A Black and White Soda
by John Davis Collins.....© 2002 by John F. Clennan, All Rights Reserved
TO CHASE THE DINOSAUR was published by the legendary Bill Loepkey's Inditer Dot Com of Canada.
Against advancing illness and frustration which the legal system, Bill Loepkey advanced literature and culture on the internet. It is no small recognition that his countrymen have hono[u]red Bill in their Bibliotek Nationale.
My usual night out when I was stationed at Fort Gates in the blazing Texas Hill Country was Thursday. Every Thursday night I went to a small ice cream shop and ordered a burger deluxe, the one treat my pittance of a salary allowed me. I usually supped, read the Austin-American Statesman, paid the bill and left.
This was the peacful interlude. The guerrilla war in Vietnam against the communist `Evil' Empire had ended. Intermittent turmoil in the Near and Middle East was yet to come.
The country, as reflected in The Austin American Statesman that I read, though no longer engulfed in daily violent upheaval was in doubt, over its future.
We were not. As guardians of order we stood for "one army" and along with that went the additional virtues "one country" and "one English language." The country might have doubted; We did not or so we said. After several weeks the proprietor whose rolly polly belly bubbled like pudding even on his massive Texas sized frame suggested he had developed a hankering for some of the sweets would stop by my table during these slow Thursday evenings for a few seconds of chat.
"You always come thursday at 8PM," the proprietor scratched his burgeoning belly, "some kind of Yankee ritual."
"No," I put aside the Austin American statesman, the very paper that had developed the celebrated O'Henry for the big league in New York, "Too blazin' hot for me before sunset. I can't eat. Sarge says if I don't put on a few pounds the Army'll boot me for underweight."
"A problem that'd be nice to have," the proprietor sighed as he walked back to the kitchen.
Within a few minutes the proprietor returned.
"You don't suppose," the proprietor asked, "we're headed toward another war."
I laid aside the paper full of news about tension with the Soviet Union.
"We talk tough; the Russian bear growls back; in the end a deal is cut and nothing happens." I smiled.
"Sounds like two cow-pokes comin' back from a night of brawlin' and boozin'," The proprietor joked, "No more fight left in `em; Juss a question of who's gonna stumble and fall first."
In this peaceful pause between the crusade against the communist Evil Empire and oil wars in the Near and Middle East, we still clung to cold war rhetoric; all but the truly blind realized a rapproachment favorable or otherwise was in the work between the supposed forces of dark and light.
"So if I lose my slot for falling under the weight limit," I sighed, "that won't cause the Red army to come storming through Texas."
The proprietor smiled. "Can't give them Ruskies Texas that easy; You being a regular customer; Ice Cream's on me. Name your treat."
I looked up with a smile. "You know what I really missed since leaving New York: A black and White soda!"
The proprietor's face fell so low I would have thought it bounced against that belly of pudding and hit the black tiled floor. He stared at me suspiciously but said nothing.
"A Black and White Soda?" I asked in a timid voice.
"Now see here some folks---all in the past---might," the proprietor replied in a gentle voice that betrayed the tension, "have thought different, but this is a family restaurant that serves everybody."
The proprietor was sweating profusely during the embarrassed pause while I absorbed the misunderstanding. It was supposed to be one English language.
"Oh," I replied, "A black and white soda is a large glob of vanilla ice cream dropped in an ounce of chocolate milk and spritzed--eh covered-- with seltzer--ah club soda."
A broad smile and a hardy laugh sent the proprietor to the kitchen..
While I slurped up the B & W Soda, the proprietor hoovered over me until I declare it the finer than what could be found on Schermerhorn Street.
"Would you want another," the proprietor hesitated at the word, "Black and White Soda, next week?"
"Next week I'll try," I replied a chocolate egg cream."
"A drink made of eggs and cream?"
"No, it's the B&W soda without the ice cream."
Had the Forces of Democracy conquered the evil Empire?
I'm not sure.
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