Review of “Fresh Air and Ice Cream” by Rick McQuiston


Bobby has spent so much time in front of the television playing video games, his face has grown gaunt. He finally talked his mom into buying him the game Extinguish the Light.

A brilliant flash of light nearly blinds him. It’s only his mom, pulling back the curtain. She tells him she wants him to get some fresh air.

“It’s a beautiful day,” she says. “Look. There’s other kids, and an ice cream truck.” [sic]

Bobby drops the controller. His mom further entices him off the couch with a five-dollar bill for a trip to the ice cream truck. Once his knees acquiesce, he gets up and flies out the front door, but stops at the porch. He sees the kids in line at the ice cream truck, but something strikes him as off. He can’t put his finger on it.


Yeah, lazy, greedy Bobby is screwed. The reader knows from the first paragraph, his fate is sealed. These straight horror stories are modern-day morality tales, comforting us with assurances that we won’t suffer the same bad end ‘cause we’re not like that jerk who got eaten or fried or fell into a black hole or fill-in-the-blank. We’re not like lazy, greedy Bobby, gaunt of face, whose knees threaten to buckle when we try to get off the couch. We don’t abandon our favorite pastime in for of a bit of money. (…or maybe there’s a bit of Bobby in all of us?)

But that’s not all there is to this story. If the reader is paying attention, there is a lesson for others, as well.

I’d like to read just once where even the most deserving rotten human scoundrel gave one of these monsters indigestion or made it so loaded/flatulent he had to skip the next monster convention.


According to his blurb, author Rick McQuiston is a father of two, and loves anything horror-related. He’s had over 400 publications, including five novels, ten anthologies, one book of novellas, and edited an anthology of Michigan authors.

The story can be read here.

Title: Fresh Air and Ice Cream
Author: Rick McQuiston
First published: Theme of Absence, February 28, 2020

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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