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  • Writer's pictureDarryl Dawson

What's It All About: "The Crawlspace" (Part 2 of an ongoing series)

Today's post is about "I Scream, You Scream," the eighth story in The Crawlspace.

This tasty revenge story is proof that anything can be scary when you hold a crooked mirror up to it.

While I was a member of I received a random e-mail with a strange request: "Write a horror story about ice cream!" it said. It would have been understandable to dismiss the e-mail as a veiled attempt at humor from an anonymous troll, but something inside me took it as a challenge. I mean, if ice cream can be fried, then it can be made into a nightmare, right? Easy-peasy.

Consider the ice cream truck. Just the sound of those things driving by could be the soundtrack of a blood-soaked phantasm. Who hasn't heard one of those gas-guzzling sugar pimps jangling down the street with its mobile music box cranked up to 11? At times they're irritating, but sometimes they make you ponder a few questions like, who gets to drive those things? Are their backgrounds checked? Can listening to that kiddie music all afternoon drive you bat-shit crazy? Is it possible to turn a human liver into a frozen confection? Whoa! Ice cream trucks are dangerous things, my friend; stay as far away from them as you can!

I incorporated much of my own childhood memories of Harbor City, California into the story. Riding motocross bikes and playing football with your friends in the street was fairly commonplace in my old neighborhood, and when the ice cream truck came by, it was a break time that would beat all others you would have in your life. My generation walked home from school as individuals and came home to an empty house (one journalist labeled us "latchkey kids"). The walk home from President Avenue School was a long one, and though it never crossed my mind at the time, or anyone's for that matter, a lot could have happened.

Despite its nostalgic path, "I Scream" is really about racism, with the point being that even the smallest act of racism can leave a scar that lasts forever. And even after the wrong is made right, you are never the same.

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