Once upon a time, there were two scoops of ice cream at the top of a hill.
One scoop, which was chocolate, said to the other, “Hey Vanilla, want to race?”
“Race?” the other scoop answered, “What’s that?”
“It’s where we each go as fast as we can and see who can get to the bottom of the hill first!”
“Ooh, that sounds exciting,” said Vanilla, and gave a little roll. “How do we do that?”
“Well, it’s pretty hot out here, so I figure we can melt and slide our way down,” Chocolate answered.
Now, to ice cream, “hot” means anything that is not freezing cold. But it was rather warm that day. It wasn’t carry-your-water-with-you-at-all-times hot, but if you had looked down the road from the top of the hill, and maybe if you had put your head down close to street level, and if you were patient, you would probably have seen some waviness in the air, rising from the pavement.
The two ice cream scoops started their race. They glistened in the sunlight as their outer layers started to melt. And if they had been on someone’s cones, their parents would have said, “Be sure to lick that before it drips.”
“Oh my specks! I’ve never moved this fast!” yelled Vanilla.
“Wooooo!” wailed Chocolate, sliding past Vanilla at the speed of a very fast snail.
“Wow, how do you do that?” Vanilla called after the other scoop.
“Yeah, it’s a trick I just figured out. Face one side toward the sun until it’s good and melted, and then roll down on top of it to get a really good slide!”
Vanilla tried it. “Hmm, I’m not really heating up as fast. I’m going to try rolling instead. Watch out, I’m going to catch up!”
The two ice cream scoops slid and rolled down the hill, slowly at the top, where it wasn’t very steep, and speeding up as they got lower. They were really melting now — if they had been on cones, the parents would now be saying, “Here, let me help you with that.”
“Oh no,” said Chocolate, “I’ve slid into the shade!”
“Ha ha, I’ll catch you now!” answered Vanilla, “Whoa, what’s this, a crack? I’m going sidewaaaays!”
Behind them two stripes of melted ice cream stretched up the hill, once white and one brown.
Just then, out from behind a building at the top of the hill, a dog and a cat walked onto the street. The dog sniffed the air, and the cat jumped up on a bench to look around. The cat saw the chocolate stripe, jumped down, and ran over to it, while the dog found the vanilla one, and they both started licking.
The Chocolate scoop was back in the sunlight again and making good time on the hot pavement. “Wuk ut meee, Um huff-multed,” Chocolate said, in a melty voice.
“Yeh won’t ketch meh!” Vanilla said. But vanilla was mostly melted on one side and was having trouble rolling. Vanilla looked back up the hill; Chocolate was nearly even. “Weht! Whet’s that?”
“Wuht? Wuht uz it?” Chocolate asked.
“Sehm kehnd eff ennimals, chessing ess!”
Chocolate struggled to turn around but was sliding headlong down the street, now mostly liquid.
The dog and cat were having a race of their own, of sorts. The dog slobbered its way down the hill, going back and forth across the vanilla trail, while the cat licked straight down the middle of the chocolate, getting the thickest part of the melted ice cream and ignoring the edges.
“Thehr genna eehht ess! Ehhhhh!” Vanilla panicked.
Chocolate ran out into a final syrupy dollop that spread across the pavement. The cat was not far behind; it licked its way right to the middle and lapped up a little circle through the thickest part.
The dog closed in on the lopsided lump of Vanilla, who burbled, “Eeeargh, et’s theh ehnd!”
But as the dog’s tongue scooped Vanilla up, Vanilla’s last thoughts were suddenly calm and clear. “Wait, this isn’t so bad. I’m ice cream. I always wanted to be eaten outdoors on a hot day, after all.”