A couple of author's notes: First, there's a new link to another classic Phil of the Future online game, Time Machine Rescue, now on my author's page. My top score is 6875. (Just sayin'.) Plus, after reflecting for the 14th time about there being no Valentine's Day episode, I got to wondering which holidays you think are simply begging to be addressed. This has resulted in a new poll on my author's page, "Which special days need a Phil of the Future story?," which runs from the first day of school through fireworks day. Check your personal calendar and then let your voice be heard through your vote. PM me if you discover that I've omitted your favorite annual events. - CN

Disclaimer: If you believe I own Phil of the Future, then you're a few sprinkles short of a banana split.

( ( Untitled Story* ) )

*Thought I'd try something different and let PotF readers come up with a title for this story, providing reviewers an opportunity to express their creativity. Submit you ideas and one will be adopted at the end of July.

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Phil knows she's crazy; no surprise, he's always known. He opens the door for her just the same. Near-record heat for Pickford and the last place he or any sane person wants to be caught in is the Cocoa Palace, even if it is with his friend Keely. "Hot chocolate," thought? Why does Keels have to pick a day like today to indulge to indulge in being blonde? Nonetheless, a smile forms as Keely passes before him and a cool rush of air-conditioning spews out to great them both. Maybe his friend isn't entirely nuttier than an almond .

"C'mon, Phil. Let's get in line."

Keely's correct. Why is there a cue for hot chocolate on a day like this? A quick glance to the front of the line only adds to the bizarreness: Owen in a little paper hat.

"What the?"

Owen spots Keely, then Phil, and quickly waves, his hand possessing a silver ice cream scoop. Ice cream! Since when does the Palace serve ice cream?

"It does every summer, Phil," Keely remarks.

"Did I say that out loud? Am I talking to myself? What else did I say?"

"Something about treating me to a sundae?" slipped in Keely. She didn't even bother with puppy-dog eyes anymore, just a playful lilt in her voice, followed by a wink.

"Alright."

"With nuts."

Again with the nuts. What's with this century, anyway, and when did Owen start working here? O-Dawg is giving out free samples of his charm, as always, but despite the long line, everyone is in a much better mood than usual regarding overdosing on Owen. Could it be the white paper hat? Eventually, Keely and Phil make it to the front of the line. Phil can find out for himself now.

There's something different about him, Keely thinks. Same smile, but maybe something different in Owen's eyes? She can't be certain.

"Keely! Phil! What'll it be, Sweathogs?" asks Owen, nodding in the direction of a roll of complementary paper towels. Phil took the hint. Both he and Keely toweled off while wisps of cold air wafted off the open ice cream cooler. Behind the cooler, Owen appeared to have found the best way to beat the heat in Pickford this summer - while being paid for it - and free ice cream samples, too. Talk about having yours with sprinkles on top! How could it get better than this?

That sundae upgrades itself to a banana split to beat the heat for Keely's tastes and Owen makes a production out of building the monstrosity. Joyfully, Keely savored his construction almost as much as she would partaking it with many of the same sounds of scrumptiousness. Bananas, three flavors of ice cream, four types of nuts, a heaping scoopful of crushed Señor Nougat candy bars, topped off with a cherry and only chocolate syrup. (Keely abhors butterscotch.) Some girls at one of the window booths call her over, so when Owen hands her the frozen concoction, complete with napkin and spoon, she thanks him and heads over to meet her pals, ignoring Phil.

"Ouch," comments Owen.

"What?"

"Well, Phil, I work up to by elbows in frozen dairy products, but nothing as cold as that. Maybe I should have said, 'Brrr?'"

"Keely just happy to see her friends. I'm not worried."

"Phil, Phil, Phil - optimistic Phil. Here, have a cone on me." Vanilla, of course. "You see, Phil, 'life' - grab a barstool, Phil - 'life, is like an ice cream cone. You have to move in fast before it melts and you have nothing but a soggy tasteless cone.'"

"This one's chocolate flavored."

Owen frowned, "Stay with me, Phil. Focus - better yet, look. Take a gander at all the tasties Keely's sitting with. Just look at them lick that ice cream from those spoons. Slurp that straw, Baby. Oh, yeah. Oh,my! Wait - here comes Angie. Shh!" Quickly Owen pastes a look of sincerity on his face. "Hi, Angie. How can I serve you?" In a very undress code approved cranberry tube top, Angie merely holds out her empty milkshake cup, shaking it slightly so it's lonely straw rattles as it circles the rim. "Of course. Free refill coming right up." Owen's eyes never drifted down.

