A/N: Teensy spoiler for the movie "Wall-E"
Summary: Too bad all the kids that came in the store weren't like that.
Casey pedaled like a madman and managed to turn his bike around the corner at the light before it went red. A car honked at him, and he flipped them off without even looking and hoped to hell it wasn't someone that knew his parents. Colorado Springs wasn't exactly a small town, but you never knew when one of your teachers or your mom's yoga buddies was going to be lurking at an intersection, just waiting to get you in trouble. It was all Emily's fault anyway. Why did sisters have to be so stupid? She knew he had work this morning and had taken their car out the night before and run it down to no gas at all and he couldn't even get it started. Mom and Dad had already gone to work, so there was nothing to do but get on his bike and go, but he sure was going to give Emily a piece of his mind at dinner. How could she do that when she knew he had to open the store? Killing her was too easy a punishment. He'd have to think of some way to get her back and good.
He rounded the last turn into the strip mall parking lot and peered down the sidewalk, praying that Mr. Stone wasn't waiting there, pulling another one of his surprise inspections. He wasn't there, but almost worse, it looked like there were customers waiting. Casey shifted gears and sped down the row, drifting into a stop right in front of said customers. Great. They were regulars, a tall guy, a not-so-tall guy, and their little boy. They were in every couple of weeks after the first morning show at the cineplex at the end of the mall.
"Hey, guys, I'll be right with you," Casey explained while he locked his bike to the nearest pole. "Sorry I'm late, but my stupid sister ran our gas down to nothing." He fished in his pockets, pulling out his keys as he walked towards the door."
Little Boy spoke up. "I can do that on my bike too."
"Can you? That's cool." Casey jiggled the key in the lock and managed to get the store door open.
"Yeah, Papa says I will destroy my tires that way but Daddy showded me how to do it off the curb and I like it to go fast!" Little Boy started to follow him in, but Not-So-Tall-Guy snagged his shirt and pulled him back.
"Not so fast, kiddo. Let the man do his job."
"It's okay if you want to come on in." Casey headed for the back room. "I just need to do a couple of things before I can get your ice cream. Pick out what you want and I'll give you an extra mixer because you had to wait." He heard Little Boy cheer and began to hurry through his opening checklist. He skipped the paperwork, ignored the stereo that played the crappy music that Mr. Stone wanted on in the store, grabbed the change bag out of the desk, and flipped the lights on with one wave of a hand on his way back out front.
"...and I want choclit and tin woof and minchip and bananas." Little Boy was working his way down the cases, pointing out his choices.
Tall Guy was walking along behind him. "It's good to want, buddy. Builds character. Do you want me to pick?"
Casey squeezed behind the counter where Not-So-Tall-Guy was making some sort of research project out of picking his mixers. It wasn't like he hadn't been here before. How could it be that difficult? He unlocked the register, dumped the change in, and booted up the credit card machine. "All right, gentlemen, what'll it be?"
Tall Guy lifted Little Boy up so he could see over the counter. At the same time, Not-So-Tall-Guy stood up.
"I wants choclit with-" "I believe I'll have fudge ribbon with-"
"My turn, Papa!"
"Sorry, kid. Go ahead."
"I wants choclit with M&M's and Oreos." Little Boy recited. Tall Guy whispered something in his ear. "Please."
"You got it," Casey went to work. If he got the kid's dish finished quick, then maybe he wouldn't melt down from having to wait so long. Although, come to think of it, he'd never seen this particular kid have a melt down. He got into his rhythm - chop chop chop the ice cream out, slap it on the counter - scoop scoop scoop the mixers - but he wasn't quite feeling it. The music might be crappy when it's on, but at least it gave him a beat. He started whistling instead.
He heard Little Boy try to whistle and not pull it off. One of his dads whistled a scale, then a little bit of a tune that sounded familiar, but Casey couldn't place it.
"Wall-E! Papa, I wants Wall-E in my room."
