You have to be Jewish to hate Nazis? They’re not crazy about you guys either, you know.

They’re not really Nazis. It’s a movie. A Woody Allen movie.

No shit? I said. He nodded and said to get out of town. So we did cause GK was pale and sweaty on account of the guns he kept in the trunk with the spare tire.

But I guarantee some of those guys were really Nazis, and the movie was Manhattan, which was beautifully shot and had a gorgeous Gershwin soundtrack, but really just glorified Woody’s jailbait obsession, and we could have shut all that shit down and didn’t and now look where we are.

12 Comments

  1. Jack O'Connell

    I liked the long twisting run-on sentences a lot. I think interspersing more short dialogue, or short sentences, between them could moderate the tone and make them stand out even more. The sentences move between a very specific feel “Chevy Impala” “Dean Street” “right testicle” to a sometimes a bit vague and general feel “how cool we were” “ride it for all it was worth” “now look where we are”. I don’t think the generality is bad but you could play with that contrast, highlight it, build up to it, or something else.

  2. Bud Smith

    Whoa. You really got me a few times in this story, I didn’t know where it was going and it caught me off-guard three times, the first time being when the Nazis show up and then it seems like the cops are with the Nazis (I loved this idea) and then the reveal that the police are actually with the Nazis but somehow it is a Woody Allen film and then the reveal that these characters could have somehow shut the movie down and stopped Woody Allen from becoming the full monster he became in the same way that popular time travel thing says if a person could travel back in time and kill baby hitler than the world would have been infinitely rosier for millions of people. This is a very deep story when one begins to peel back the layers and implications of the events. I am very impressed. I do believe the sentences in the beginning could be cleaned up a little bit and some more interesting information could creep in in the absence of some of the repetition … here, I’ll tinker:

    • Bud Smith

      We were hot and bored so we climbed into GK’s Chevy Impala — with the windows open because his air conditioning sucked — and headed to this ice cream shop in Englewood that we heard was 1930s retro. We blasted Jeff Back over the stereo — which did work — hoping everyone understood how cool we were.
      Coming down Dean Street I looked over at the park and saw twenty guys in brown shirts and jackboots with swastika armbands. Do you see this shit? I said and I leaned out the window dropping f-bombs like it was goddamn Dresden and screaming about Hitler having just one testicle.
      Cops stopped the car and pulled me out through the window, put me up against a storefront and checked me for weapons. Two white cops told me I was in big trouble, and I was thinking they weren’t around for the riots so this was probably the most action they’ve ever seen and were gonna ride it for all it was worth.

  3. Benjamin Niespodziany

    Great movement and turns in this one! Love being guided along not sure where it’s going, unsure of who is real and who is just in costume. Love the brief mention of the gun in the trunk. Would love to see a little more of that worry/concern and personality from GK. Would also love to be given a bit of a timeline, as I assumed it was current times until Manhattan is mentioned in the end and I realize it’s the late 70s. Given the police and the Nazis (and Woody Allen), it could just as well be 2020.

    • Traci Mullins

      Bill, you convey the protagonist’s personality so well. At first he’s clueless and supposedly wrong about what he was seeing, but he totally nails the reality in the end. LOVE the last paragraph and immediately wanted to reread the story, which revealed more layers of what was going on. Well done, my friend.

  4. Jesse Wilson

    I couldn’t tell what the italics were signifying but that into was INTRIGUING!

  5. Saxon Baird

    I love how voice-y this story is. I was laughing form line one and I’m a sucker for first-person narratives that are loose and conversational. And it moves. You don’t waste time. I also like how it went a totally different direction than I expected when the Nazi’s show up. I also like where it went. I think there are different layers of interpretation that can be at work here. Idk if they are intentional but here are few thoughts that might be of interest / food for thought for future edits:

    * There a performative aspect to the narrator and thats reflected in the Nazis being actually just actors and part of a movie. They are performing and in the telling of the story, the narrator is sort of carrying out a virtual signaling performance to reassert what is probably the most basic, low-hanging fruit portion for any decent human being to be: anti-Nazi.

    And then there is this sort of performative desire to do something morally righteous that reflects the sort of paranoia that you see on the right (and left!) constantly in search of those big bad assholes we can beat up and stop while ignoring that 95%+ of the time people are just going about their day being norms.

    And so it all falls apart right? He doesn’t get to beat up Nazi’s, the cop interaction is anticlimatic, but the narrator is still bent on concluding that they would’ve still done something righteous if they only could have…and then connects it to something with not quite as bigger stakes: Woody Allen’s socially taboo (but I guess legal?) relationship w his wife/adopted daughter — but then at the end suggests that such things are the reason for the state of the world. We’d all be better if we just beat up 30 Nazis/Nazi actors!

    The whole thing kind of reminded of Twitter played out in real events and expresses the bravado of someone trying to build themselves up at a bar about an “almost fight” that really wouldn’t change anything and amounted to nothing but peacocking.

    Also, I love the addition of the guns in the trunk at the end. Suggesting that maybe these two aren’t so morally superior themselves or maybe just adding another edgy detail to their persona for whoever will listen.

    Anyways, Idk if that is what you were going for, but I think it speaks to the strength of the story, how its provocative and timely and overall really solid, Bill.

  6. Rachel Pollon Williams

    Oh my god, so much goodness here. Love driving by a movie scene and not realizing it. I feel like there is almost a time travel element to it. I wouldn’t mind having a better sense of how old the guys in the car are, where they are in their lives, and wonder if that leads you to some kind of interesting ending that uses all of the elements here. Sometimes (a blessing and a curse!) I have found I am juggling too many compelling elements and wonder if they can all work in one story or if it’s two separate stories. I’m not saying all of this can’t work together! It’s just the puzzle solving part of the writing process. There could be more about why there are guns in the trunk. There could be more with the cop asking if the guy is Jewish. Does something more happens when they get to the ice cream shop? Do they skip the ice cream? Etc.

    “dropping f-bombs like it was goddamn Dresden” – great line!

  7. Greg Oldfield

    Bill, I enjoyed the timely unraveling of details as well as the main character’s humorous reactions the world he was seeing. The quick, witty reflections do so much to boost his character and ground us in his lens, reminding us that what we’re seeing is off. Small things like the conflict with the cops and the emergence of the gun could add more tension, which could lead to more bad things for the character. I liked the idea of this spiral stemming from yelling Nazis out of the window of an Impala, something good that turns out horribly wrong for this character.

  8. Ben Saff

    Haha! Great story, voicing, and pacing. The dialogue was well done too and the final reveal made grin.

    Maybe change “the air conditioning sucked” to “the air conditioning didn’t work” so that when you say the stereo which *did work* couples better. It tripped me up for a second.

    “Coming down Dean Street I looked over at the park and saw about twenty guys in brown shirts and jackboots with swastika armbands. Do you see this shit? I said and I leaned out the window dropping f-bombs like it was goddamn Dresden and screaming about Hitler having just one testicle.” – Gold!

  9. Kara Vernor

    Ha! So good. I love the twists and turns in this and all the motion–it’s fast! And I like how dynamic it is on the one hand and on the other, the tone tells us this is all in a good day’s work, so to speak. I don’t really have any suggestions. I think it’s a fast, fun piece and doesn’t need to be more than that.

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