Phil may have been new to this century once upon a time, but "Free Milkshake Refills?" He didn't just fall off the time machine yesterday. Something was up.

"You're doing this to impress girls, aren't you? Owen, you're going to go broke, Genius."

"Broke? No. Genius? Was there ever a doubt? Excuse me, Phillip."

After pardoning himself, Owen walks past the open ice cream coffin and down his side of the counter, his tip jar in hand. Placing the jar down before the customer sitting furthest from Phil, Owen-the-ice-cream-man doesn't have long to wait. Myron Fibble, hardly smelling of bologna at all, fishes out his wallet and "donates" to Owen's kitty. He's merely the first of five donators, all of them male, all Phil recognizes from school. A math geek, a couple of junior accounting club members, even that science kid Snooger who was enamored with Phil when he looked like his sister, Pim. Phil feels a chill and it isn't from the vanilla. Focus, Phil, focus.

"Five dollars for a three-dollar shake, but how? Well, I see 'how,' but 'why?'"

"This place is a gold mine, Philster." Owen was bubbling over with glee. "Hot weather results in less clothing. Less clothing equals hotter girls. Hot girls want to refresh themselves."

"So girls come here."

"Yes, yes they do. Air-conditioning and ice cream brings them in, free refills keeps them here."

"And your money men?"

"They see the scrumptiousness in the window. But they're shy, you know? And window-gawking is practically stalking these days. These mirrored-back shelves on my side of the counter - well, let's just say I provide a service. These wishful thinkers get to gaze at their dream girls in the mirrors without anyone calling the cops on them."

"As long as they pay for the refills."

"Naw. This is strictly voluntary, Diffy. Right, Guys?" Nods were returned even if no one took their eyes off the mirrors in front of them. They were in a trance, like they were zombies or something. "See, Phil. Voluntary."

"So they pay you five dollars for a three dollar shake and you make pocket two bills for?"

"Hey, summer jobs don't last forever, and I'll need some serious green for all my dates next year with the lay-dees."

"I didn't think two dollars was considered serious money these days, Owen. Considering your past histories with the fairer sex, you already have two dollars more than you'll need."

Owen throws Phil an annoying smirk. "We'll see, Diffy. Some of these girls think the world's gonna end in 2012, so they're -"

"You don't really believe -"

"Hey, Diffy, it's the big December 2-1-1-2. It's not about whether I believe the world stops in 2012; it's what some of the girls believe. Why, what do you think the odds are that we all check out before the thirteenth?

"Well, Owen, I'll bet you that -"

"Oops, customer. Later, Dude."

Another girl, this time with an empty pink plastic sundae tray comes to Owen for a refill. Younger than the girls Keely is laughing with in another booth, this one's Pim's age, grinning like crazy at Owen. If she's typical, Owen may be on to something. A plethora of Pickfordian girls associating relief and treats with Owen. All of a sudden, Phil Diffy had a new respect for Owen's intelligence.

"There you go, Addison. Enjoy!"

"Oh, this isn't for me. Candida had me be the gofer for her refill," Addison admitted, blushing with some embarrassment for being used."

"And never have I seen a prettier, uh, retriever?"

Phil slapped his own forehead. Had Owen really just called Addison a dog? Okay, so maybe working around all this ice cream really hadn't made him any cooler. Addison spun around on her heels and sped back to the booth, dessert in hands. By the time she sat down, the wound was beginning to cut deeply.

Owen knew he hadn't been smooth, but he had no clue how bad Addison felt right now. For that matter, neither did Phil. Keely did, though. She'd been watching the entire time and she wanted to have her friends move so she could get out of the booth, or even scootch under the table as she and Phil had done at Otto's Pink Pig … she wanted to, but she couldn't. It was against the rules. Keely didn't know Addison, but she recognized Candida and her clique. "Fashion Zombies" Pim called them, and they had rules, or at least a pecking order of their own. From the way Addison's "friends" were ignoring her pain - they had to see hear her choking back her tears, she had to be pretty near the end of the pecking. Doing anything would only make things worse, Keely knew. If only Addison could come over to Keely's table …

Phil started to move in Addison's direction before checking his barometer. It was only when Keely caught his eyes that he hesitated, halted, and slowly returned to be with Owen. This was so unlike Keely, he thought. She'd do more for a crying kitten, he thought.

