A to Z 2017–Z is for Zamboni

[Edit: September 21, 2017. This story didn’t make the cut for my collection, Flashes of Splashes, so I’m leaving it here in its original form.]


In just barely under the wire. This was a fun month and I even like most of the stories I got. Woot! I hope you enjoy this final installment in the 2017 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

Z is for Zamboni

Clean smooth ice is a thing of beauty. Nothing finer in all the world.

And there was no finer machine to properly groom a sheet of ice than a Zamboni Ice Resurfacer.

That’s what Frank knew. His daddy not only passed down the family trade of Professional Zamboni Ice Technician, he also named his only son after the man who invented the machine that bore his name—Frank J. Zamboni.

The world never knew a prouder Professional Zamboni Ice Technician than Frank Zamboni Ignazio.

Frank arrived well in advance of the day’s activities at the Smith Valley Ice Rink. There was no finer time to resurface ice than at the crack of dawn. No finer place than Smith Valley.

Well, maybe the Johnsonville Ice Arena. Calvin Bigalow did not deserve such a prestigious ice grooming position. The man didn’t understand the true beauty and importance of the job.

Frank shook off the thought. He didn’t need to get himself upset over things he couldn’t control. Today marked his 3rd year as the sole Ice Technician for Smith Valley, and he planned to celebrate with an extra lap around the rink and maybe a Slurpee later in the afternoon.

A few minutes before 5:30 AM, Frank let himself in through the back entrance of the rink. After switching on the overhead lighting he opened the storage room that held his beloved Zamboni.

After filling the ice making tank with clean water, he started the machine and headed toward the main ice.

Normally, he would have started an immediate counter-clockwise circuit of ice resurfacing. This morning, however, he found his way blocked. A small man in a red suit with a black vest and red bowler hat was standing on the ice in black and white wing-tipped shoes.

“Excuse me,” Frank said. “Sir? You can’t be in here. The rink doesn’t open until Nine. And you can’t be on the ice with street shoes. Only proper ice skates are allowed.”

“Son of fire,” the man in red intoned. “You have violated your calling.”

Frank huffed. The man wasn’t moving off his ice. “Sir? I really need you to step aside.”

The man didn’t move. “Frank Ignazio,” he said, “crystalline water maker. Your true identity lies elsewhere.”

Frank started to get irritated. Checking that his Zamboni was properly braked, he climbed down to confront the man directly. “Mr. Uh… do you have a name?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “You have to go. I have a job to do and you are in my way.”

“Frank Zamboni Ignazio.”

It finally dawned on Frank that this guy knew his name. “Do I know you?” he asked.

“You are the chosen. The son of fire.” The man’s voice seemed to resonate over the ice. “Come with me and meet your destiny.”

“My destiny? I’m living that already,” Frank said, his voice emphatic. “Since I was six-years-old I never wanted nothing but to drive this here rig and make the ice as smooth as glass. Now, step aside before I decide to call law enforcement.”

Frank swung his arm towards the man in a dismissive fashion. He was shocked and dismayed when the man in the red suit seemed to flare into flame before melting into the ice, leaving a deep, uneven hole in the rink’s otherwise uniform surface.

“Well, damn,” he said, staring at the hole. “Now I’m gonna have to patch that.” He shook his head. “You’d think those demons would learn to leave me alone by now. I can’t think of one single thing that would make me want to go somewhere as hot as they want to take me.”

Frank Zamboni Ignazio, the Son of Fire, climbed onto his Zamboni and set to grooming his ice.


Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

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Friday Fiction – Rainy Night

This is more of a scene than a flash fiction. Raw writing inspired by the storms that blew through during the night.

raining-690930_1280Thunder rattled the windows as the rain hammered a tattoo against the roof. The dog whimpered and pressed against my leg for reassurance.

“Grandma used to call a storm like this a gully washer.” I scratched idly at his ears as I talked. My voice along with the physical contact seemed to calm him. A little. Maybe. “I remember when I was a kid and we sat out on the porch watching the rain. It was kind of amazing.”

I smiled down at Old Gus and patted at his side. “You probably wouldn’t have liked it, but I thought it was pretty cool. We sat in those rocking chairs and just watched the storm. It was almost like it was something alive.”

Gus settled at my feet and started snoring lightly. It was hard to say whether it was my narrative or the fact that the storm was letting up that finally helped him settle.

I woke with a start, disoriented; sure that the storm was picking back up. But no, Gus wasn’t back to whining, and there was no tell-tale patter of rain on the roof.

I wondered what had woken me, and realized it must be the crick I got in my neck from falling asleep sitting up on the sofa. I stood and stretched, careful not to disturb the still-sleeping hound at my feet.

I headed toward the kitchen to warm up a cup of coffee when I heard it. A scraping, tapping sound coming from the front window. A bird maybe? Something had gotten trapped out in the deluge.

I flicked the switch and opened the front door. Warm, humid air assaulted me, heavy with the loamy smell of wet earth. I looked left and right, hunting for what might have been the source of that odd sound. There was nothing obvious.

After a moment of hesitation, I stepped out to do a more thorough search. Something might be hurt out here. I’d feel bad if I found a dead animal in the morning that I might have been able to save tonight.

I walked the length of the long veranda, briefly pausing to push on the very chair I’d sat in with grandma all those years ago. The memory made me smile.

It was clear there was nothing on the porch, so I stepped down the wide stairs to look behind the bushes. A flashlight would have helped, but I didn’t want to go dig one out of the kitchen junk drawer.

Just as I was prepared to write the whole thing off to my imagination, I heard it. Something was definitely there, behind the rhododendrons.

I pushed the bush to one side to try and get a better look. Whatever it was must have been hurt. It didn’t dart out when I disturbed it’s hiding place.

“Great,” I said to myself. “It’s probably going to eat me.” I leaned in anyway, certain now that I could see what appeared to be a small furry animal, cowering.

“That may not be wise.” I jumped, yelping, and managed to get thwapped by the wet bushes as they sprang back into position. “I fear my … ah … pet may not appreciate your ministrations. He is not fond of this planet’s weather.”

I felt myself go weak in the knees as I struggled to comprehend the small body, large eyes, and green flesh of the being that stood before me.

He flashed what I assumed was a smile. “I fear the rain has disrupted our travel plans.”

Copyright Notice: Please note that this is mostly unedited, raw writing. I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story. Please do not copy, quote, or post anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.