Before leaving the car, I check my belongings. Retainer case, phone, money for lunch, spare hair tie. Looks like I have everything.
I take a deep breath before opening my car door. I am so excited for my first day at the new job, but also a little unsure what to expect. I have never worked at an Icy Duke before. But making ice cream Snowstorms can’t be that difficult, can it?
I enter the restaurant and pause by the door. What now? I glance at the clock on the wall. 3:20. I’m ten minutes early. Breathing a sigh of relief, I walk up to the cashier, unsure if that’s what I was supposed to be doing. “Hi, my name is Katie, and-”
The cashier, who’s name tag reads Elisha, interrupts, “Are you DoorDash?”
“Um, no,” I respond. “I’m here for my first day.”
He looks confused, until his face breaks into a smile. “Oh, you work here? Don’t have a uniform yet?”
“Yeah,” I nod, relieved he finally understands. “First day.”
Elisha calls into the back, “Lily! New employee!”
A tall woman with her hair in a ponytail appears from around the corner. “Hi- are you Grace?”
I blink. “Oh, no. I’m Katie.”
The woman nods. “How old are you?”
I tell her, and she laughs. “Girl, you could have totally told me that you are ten years older than that and I would have believed you.”
Elisha nods in agreement, but then a customer walk in. He rushes to help them.
The woman says to me, “Hi, my name is Lily, and I’m your manager for today. I’ll go get your uniform, if you will wait here for a few?”
I nod, and she disappears around the corner, leaving me to take in the cash register. A girl waves at me through the window, and I wave back. She smiles and ladles hot fudge on the sundae she’s making.
Before I can say anything, Lily returns with an Icy Duke shirt and a hat. She hands them to me and tells me to change. “When you come back, I will get one of the people working in Chill to give you a tour,” she informs me.
Once I come back from the bathroom, I find Lily waiting for me. She walks over to the window I was looking at earlier and leads me to the girl I waved at earlier.
“This is Jamie,” Lily introduces us. “Jamie, this is Katie. Could you please give her a tour? She will be working in Chill with you. If-” Lily is interrupted when a shout comes from the grill. “I’ll be back,” she promises hurriedly before rushing to see what happened.
I look at Jamie, and she smiles. “Ready to get started then?” she asks. I nod enthusiastically, and the tour begins.
Jamie shows me the grill and service sections briefly. She shows me where all the ingredients are in storage. We make quick work of the freezer and deep freeze before returning the Chill section. Jamie shows me how to make a Snowstorm. She watches as I make the next one myself. Ice cream, mint flavoring, chocolate chunks, more ice cream, more flavoring, more chunks.
I take the completed Snowstorm to the mixer, a tool that will take some getting used to. There is a vertical rod hanging down with a blade on the end. When turned on, the blade spins and the rod moves up and down. You then move the Snowstorm up and down accordingly.
I grip the Snowstorm the same way Jamie showed me and turn on the machine. The blade moves up, but I move the ice cream down.
As a result, ice cream flies everywhere. All over me, poor Jamie next to me, on the equipment, down the side of the cup, and even on the neck of one of the grill workers.
Jamie and I start giggling at the flabbergasted expression on the worker’s face. He turns around, confused, until seeing us, smiling at the mess we now have to clean up.
While Jamie is getting the rags, another one of the Chill workers points up to the screen with the orders. “Does that really say they want a cotton candy, peanut butter, and cheesecake Snowstorm?” Emma asks.
I glance at the TV, and sure enough, there is one order for a medium cotton candy, peanut butter, and cheesecake Snowstorm.
Jamie returns and follows our line of sight to the screens. She says dubiously, “A cotton candy, peanut butter, and cheesecake Snowstorm. That must be a five-year-old's order, and an assault on the tastebuds.”
Emma and I nod in agreement. I start moving towards the machines to prepare the Snowstorm. As soon as I touch the machine, it sputters. I look back at Jamie, and she shrugs.
“It does that all the time,” she says for an explanation.
I continue to fill the cup, but the ice cream stops coming out. “I think another pump broke,” I inform Jamie and Emma.
We have five pumps total, three vanilla, one chocolate, and one vanilla and chocolate twist. The twist one was broken, and so was one of the vanillas. We are functioning with three pumps, which was difficult, but not impossible.
Emma shrugs. “I'll get Lily.” She walks towards the Grill in search of our manager.
I move to another pump on the same machine and try again. The vanilla comes out as pure liquid. It’s not even remotely solid.
I hand the cup to Jamie. “I am going to stop touching things, because I think I broke another pump.”
She laughs, and replies, “I don’t think you broke it. They have been finicky for weeks now; it was only a matter of time. It’s not good that they all broke at the same time, though.”
