He let out a sigh of relief when the punch clock ringed him into freedom for the next two days he had off. Eighty-four year old Ray was finally done with the last shift of his work week at his local grocery store and decided to treat himself to his guilty pleasure, mint chocolate chip ice cream. As his co-workers rushed to the clock to punch out, he pushed passed them, rushing to the frozen aisle of the grocery store he worked at. Without hesitation he picked up his mint chocolate chip ice cream and dashed to the self check out. After a long night at work, with his guilty pleasure in hand, he reached in his pocket for his wallet and realized it wasn’t there. “For crying out loud, can’t an old man just have some ice cream!” Ray shouted aloud at the self checkout.
Ray’s lifelong addiction to sugar has gotten him in trouble since he was a child, stealing sugar sticks and ice cream cones was like a side job for him. All this poor old guy wanted was to relax after stocking groceries his whole life. Ray contemplated stealing the ice cream but he had already attracted attention from the customers by expressing his frustration. After evaluating the situation at hand, he reluctantly walked out of the store, leaving his favourite icecream behind. The short drive home felt like nails being dug slow and deep into the skin. Ray’s heart sank knowing he wouldn’t be able to relax once he got home without some kind of sugar. Apart of him wanted to go back once he found his wallet, most likely sitting on the edge of the kitchen table where he always forgot it. His dry mouth started to water at the thought of the mint-chocolate chip ice cream.
Sitting at a red light, impatient, with cravings like an addict, Ray made a close call and floored it through the red light. Checking his mirrors quickly he picked up his speed, flying at least 120km/hr down the main street. For an eighty-four year old man, he couldn’t remember the last time he went that fast. By the time he got home, almost drooling at the thought of the ice cream he left behind, he knew he had to go back for it. To combat the cravings, he reached in his work bag for his water bottle. As Ray did this, he noticed the cut he got at work two weeks ago still hadn’t healed. He was at the doctor two weeks ago after it happened and got a full check-up, updated shots, the works. It should’ve healed by now… unless it’s infected. At the thought of the doctor, Ray’s old flip phone began to ring. He answered, “Yello, Ray here” Immediately he got a worried reply from his Dr. Aria, “Oh thank god you are still alive, Ray this is serious news. Have you been aware you have had type two diabetes for at least ten years. Your test results just came back and the damage done to your heart is beyond what I’ve ever seen. I’m afraid there is more serious news.” After eighty-four years of unknown health problems, Ray took this lightly. “How much time do I have Doc? Just tell me.” “twenty-four hours Ray..” Dr. Aria’s voice trailed off. “I can help you, there is still a treatment we can try. If we do a successful heart transplant you will be able to live longer but you will be insulin dependent. What do you say Ray?” As Ray thought about all the mint-chocolate chip ice cream he ate in just one week alone, he knew he was a goner. “It’s ok doc, it’s my time. I don’t want treatment, but thank you for the heads up. ” With little time left to live, Ray hung up and went inside his house to get his wallet.
Within seconds he was back in his car, speeding back to the grocery store. This time when he went to check out with his mint-chocolate chip ice cream no one knew what to expect. “Today everybody, is the day I choose to die!” Ray yelled, his head held high to the sky for the whole grocery store to here. He added LOUDER this time, “Oh and also, I’M NOT DYING IN THIS PLACE! I QUIT!” The machine spit his receipt at him and he ran as fast as he could out of the store before anyone came asking questions. Sitting in his car, heart racing and out of breath, Ray was prepared for this moment. He popped open the console and grabbed himself a plastic spoon from his stash. Watching the people go in and out of the grocery store, Ray sat in his car devouring his mint chocolate chip ice cream. Five, then ten minutes had passed and Ray was finding it harder to breath.
He assumed this was the time an insulin shot would come in handy, but he choose this. After a few more bites of ice cream there was a stabbing pain in his chest. Ray pushed through the pain, watching the sun rise above the stores, the birds flying between them and enjoying his last moments. Before long Ray couldn’t lift his spoon for another bite and took his last breath in that grocery store parking lot.
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