Slurpie Safari (6th Annual Dialogue Contest Winner)


by Sorrel Westbrook-Wilson

Welcome to Slurpie Safari. Every sip is an adventure. Would you like to unleash your wild side this morning with a triple mocha brownie chunk blast limited edition slurpie? Get them now before they're extinct!"

"That's pretty long. Is that written down anywhere?"

"Nah, man. It's not that bad. You memorize it quick. And there's no point in writing it down, because the specials change like, all the time."

"Oh?"

"Yeah, like last week, it was this one colored like those shirts hippies wear, all rainbow. And they put sour gummy worms in it."

"Tie-dye?"

"Yeah, exactly, dip dye. Anyways they called it the groovy earthquake."

"The groovy earthquake."

"Actually, the triple shot sour smack groovy earthquake festival limited edition slurpie. Everything's always triple. It's company policy."

"Right. So my job is just to say the slurpies into the headset, and then someone else hands them the drink?"

"Nah. It should be that way, but Sean's out for the day. He's sick with a case of the red eyes."

"Pink eye?"

"Nah, man. Like, high. Sean's high."

"Oh."

"On drugs."

"Understood."

"Yah, so you like, talk to them and hand them the drink too. You gotta run from one window to another. Can you, like, run?"

"I'm forty-five, I'm not an octogenarian. I can go from one window to another."

"What's that like, an octopus doctor?"

"Yes."

"Alright, doc. Ha ha. Well yeah you do all that. And Bender back there makes the drinks for you. And I'm up at the counter, like, talking to the real customers."

"Pretty small operation."

"It was just the three of us on weekends, Sean and me and Bender. It was crazy."

"Glad I could help."

"Yeah, man. Me too. Cause it's crazy out here and I can't be spending all my time back with the slurpies ya know. I mean, my girl comes here."

"Your girl."

"Rhonda. She tells people to call her Ramone, but I'm like, what's that some old dead guy?"

"Four of them."

"Exactly. And plus Rhonda's a hot name. Like a librarian or a rhino."

"She sounds lovely."

"It's whatever man. Don't make a big deal if she shows up. We're like, broken up, ya know? It's whatever. It's over but I'm always gonna love her, ya know what I mean?"

"Alright."

"So what about you?"

"What about me?"

"What'd you before this gig?"

"I was a doctor. Well, I was a nurse."

"No way! You weren't joking about those octopuses, huh?"

"Octopi. And no, I worked with humans. Humans with chronic pain, mostly."

"Shit."

"Yes."

"And now you're on safari?"

"What?"

"That's what we call it. Working here."

"Right."

"Because of the name."

"No, I understand."

"Slurpie safari. Every sip is an adventure."

"What, are you programmed?"

"Almost, my man, almost. I was watching this great nature show over at Rhonda's dad's house last night, on like African animals and the shit they do to each other. And the British dude who says all the shit said 'safari' and I was like, 'every sip,' you know what I mean?"

"Yes."

"So a nurse. For sick people. Like, really sick people."

"Yes."

"You quit?"

"No."

"You fired?"

"Yes."

"For what?"

"Red eyes."

"No way! You getting high at work, and you're a nurse? That's like, illegal. Should be."

"It is. Especially when you're stealing drugs from the patients."

"Shit man. I mean it, shit. You're the most hardcore safarier we have on deck. I mean it. Like, Sean is gonna love to meet you."

"Yeah."

"Really, when you came in here, and I'm not gonna lie, when you came in here in like your suit with all that hair you know?"

"My moustache?"

"Exactly. I was like, this guy is boring city. But nah, you're a junkie nurse!"

"Please keep your voice down."

"Oh don't worry man. Bender's deaf. That's why it doesn't bother him to be back there with the slurpie machines. All that grinding makes me wanna shave my ears off like the Mona Lisa."

"What?"

"Like the crazy guy who painted that chick."

"You mean Van Gogh."

"Exactly. You're smart as hell for a junkie nurse."

"Thanks."

"So. You miss the hospital?"

"Yes."

"I hate hospitals."

"Most people do. Bad associations. The smell of disinfectant that never seems to quite mask the worse smells. Swabs. IVs. I get it."

"Exactly, man, exactly. Who wants that shit?"

"Me."

"Oh, right, sorry man. Rhonda says I'm not like, sensitive enough."

"Oh?"

"Not a good listener. Hurt people's feelings. That's why we're broken up."

"Right."

"If you see her let me know. She's this little short chick with yellow hair."

"Ok."

"Not like, blonde hair. Like, her hair isn't blonde. It's like big bird yellow."

"Ok."

"Like, she dyes it."

"Understood."

"Oh shit."

"What?"

"Your first customer, man! Shit, this is intense. Junkie nurse on the safari."

"So I just talk into the headset."

"Yeah, but like, put it on first. There ya go."

"Now?"

"Now, man! The customer's waiting!"

"Welcome to slurpie safari. Every safari is a slurp. Can I interest you in a mocha chunk triple slurpie? Oh. Ok. A classic vanilla cool punch with a twist of orange cream? Ok. We'll have that for you at the window. Thank you, have a nice day."

"Ok, man, that was terrible."

"Yes."

"Like, you said goodbye. You're gonna see them in two seconds."

"Yes."

"What the hell is a mocha chunk?"

"I apologize."

"Oh, man, I'm just messing with you! That was great. I mean, it was shitty, but you're gonna get so much better."

"Really?"

"Yeah, no doubt in my mind at all."

"Thanks."

"You work here two months, you're gonna be slick as shit at this."

"Two months."

'Yeah, no time at all! Now hand them their drink, take their cash, and smile."

"Ok."

"You have to smile, man, really. It's company policy."




BIO: Sorrel Westbrook-Wilson is pursuing an MFA in fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is from California, and spends most of her time talking to rabbits. This is her first piece of published work.