Last Licks by Cynthia Baxter Read Online (FREE)
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Next to cookies, ice cream stands as the best-selling treat in America.
“How does this sound? Green ice cream—pistachio would be perfect—that’s mixed with chocolate chips, nuts, crushed chocolate cookies, and—here’s the best part—tiny eyeballs made of sugar!”
“It sounds amazing,” I told my eighteen-year-old niece Emma, whose big brown eyes were lit up with excitement. “And I bet you have a great name for it.”
“I do!” she replied gleefully. “Monster Mash!”
“I love it,” I told her. “I’m adding it to the list. Of course, we’d have to find someone who actually makes sugar eyeballs.”
Halloween was less than three weeks away, and Emma and I were sitting at one of the round marble tables at my ice cream store, the Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe, trying to come up with fun flavors that had a spooky theme. We had just finished our usual breakfast of Cappuccino Crunch ice cream, which I consider a perfectly respectable substitute for a more normal breakfast since it contains coffee, cream, and protein-rich nuts.
But so far, our enthusiasm had greatly outweighed our productivity. In fact, Monster Mash was only the second flavor I’d written on the list. The other was Smashed Pumpkins, which was pumpkin ice cream with pecans and pralines—both smashed into little pieces, of course.
Yet while we were still at the brainstorming stage for creative new flavors, thanks to my artistic niece, my shop already looked like Halloween Central. I had given her free reign with decorating, and the results had astounded me. Just looking around was enough to put me in a Halloween mood.
Emma had begun by hanging fake spiderwebs all around the shop. She’d made them by draping strips of gauzy fabric from the shiny tin ceiling and along the exposed brick wall. She had even put them on the huge, cartoon-like paintings of ice cream treats that my best friend, Willow, had painted for the shop. One was a picture of a huge ice cream cone, one was a banana split, and the third was an ice cream sandwich. The webs were anything but eerie, especially because of the furry stuffed spiders she had added here and there. In fact, the huge smiles she’d embroidered on their faces made them look positively cute.
Intertwined in the spiderwebs were strings of tiny orange lights. They nicely complemented the string of orange jack-o’-lantern lights that Emma had hung across the front display window that overlooked Hudson Street, Wolfert’s Roost’s main thoroughfare. To me, those grinning pumpkins captured all the fun of what had always been one of my favorite holidays. A second string of jack-o’-lantern lights festooned the glass display case that contained the giant tubs of ice cream.
But the best part of Lickety Splits’ Halloween décor were the life-size creatures my clever niece had made out of papier-mâché, paint, fabric, and glue. At the moment, Count Dracula was sitting at the table behind me, his mitten-like hand holding a plastic spoon. In front of him was a ceramic coffin the size of a dinner plate piled high with fake ice cream made from balls of fabric. Emma had done an incredible job of replicating one of Lickety Splits’ signature dishes, the Bananafana Split. And customers were more than welcome to share the Count’s table while they ate their own ice cream.