Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Frosty Stand, Great Basin Highway, Ely, Nevada

The girl came out of nowhere and set up the small frosty ice cream stand at the corner of Murray and Main Streets in Ely (EE-lee) Nevada, population 4,500 souls. It was in 2008, just as the US toppled into recession but before the collapse of the world economy. Amazingly, the frosty stand and town flourished. Frosty ice cream was an instant hit and people came to Ely from as far away as Wells, Nevada to the north and Las Vegas in the south to taste the famous flavors.
            The first whiff of something wrong was when the elderly began to die. The coroner shrugged, “Joe had a heart condition.”
 Or, “Aunt Maude was 98 years old.”
Such is life.
But then the infirm began to die, the old and not so old, the ones with afflictions and disabilities died. And as if black cloud hovered over Ely, the town began to wither. Stores closed and many folks up and left, saying they were afraid, but fearful of what no one could articulate.
Brody Brown, a White Pine County Sheriff’s deputy who was responsible for Ely, took an interest in the town’s sudden misfortunes. Brody was a former linebacker for the University of Nevada football team and he had a try at pro ball, but failing in the NFL, he had resigned himself to a career with the White Pine Sheriff’s Department. Brody also felt a responsibility to keep an eye on the new girl who ran the frosty stand. He readily admitted to himself that he found her attractive, alluring, and figured she was someone he could settle down with. Where she came from was a mystery, which Brody felt he had to resolve.
The skyrocketing Ely death rate caught the attention of the Nevada Criminal Division, which came to town with health officials and launched an investigation, even interviewing the girl who ran the ice cream stand. But nothing came of it, especially after they talked to the girl and tasted her frosty.
Yet people still continued to die. The very old were gone, the disabled had perished, and now anyone with a whiff of past or current l troubles with the law began to die. Someone was purifying Ely, as if a cleaning agent had come to town.
On his own, Brody had researched the deaths and determined without a doubt that all those who had died had at one thing in common, they had visited Frosty Stand. So one evening, Brody stationed himself outside  and waited for the girl. When she closed the stand and came out, she looked at Brody, giving him the trace of a smile.
And that is the last thing Brody recalled.
Now Body sat across from the head psychiatrist at the Nevada Health Institute, which is located outside of Reno.
“And that is all you remember.” The doctor asked.
Brody nodded. “But the girl did something to me. I know it.”
The doctor smiled. “You’ve been here almost two years and you have been semi-comatose, never speaking or responding, as if you were deaf and dumb. We had given up on you.”
Brody looked at the doctor, but he did not speak.
“And then suddenly you came out of it yesterday. You were talking and very agitated, insisting you had to see me.” The doctor said.
Brody nodded.
“So what happened? What broke your spell so suddenly?”
“I saw the girl.” Brody answered.
“You saw the girl? You mean the girl from the frosty stand?”
Brody nodded.
“Where did you see the girl?” The doctor asked.
“Here.” Brody responded. “The girl's working in your cafeteria.”

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