by Tim Horvath
In my neighborhood, two vehicles announce themselves with regularity, the ice cream truck and mosquito control. Let us establish from the outset that only one of these wishes its arrival to be known, while the other tips us off due only to an accident of design, whereby the four-stroke engine of the sprayer rattles and sputters like an iron lung out of warranty as it spews its pseudo-chrysanthemum fog into the air. Each sound is, in its way, unmistakable, and maybe this is why in my dreams the two coalesce into a single vehicle. The children, hearing the calliope song, leap up from their block-stacking, their nose-probing, their worm-tormenting, their treehouse-revamping, their busted-parachute simulations and olympian hopscotch and secret-hoarding, and converge on the truck, just then making its way around the cul de sac’s bend. The cloud shooting out of the pipe, they are sure, is ice cream vapor, and they rush to jockey for position, tongues outstretched under the vaguely floral mist; a slight delay before they fall back coughing and clinging to each other, retching on lawns, in culverts, along the roadside. As they gradually pick themselves to their feet, confused but with appetites unabated, a few catch the eye of the ice cream man, who appears to evince some remorse even as the song starts up again.
Tim Horvath's work is out or forthcoming in Alimentum: The Literature of Food, Fiction, Web Conjunctions, Puerto del Sol, and many other places. His novella, Circulation, will be released by Sunnyoutside Press later this year. He teaches at Grub Street Writers in Boston and will teach writing at Chester College of New England starting in the spring of 2009.