Emma returns with Lily, who inspects the machines. She fiddles with the buttons, opens the drawers that hold the bag of liquid, and turns the pumps. The result is the same; the ice cream remains liquid.
Lily asks, “Where’s Percy? He usually knows how to fix the machines. Percy!”
Percy comes around the corner, where he was helping those in service.
He takes one look at the situation and says, “Machines not working?”
We all nod.
He shrugs, and starts to mess with the buttons and drawers, like Lily did only minutes before. Finally, he straightens, and tests the machines.
“The ice cream is a level above liquid, but there is no way we can serve this. What now?” he asks Lily.
We are all quiet, stumped as how to fix the situation. Jamie finally says, “Maybe we should leave the machines alone for a few minutes and let the ice cream freeze?”
Lily shrugs. “We could try that.”
Someone in Service calls Percy’s name, and he goes to start taking orders.
I exchange a glance with Emma, and she nervously looks at the screen that tells us the orders. I follow her gaze and my eyes widen.
“Maybe we should tell the service people that we can’t serve ice cream,” Emma announces, pointing to the order screens. There are at least six orders on the screens- all orders we can’t make without the machines.
Lily calls, “Hey, service! Tell people they can’t order ice cream! None of the machines are working! I’d better call Alesia.”
Emma visibly gulps, and the other workers around us who heard her immediately start cleaning the surrounding area. All the girls double check that their hair is in a bun and not a ponytail, and the guys exchange nervous glances.
So, I guess Alesia is that manager. Okay, then.
Percy yells from where he’s taking drive through orders, “What do I say?”
“It doesn’t matter! Just say something!” Jamie shouts back.
Another order comes up for a Snowstorm, and Emma and I groan simultaneously.
Percy smiles mischievously, and says into the headset, “Hello, welcome to Duke, since we are no longer serving Icy treats. Might I interest you in our one-night-only offer, ice cream soup?”
Everyone who heard laughs, at least until we see a blue Jeep pull out of the line and leave the parking lot.
We all spin to stare at Percy, who shrugs. “Oops.”
Jamie rolls her eyes, but I can tell she’s amused, like the rest of us.
A completely oblivious Lily rushes back to the Chill section and informs us that we need to start putting the liquid ice cream into cups. We then need to run the completed cups into the deep freeze, where they will hopefully get solid enough for us to make Snowstorms. Cones were completely off the menu, most likely for the night.
I begin to mentally complain. This was going to epically suck, since I don’t have no-slip shoes. And as the newbie, I would bet money that I would be the one running back and forth between machines and freezer.
Jamie grabs a stack of cups and starts to put ice cream in them. She hands the cups to Emma and me, and we run the six cups to the freezer. I slip and slide the whole way, and when we finally step into the freezer, I breathe a sigh of relief, despite the –10-degree temperature. I laugh when I see my breath clouding the air. Emma and I set the cups on an empty shelf, and leave the freezer.
I laugh again when I see the warm air has fogged up my glasses, and I start the dangerous journey back to the Chill section.
On the way, I turn a corner a bit too fast, and grab the corner of the building. Good thing I did, since my legs are at a 30 degree angle to the floor. The only thing holding me up is the corner. I look up, and the entire kitchen is staring at me and my near-death.
I blush and say to Emma, “Yep, that just happened.” She giggles, and we continue our walk back to Chill.
When we return, there are so many cups waiting for us. Emma purses her lips and comments, “I’m getting the cart.” She turns around to get the cart.
With nothing left to do, I grab an armful of cups and make my way to the freezer. I pass Emma on the way, and she has a huge cart in tow.
By some miracle, I don’t slip on the way to the freezer, and I open it without spilling ice cream soup everywhere.
I set the cups I’d grabbed on the same shelf as before and try to open the freezer door.
But it doesn’t budge.
I yank harder, but it stubbornly stays in place. I’m stuck in the freezer!
I start to panic. The majority of my brain starts to play on an endless loop, You’re going to die! You’re going to die! You’re going to die!
The microscopic part of my head that isn’t panicking about my possible death tries to reassure me, Worst case scenario, you can survive on cake and ice cream. But a slightly more logical part of me replies, You will be dead from the cold before you need sustenance. Now snap out of it and get out of this freezer!
I take a deep breath, which I swear leaves ice on the insides of my lungs because it’s so cold. The panic subsides. Looking around, I don’t see another way out (not that I'm expecting one, but it doesn’t hurt to look). I steel myself and back up to the back of the freezer. I take a running start and ram my shoulder into the door, football style.
All I get for my efforts is a sore shoulder. “Ouch,” I pout, rubbing the sore spot.
I’m about to start round two of ramming the door when it opens.
Emma enters, pushing the cart in front of her. “There you are! What happened?”
