The burner was ignited beneath the stew of war when, during morning snack time, the boys chewed with their mouths open. The girls expressed their disgust both visually and verbally — making gross-out faces and gagging. The boys’ unmannerly posturing continued until the responsible adult, Miss Pfafferkorn, intervened.
Though volatile, tensions would have relaxed by recess were it not for the note delivered by Wendy Oilerman — chief female liaison to icky boys through Nick Batte (whose jacket Wendy had kissed once during a game of Red Rover).
Boys, read the note. It continued,
sniff each others (sic) poop.
Upon comprehending the note’s contents, sweat broke out on Nick’s palms. Despite the missive’s undetermined meaning — was it a command for the boys to smell feces or a statement of irrefutable fact? — the aggressive tone was clear. Surely, thought Nick, such inflammatory language will foment war most gruesome! Nick looked to Wendy, note trembling in hand, and asked if this was indeed the message he was to deliver. Wendy nodded gravely. Such a simple thing, a nod. Yet with it — a dip of the chin, a lowering of the eyes — the entire 5th grade class of room 3E embarked upon the path to battle.
Dutifully, Nick returned to the throne of Tyler Nilperson, who lounged at the only purple desk, majestically abutting the blocks, picture books and map of Africa. Upon receiving the note, Tyler’s wisp of a blonde mustache twitched. Tyler’s long, straight hair broke in a gossamer wave upon his shoulders as his head rose. Lancing across the room, his eyes struck the obvious mastermind of this nefarious declaration.
Helena Grouper-Sarkey, heir apparent to “Large” Laird Sarkey’s Lawn Accessories empire, innocently jotted in her “Watch Me Spell” workbook.
“Helena!” thundered Tyler pre-pubescently. Helena turned, brushing her prim locks aside with a ring-littered hand. After meeting Tyler’s gaze, Helena jutted her narrow, pale chin and sniffed long and lustily. Tyler crumpled the note in his chubby palm.
Tell of the message spread within minutes of its arrival. The class was on edge, the air crackled with tension. Thus, the remaining interim until recess passed with sickly slowness. Potentially, this would be a trip from which none returned.
On the playground, the boys and girls huddled in their respective camps: the boys in the shaded, cool dirt beneath the jungle gym and the girls on the dandelion-dotted copse behind the swings.
Tyler, the boys crouched around him, began to delineate an involved plan. Despite the shade, the air was warm and the boys quickly grew restless — battle had been promised and it would be battle they had. Phillip Phillerson, a hot young stallion, was the first to break ranks. Taking matters into his own hands, Phillip burst from beneath the rubber-coated steel of the playground, bellowed, and lobbed a knobby chestnut into the girl’s tittering circle. Before the missile could land the girls scattered like mice from a boot, flitting to all corners of the playground. Helena’s plan sprung into motion. In seconds, whooping girls surrounded the boys on all sides, wielding handfuls of sand, clumps of grass, and other sundry ordnance. Tyler yelled for the boys to form a phalanx, each man facing out in an impenetrable circle.
Under these conditions, the boys weathered an onslaught of debris. The girls’ form was strong, their aim true, yet the boys had the power of comradeship and kept their heads down. Helena, a ruthless tactician, quick understood the futility of this assault and shifted course. With a command, the girls dropped their ammunition and together loosed a blood-curdling call.
“Tag,” they yelled. “We’re it.”
Lo how the boys did quake, surrounded as they were, potential cooties hemming them in on all sides. The women began to count down from ten, a generous gift to these imperiled men. Surely, the descending numbers were the countdown to their everlasting departure from this realm. Ravenous girls ranged around them like hyenas around a kill, waiting to tag and touch and cootify.
“Eight,” said the girls.
Yet as the winds of war blow, so too do they shift. For Tyler, great Tyler, had a stratagem as yet unused on the field of battle-play. With a shout, Tyler brought the young men huddling in and told them what must be done. The boys were shocked, incredulous.
“Five,” said the girls.
“No…” croaked Jaden Ingersoll, fumbling with his fogged glasses. “I… I can’t!”
“We must,” said Tyler.
“Two!” said the girls.
And madness though the plan may have been, battle does not preclude insanity's triumph. If successful, these twenty boys would wrench their souls from the tip of grinning death’s scythe. If unsuccessful, no God nor demigod would find them fit for mercy.
The boys fanned out, teeth set against the coming hardship.
“One!” said the girls. “Ready or not here we come!”
The glittering amazons rushed in, fine puffs of dirt rising with their every footfall. Hunger triumphant painted their faces. They did not want to simply tag — ye LORDS no! — they wanted the boys to be IT!
