Back when Kevin was still counting his chin hairs, the best time of the year was summer. The sun was out, girls traded pants for shorts so hormones were rampant, and no school so all the neighborhood kids would meet up in the morning and hang until sunset.
In Kevin's neighborhood, their favorite part of the day was getting ice cream from the ice cream truck. That iconic ice cream truck song placed them in a trance as it beat on their eardrums. Immediately they would stop whatever they were doing to run home for money where they either begged their parents or searched every couch. Even if in an emotional tie-breaking basketball game with few points to go, they would still run to the ice cream truck.
To those kids ice cream was a delicacy; moreover, it was cheap so it wasn't an item they needed their parents to buy. As I said, they searched the crevices of their couches and though it was never much, that lint covered money was often enough. To this day, neighborhoods everywhere love ice cream trucks because they satisfy the sugar tooth of kids. However, this loving relationship with the ice cream man would change for this group of kids.
Kevin and his friends, Tj, Trevor, and Herb had an additional reason for their love of ice cream. They made a habit out of watching the girls eat their ice cream and when the girls had no money the boys gave them theirs. This group of boys was filled with boys that were suckers for girls.
One girl, in particular, caught everyone's eye, her name was Kaela, a 5'4 girl with skin the color of honey. In her neighborhood and at school, Kaela was the leading lady. She was smart, kind, and though she didn't care for social status, popular too.
In the past, Kevin hadn't viewed her as a potential girlfriend. However, it was as though something changed, whatever it was, it made his stomach fill with butterflies and knees weak every time he saw her. When he would try to speak his words tripped over each other and he resorted to a slight laugh with a smile to cover the awkwardness.
It didn't take long for her to go from the friendly dap up to the hug that lasted longer than when he would hug other girls. "A weird, good but bad feeling," he told his crew. From that day, his mission was making her his girl. This was a pretty hard task to take on considering she didn't care to have a boyfriend.
Every summer day, excluding Saturday and Sunday because of Saturday morning cartoons and Sunday church, the kids would be outside by 1 pm. To start every day, Kevin's crew met up at swamp at the top of the hill. The crews' hangout spot where they played football, skipped rocks and used the woods as a shortcut to the neighborhoods of their friends.
Today though, they were just chilling and waiting for the ice cream mans arrival. All day, for what seemed like every 10 minutes or so, Tj mentioned his craving for a Bugs Bunny Popsicle.
The Ice Cream man came cruising in at his usual time of 3 pm. The sun was bright, the wind blew through his cracked windows, and the streets were lively, it was an enjoyable day. When the crew heard the truck they ran and met him at the usual spot—in front of Kaela's house.
They all got their ice cream, and Tj's talk in anticipation of getting the popsicle made Kevin want the same. There wasn't enough time for Kevin to run home and search for money, so he dug his hands down in pockets and under the lint in his hands rested a wrinkled five dollar bill. Saliva began building up in his mouth as he handed it over to the ice cream man for the $1.50 popsicle.
The popsicle came; however, the change didn't. "I got you tomorrow lil man, got no change today" said the ice cream man with a smirk. A V-shaped mouth and eyebrows met that smirk because Kevin knew he was lying. No change was an excuse he used to avoid giving change and that tomorrow he mentioned, doesn't come.
Embarrassed and afraid of Kaela seeing the tears he fought to keep in his eye, Kevin marched off to the park knowing that he wouldn't get his change. Moreover, he knew that everyone's parents ignored their ice cream man related complaints. The parents had two reasons for this, first being that the ice cream man was friends with all the adults in the neighborhood and the second being that the parents assumed the kids were lying about not using the money for themselves. The latter wasn't an assumption without evidence because on occasion that was what the kids did.
All but Kevin sat by the swings and indulged in their ice cream. The rest of the crew wasn't mad because they all learned to give the ice cream man exact change or a little over. However, so did Kevin but this time he didn't have exact change but he still wanted the popsicle.
Stomping on the ground with all the force his pre-teen body could muster, Kevin proclaimed "I'm tired of this shit y'all, that ice cream man is trippin and we needa do somethin about him keepin our money!".
They all agreed, but what could they do? After a long silence, Herb said: "let's rob his ass". Everyone's head turned, all eyes were on Herb. He continued "it can't be hard. I mean y'all know when he parks he always gets out to stretch and he leaves his car door unlocked. Remember that time we opened it as a joke? I'm sure it's like that every time". Herb was right; however, Trevor, worried their parents would catch them, disagreed. "Na, won't happen, all the parents are still at work during that time, so ain't nobody gonna be able to snitch " said Herb successfully putting Trevor's worries to rest. Wanting to strike soon, they gave themselves two weeks to prepare. When the two weeks passed, they were ready.
The ice cream man parked in front of Kaela's house, and, as usual, they all came running. Things started off well. After his stretch, the ice cream man got back into his truck, this prompted Trevor and Kevin to signal the initiation of the plan. To distract the ice cream man they questioned his journey to his current life stage. It was the perfect distraction because the ice cream man told his story to anyone with ears. They faked their interest thus allowing Herb and T.j. to sneak by the drivers' door.
The ice cream man was bigger than them all so they knew they couldn't go in empty-handed. Therefore, Tj brought his pocket knife. As Tj rested the duffle bag on the ground, he held the handle of the unlocked drivers' door. He commenced a three count then at three he swung the door open so hard that it sprung back and hit Herb as he jumped into the truck.
Tj held the knife and Herb demanded money and ice cream. The ice cream man wasn't afraid, he tackled them both and they tussled over the knife. Kevin and Trevor ran to provide back up. All four boys were in the truck and the ice cream mans' hopes of leaving unscathed diminished. Punches and kicks were coming from all directions, Tj grabbed their duffle bag from outside the truck and threw as much ice cream as he could into the bag when the unexpected occurred.
During the fight, Tj's assumption that the adults would be absent was incorrect. Kaela's mother, confused and enraged by the noise, came screaming outside asking what in the world was happening. The boys sprinted as they hoped the eyes of Kaela's mother didn't catch their faces. That wouldn't have mattered though—the ice cream man told her everything.
Down the street, Kevin and the crew celebrated knowing they committed the heist that every neighborhood kid has been wanting to pull off. A bag full of ice cream and pride intact, all four boys were ecstatic. But then, the street lights came on and it was time to go home.
Kaela's mother didn't call the police nor did the ice cream man. Still, what she did was something that could have ruined their crews' alliance. She told all four of their parents and each received the most severe beating in their life. Moreover, their parents forbade them from hanging together for months. However, that didn't matter much to them because as clever as they were, they found a way to meet up.
What they couldn't avoid though, was Kaela's mother forbidding her from hanging with Kevin. Convinced Kevin was a bad influence, Kaela cut him off. This momentarily stopped Kevin's pursuit but it didn't take long for him to set out again on his mission of making her his girl. After all, he couldn't take a loss and move on.
The plan didn't go how they hoped. However, they achieved revenge and though no ice cream truck has since reentered their neighborhood, they found refuge in standing up for themselves.