This is a fictionalised version of one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, which happened only a few days into a new job. Thankfully the boss was understanding, and didn’t fire me!
Here comes the sun
“I’ve got to go and meet a supplier. You’ll be okay on your own right?” Pete Adamson’s words sent Esther Michaels into a barely restrained panic. She looked up at her boss, tearing her eyes away from the electronic till. She had been trying to memorise all the functions, over the week that she had been working in the shop.
“Isn’t Minnie coming in?” she asked hopeful, that the elderly woman would be there to support her.
“She has a family emergency. Don’t worry you’ll be fine. I’ll be back after lunch.” Pete glanced down at his phone, when he felt it vibrate in his hand. “The ice cream machine will need clearing out before you start serving as well.” He pushed open the sliding glass doors just enough to let himself out, and then pushed them back from the other side.
Esther shoved the step stool against the base of the unit containing the ice cream maker, as she was mindful of the time. The first customers usually rocked up at half nine, and it was already nine o’clock. Swiftly she switched off the power at the plug, her brain rolling through all the steps needed to clean the machine properly. Her hands shook as she lifted the lid, staring down at the thick creamy mixture inside the mixer. It had started to darken into a rather putrid colour round the sides, but still looked edible for the main part. The smell of congealed milk made her feel a little sick, but she stuck to her purpose, grabbing an empty ice cream tub and scoop from its convenient shelf.
The scooping out took longer than she anticipated, and she could see a line beginning to form just outside the door. The crowd were all clad in shorts and t shirts, their choice letting her know that they were most likely tourists. No locals showed up this early for an ice-cream breakfast. One burly man was particularly impatient, holding onto the hand of a tear stained miniature version of himself, he rattled the handle of the door. She mouthed through the glass, “Just a minute.”
He didn’t seem to get the message, continuing to attempt to get in, while Esther attempted to remember what had come next. The mixer was empty, and so she reached for the pump, trying to release it from it’s hole. “Which way do you twist it? Was it left or right?” she muttered to herself, as she strained.
All of a sudden the pump came loose, but Esther’s moment of triumph was short lived. The machine let loose a sound not unlike a sigh, and then erupted. The stale ice-cream shot straight up, rather like a geyser. The pressure was such that it splattered across the pitted ceiling tiles, drenching Esther’s face, dappled across the door, and splashed across the newly cleaned floor.