A minute went by, then five, then ten. New customers came in and sat down, but at other booths and tables. Keely's friends, Candida's minions, and secret admirers' counter all sent out the same vive: no vacancies. A couple of Keely's friends got up to go to the bathroom together and Keely took advantage of their absence to go rejoin her best friend. Phil made room for Keels by giving up his barstool at the counter. They gave one another reassuring smiles before Keely turned her attention to the scooper behind the counter.

"Jerk."

"Yes?"

"What'd ya mean 'yes?'"

"What do you need, Keels? The Cocoa Palace is getting a frozen yogurt machine next week. It's going to be money maker. Phil, just imagine all these tongues sticking out to lick and lap up frozen goodness. Man, is that going to boost profits!"

"Owen, I called you a 'jerk."

"I know. I'm a soda jerk." Owen was unaffected by the angry looks Keely emitted in his direction. Jerk.

Phil sympathized, "You gave it your best shot, Keely."

(SIGH) "I know. Owen, I think this is the perfect job for someone like you."

"I know, right," chimed Owen in agreement, now busy again with another refill.

"Two double-scoop cones for the road, Owen."

"Sure, Phil. Just give me a minute." Owen is busy, first preparing more "free" ice cream, then making another collection from the counter caucus. This is the first time Keely witnesses the shakedown collection and she's not quite sure what's going on. Neither is Owen when he move to the second boy only to have Myron grab the mouth of Owen's tip jar. As far as Owen's concerned, "no refunds."

Myron pulls out a five dollar bill and whispers, "I - I'd like a sundae, please."

"Sure, just a -"

"And can you bring it over to Addison, along with this note?"

Owen may be a soda jerk, but even he can recognize a really cool move. He palms the fiver and folded note without reading it. Scoop, scoop, scoop, sprinkle, sprinkle, shake, drizzle, and impale with spoon. Owen recreases his paper hat and straightens his apron before carrying out his assignment. Walking the long way around the Palace, he finally arrives at the Fashion Zombies' table. The long trek has tortured Myron and had Keely biting her bottom lip; Phil bit his tongue to keep from chuckling over Owen's production.

Owen is clearly the last person Addison wants to deal with anymore, but the unexpected note presents a mystery she cannot resist. What is written inside amounts to three sentences: two statements followed by a question - a request, really. Addison is quiet, which intriguesCandida, Dementia, Varicella, and Chlamydia seated with her enough to peek at her note.

Addison spoke, "I didn't think you felt this way about me."

Owen panics, "What?WHO?ME? No Nooo. I don't - that is, that's not from me! I didn't write that."

"Who did?"

"HE DID!" Owen's voice cracks and he thumbs over his should back in Phil's direction.

Addison looks to Phil, who throws up both his hands in the universal sign for "Not I." Then she notices Keely pointing down the counter. Addison studies the faces of each of the boys in the mirror before arriving at the last one, who's actually turned around and facing her. Myron Fibble waves. She waves back. Keely squeezes Phil's hand so tightly she hurts him to tear up, which Keely will later attribute to Phil appreciating the moment as much as she did because he's so romantic at heart.

Rising, Addison picks up the sundae and heads toward her admirer. If she had turned around she would have seen the girls at her table, their lips moving sat they order her to come back and sit down. "Myron Fibble?" Addison better not.

Fortunately, Addison's ears aren't working presently. She succeeds in making her way to Myron and nods. That nod was the sweetest thing Myron has ever he abandons his counter companions without hesitation. Owen escorts the two to a booth on the far side of the Palace, away from the well-dressed, but walking dead, and even produces another spoon for Myron to join Addison in her - their dessert.

Upon Owen's return, Phil congratulates him with, "Not bad for a jerk."

Owen beams.

"That was beautiful, Owen," adds Keely.

"For a 'jerk,' right?"

Kelly simply shakes her head and smiles.

"Two cones, right?"

More blonde head nodding follows.

As he watches Keely and Phil getting their first licks in as Phil holds the door open for Keely, Owen calls out, "Come back soon! Remember - frozen yogurt next week!"

"We'll be back!" promises Keely.

Meanwhile, Phil's planning how to convoke Keely of the need for a skyak ride to try real Italian gelati next week instead. The last thing he wants to be watching out of the corner of his eye are a gaggle of geeks eyeballing his Keely's tongue. No, the very last thing would be Owen doing it. Phil pulls out his Wizrd and verifies that it still hadsmultiple settings for ice cream headaches.

"Whatcha doin', Phil?"

"Oh, nothing, Keely," answers her not-jellin' friend-boy as he decides that Owen's will be at Level Nine if the soda jerk tries anything.

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#60

Please take a moment to help give this tale a title.

Thanks -CN