“Hold!” Tyler cautioned, his arm raised to the burning sky. The cootie onslaught was close enough to be smelled — girly body spray and freshly washed clothes rode the howling wind. “Hold!” said Tyler again, his resolve a thick girder, threatening to bend under the heavy futures of the brave boys that dared call him friend, leader, master. The whites of the young girls' eyes blazed brazen and triumphant, their tiny teeth bared in smiles of victory assured. They were ten feet out. Now seven. Now four. Now two…
“Now!” roared Tyler. The boys turned as one, their backs replacing their fronts, and pulled their pants beneath white buns that gleamed opalescent.
The girls screamed and scattered. The mooning defense broke their charge like waves ‘pon a mighty bulwark. Helena threw herself to the soil, shaking her fists at the cruel fates. How could she have overlooked the ultimate power of a full moon? And the boys did not relent; their pale posteriors stayed proudly proffered, some waggling, some immobile as granite, as the girls put a maximum of distance into their retreat.
And so that day the future men of the world emerged victorious from the skirmish. Though their victory proved short-lived, as once the administration understood the enormity of their war crimes the boys were all punished with the grave sentence of no longer being able to play with Gumby, the class’ communal hamster.
But for that moment, looking into each other’s grinning faces as they pulled up their pants, the boys knew the ineffable glory that springs to the breast of all men after battle. That radiant splendor when against fate and time and odds incalculable, you stand together unbroken, and wonder in awe if this world had ever been so beautiful and perfect and right. Yes, in that moment, feet nestled into the fragrant cedar chips of the playground, the boys beheld the victorious grace of life most sweet and drank in its potent, undiluted fullness.
Gelato Fiasco – 3.5
Gorgeous Gelato — 4.2
To Preface, I tried to get the same flavor at both places in order to get as close as possible to an “apples-to-apples” comparison. A perfect comparison would be impossible. This is also a dumb food blog written by a lunatic. Take that as you will.
GF: I sampled a cup of the “Cookie Fix” which, to my mind, was the closest option to a Cookies ‘n’ cream-type situation. While enjoyable, the vanilla-based gelato was a bit more cloyingly sweet than the sort of full-bodied French vanilla I prefer. The crumbled cookies (whether Oreo or some Hydroxy-esque knockoff I cannot say) peppered throughout the ice cream weren’t really crumbly either. I tasted more cream filling than anything else. It was not unpleasant but it wasn’t close-your-eyes-and-press-your-lips-together good.
GG: Here, I sampled a cup of “Oreo” gelato, which, rather than having the cookie crumbles of its Fiasco counterpart, appeared to have whole Oreo-esque cookies blended up in it. The taste was rich, robust and ultimately satisfying; a flavor much closer to the Oreos I know and love. While I didn’t finish the tiny bowl, the amount I ate was surprising given that I’m not a huge sweets person and I was feeling full from the Fiasco bowl I’d already polished off. This was some fine, balanced gelato.
Gelato Fiasco gets the nod on economy. The scoop GF portioned out towered over the max capacity of its meager serving bowl. GG’s serving size was a bit less ambitious.
GF: Cold Stone North
GG: Try-Hard Grandma
GF: Professional in a franchised sort of way. The ambience's
coziness is diminished somewhat by the imposing arc of gelato tubs that line the eastern wall.
GG: From the chairs to the colors to the tablecloths, Gorgeous Gelato has a scattershot approach to decoration. It all fits together in a quaint homey way that definitely fits the mood of one looking for a bit o’ the sweet. It’s not impressive. It just kinda works.
GF: The ladies behind the counter were peppy and quick to
serve. The only other thing to remark is that they talked non-stop nearly the
entire time I was enjoying my treat. Girls, girls girls!
GG: The lone counter watcher was a young lady who graciously reminded me that I had to pay before I walked out the door. Seriously, I got my gelato, thanked her and tried to leave. My previous experience at Gelato Fiasco had checked the “paying for gelato” box in my brain. I apologize, young woman. I am not a sweet-toothed, penniless vagrant. I simply forgot to pay. I am still ashamed.
EAT OR SKIP:
(at Gorgeous Gelato)
Why did I go get gelato in the middle of this godawfully cold “spring?” I don’t know. Why does anyone do anything? Sex? Money? Power? Take your pick. Regardless, judgment must be passed.
GF: I tried one flavor. Maybe their other flavors are better? The flavor I had was sweeter than a Louisiana huckleberry (is that even a thing?). It was too sweet. Granted, I am a savory man by choice and trade, so sweetness is not necessarily my territory. Anyway, its flavor profile was very one-sided and left me in want of a pretzel or something to balance it out. Frown.
GG: This was what I am now talking about. The GG Oreo gelato had the signature taste of an Oreo’s crumbly cookie-parts (I obviously like Oreos) with taste hints of that glorious whatever-the-hell-it-is frosting disc intermixed. The texture was velvety and the lasting taste was one that sank deep into the taste buds, demanding further tiny bites. In a head-to-head, I'd go to with the Gorgeous.
425 Fore St,
Portland, ME 04101
434 Fore St,
Portland, ME 04101