“I, uh, got trapped in the freezer,” I reply sheepishly.
She laughs, and I help her move the cups from cart to shelf. Afterwards, she shows me the emergency knob that will let me out. I thank her for saving me from an untimely demise, and we return to Chill.
There are so many people in the tiny space. It seems that while I was trapped in a wannabe Antartica, Alesia has arrived. They are taking the machines apart, pulling at wires and tubes. The metal piece that holds the pump on is now sitting on the already crowded floor, revealing a hole about the size of my hand with splayed fingers. The hole is clogged with ice cream.
“How’s the surgery going?” I ask Jamie, who’s trying to clear some of the ice cream out with a clean towel.
She shrugs, apparently unsure.
Emma and I aren’t sure what to do, so we stand there. I look at the order board to see more orders have popped up.
Emma tracks my line of sight and sighs. She yells at the service, “HEY! We can’t serve ice cream right now! Tell them they can get Drumsticks or slushies!”
The girl at the register nods, and orders for ice cream trickle to a stop, while the orders for slushies and Drumsticks rapidly increase.
Emma and I work to make the new orders, maneuvering around those working on the machines.
And just because the universe clearly loves us today, the slushy machine sputters, and stops working as well.
Alesia starts cursing the slushy machine into oblivion, while the rest of us watch, a healthy mix of terrified and amused. A few customers glance up from their food, probably wondering why our manager is cussing like a sailor.
Percy yells to service, “Slushies are no longer an option either! Just Drumsticks!”
The girl at the register nods again, letting us know she heard. “Welcome to Icy Duke; would you like to try a Drumstick?” she asks the microphone.
“Maybe we should check the ice cream in the freezer.” I tell the room in general.
Percy leaps up from his spot on the floor and announces, “I’ll get the cart.” Before anyone can say anything, he’s gone.
Emma and I exchange amused looks. Orders for Drumsticks skyrocket, and we work to grab all the necessary ice creams.
Suddenly, an awful squeaking noise fills the restaurant. Emma cringes and covers her ears.
And Percy appears from around the corner, pushing the cart of ice cream cups in front of him. Everyone working pauses what they’re doing to watch, and Percy, realizing he’s the center of attention, begins to strut down the hall like a model, the cart in front.
He looks so ridiculous, and everyone starts laughing at his antics. When he reaches the Chill section, he juts out a hip, and positions his hand on the same hip. He flips his hair and makes an exaggerated model-face. All the workers are roaring with laughter. Curious customers crane their necks to see why the kitchen is in hysterics, and when they see Percy, they chuckle and return to their food.
Emma suddenly stops laughing, and groans.
“What’s wrong now?” Lily asks.
“The ceiling’s leaking again,” Emma replies tiredly.
As one, everyone in Chill looks at the ceiling, and sure enough, it’s dripping.
Alesia puts her head in her hands and grumbles something I can’t make out.
Before we can deal with this new development, Jamie shouts, “Hey! The machine’s working!
We all look at the machine, where Jamie is making an ice cream cone. We cheer, and the mood lightens.
That is, until the other machine, which is still uncovered, starts splatting out ice cream.
“The machine’s shooting us with ice cream!” Percy yells comically.
Those in Chill hurriedly leave the section, trying to avoid ice cream missiles. The kitchen laughs, but easy for them, since they aren’t the ones getting splattered with ice cream.
Alesia shouts, “Put the metal back on!”
Jamie grabs the piece, since it’s closest to her, and she shoves it back on the machine, stopping the ice cream storm.
We all cheer again, but when Emma tries to pump ice cream into a cup, only liquid comes out. Everyone groans again.
I glance at the clock, and gasp. “Oh, shoot, my shift just ended! I have to go!” I announce hurriedly, and Emma gasps too, realizing her shift is also over.
I quickly retrieve my things and leave the restaurant, laughing with Emma on the way out.
“So, yeah, that was my first day,” I finish telling the story to my brother over the phone. It’s on speaker, and I can hear him dying with laughter.
He says in between gasps of laughter, “It's like everything that could have gone wrong went wrong!”
His girlfriend, who is listening to my story as well, says quietly, “That cotton candy, peanut butter, and cheesecake Snowstorm is an abomination.”
I laugh. “Oh, definitely.”
My brother stops laughing suddenly. “Katie, this would be great material for a story. Think you might write it?”
I pause and consider that. I smile slowly. “I think I just might.”
Hey all! So, recently, I got a new job. I had my first day a few days ago, and everything that happened in this story did happen during my first day. I have fudged a few details, like the name of the restaurant and the names of those who work at the restaurant. Like my brother said, the story opportunity here was too great to pass up, so I hope you enjoyed the hilarious story of my first day!