The Veronica flavor of ice cream was in, and I was excited. Partly because it was the flavor I named after myself and partly because my boss, Max, would hate it. I had been hoping for about a week that he would get rid of me, but he liked looking at my ass, so I knew he would never fire me. I thought maybe breaking the peppermint barrier would do it. Max hates peppermint, and never allowed any flavor with it in it in the shop. That's why I decided to take the liberty of talking to our ice cream supplier about sending over some peppermint, and I decided I would use our little labeling machine to mark it as Veronica Delights. I wanted him to associate the peppermint, a flavor he loathed, with me. Currently he associated my ass with me, and though that was a part of me, I preferred to be thought of as something he didn't like the taste of. My favorite thing about the job was watching the ice cream, which is why I couldn't bring myself to quit. I saw beauty in it beyond its taste. I loved the colors—the blue Cobalt Lightening Strike flavor and the Lemony Snicket and the Bubblegum Bubba pink (I wanted to name it Bubblegum Remorse, and even changed the label one day while Max was at the post office but he ruined it and changed it to the old name when he got back). We also sold sorbet, sherbet, frozen yogurt, and smoothies, but I took pride steering children in the least nutritionally beneficial direction. I especially enjoyed doing it if they were with parents trying to get them not to choose a flavor with candy in it. Whenever I overheard a mother suggesting her kid try the "all-natural" raspberry frozen yogurt, I would pretend not to hear, and offer the child a free sample of Chocolate Marshmallow Coo-Coo Candy, chocolate ice cream with marshmallow hearts and stars and all-sugar rainbow colored candies. I hated the health food movement, and counted every Coo-Coo Candy serving a victory. I also couldn't stand most of the mothers who came in with their children. They seemed to lead antiseptic lives. They were the kind of women who at age 28 shopped for husbands to meet the age 30 deadline; or the kind that fed their children organic baby food and didn't allow them to have any sugar for the first five years of their lives.
        The collection of ice cream tubs were prettiest with Veronica added in. The usual morass of colors was disorienting; but that day, it was all about Veronica, and the pink and purple cartons around her were only her accessories, something she could wear at her leisure. I couldn't imagine why Max couldn't appreciate mint. There was an openness to it, and a feeling you got when you consumed it that was freeing—it seemed to open up your chest, making it easier to breathe. I didn't understand why he didn't like that sensation, and why he wouldn't want others to feel it. He was probably one of those people who didn't like spicy foods, or any other flavor, that produced a reaction. A person who liked numb food.
        Max jumped the curb in his wheelchair. He called it his Hot Wheels. He would have been a dangerous driver, cutting in and out on the highways and hitting his brakes forcing the driver behind to rear-end him. I wondered what he would say when he got a load of the Veronica flavor, and saw I wasn't sorry. "Enter at the rear," he said reading the sign to the shop next door, but looking straight at me. I rolled my eyes. Wheeling around the counter with its glassed-in view of the flavors, he grabbed his inventory flip chart by the register and looked up now and then to wink at me. I looked through him at Veronica, knowing his hatred of mint and taking solace in the hate. I smacked my gum and clicked my fingernails against the glass in front of the flavors, tapping in time to a tune in my mind, wondering when he would notice my surprise addition to his lineup. "I see you remembered the Yellow Tiger's Eye," he said, leaning so far forward I hoped he'd tip.
        "Actually, I made an addition to the line up this week, kind of a surprise," I said. He seemed to have caught on to my excitement, and knowing there was something that excited me, he was determined not to react. "Oh, yeah, I see you went ahead and ordered Veronica," he shrugged. I was pissed. It was his shop, Max was fond of saying, and he controlled everything. "I can mix Veronica with the Mocha Ice to diminish the flavor of the mint," he said, pivoting his wheelchair, dancing to music that only he could hear. He was going to neutralize Veronica.
        "I've discovered you can get the flavor out of anything depending on what you mix it with," he said, examining the tubs of ice cream under glass. "Take lemon, for instance—"
        "I don't like neutralizing and dissolving flavors," I interrupted. "If I have Licorice Lollies, I want to taste it long enough, and strong enough, to reject it for itself—if I decide it needs to be rejected, that is."
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