"We'll get the dvd as soon as it comes out, kiddo, don't we always?" Not-So-Tall-Guy explained.
Little Boy was insistent. "No, I wants Wall-E. For realses."
"Buddy, Wall-E is a pretend robot. He's just in the movie." Tall Guy tried to explain.
"Noooo! I wants him. Papa, makes me a Wall-E, pleeeease."
Casey came around to the low part of the counter and pushed the little guy's order towards him. Maybe that would help. "Here you go. Now, what else can I get for you?"
Once again, there was confusion.
"I believe I'll have fudge ribbon with-" "Vanilla with - "
"Hey! I think it's my turn now, Sheppard."
"Be my guest."
"Thank you." Not-So-Tall-Guy didn't sound like he meant it. "I'll have fudge ribbon with pecans and chocolate chips, please."
"Coming right up," Casey went to get another bowl.
"Papaaaa. Please!" Little Boy begged.
Tall Guy intervened. "Caden, you know about pretend. Wall-E is pretend and Papa can't make him for you. We'll look for a shirt or a hat or something at Target on Saturday, okay?"
Not-So-Tall-Guy objected. "Hey. What makes you think I can't make a Wall-E?"
"Rodney, don't go promising things in front of the kid-"
"I wasn't promising, I just wanted to know why you thought-"
"YAY! Papa's going to make me a Wall-E! Wall-E, Wall-E, Wall-EEEEEE!"
Casey handed the second bowl over. This sounded like an argument in the making. Maybe he could get them out before it got to the screaming. "What else?"
"I'll have vanilla with peppermint patties and hot fudge, thanks." Tall Guy replied.
Behind him, the conversation continued, as Not-So-Tall-Guy herded Little Boy over to a table. "No, wait, Caden, I didn't say I was going to make you a Wall-E, I was just asking Daddy why he said-"
"I wants him, Papa, I needs a robot and I wants Wall-E in my roooooom."
Tall Guy looked over his shoulder. "Rodney."
"What, you think I can get those parts from Radio Shack or something?"
"No, but the subtlety, or lack thereof, in your question is being overlooked by the diminutive one. Expectations are being set pretty high."
"Oh, come on, I just asked-"
"I'm just sayin'."
"Papa, what's 'minutive?" Little Boy asked between bites.
"We'll look it up at home, okay? I want to eat my ice cream before it melts all over." Not-So-Tall-Guy got to work on his treat.
Casey finished the third bowl and walked towards the cash register, where Tall Guy met him, wallet at the ready. As he passed the bowl out, Casey leaned over and whispered, "Hey, I saw that movie the other night. Can he really make a Wall-E?"
Tall Guy looked over at the table, then leaned in to whisper back, "Yeah, but the problem is, he's a perfectionist. He's going to want to build it to scale, and from original materials. It'll be a nightmare."
"Oh. Too bad. That sounded kinda cool," Casey was a little disappointed. "That'll be 12.75." He took Tall Guy's twenty dollar bill, gave him his change, and popped the cash register drawer shut. As Tall Guy walked away, Casey noticed that there was now some money in their Tips cup. "Hey, thanks."
Tall Guy only nodded back, since he'd just had a spoonful of his concoction.
"Daddy, I want some of yours."
"No. You always think you like it and you don't and then you spit it out."
"Nope. Come on, buckaroo, it's a nice day, let's go outside and eat."
"Okay!" Little Boy climbed down out of his chair, picked his bowl up with two hands, and trotted to the door, with Tall Guy not far behind, and Not-So-Tall-Guy hurrying to catch up.
"Hey, Caden, if I do make you a Wall-E, you'll have to keep your room clean or he'll scoop up all your Peyton stuff and squish it into a cube!"
The conversation faded as the door shut behind them, and Casey watched them until they got past the store window. Too bad all the kids that came in the store weren't like that. And the parents too. A dad that could make a Wall-E. But wait. The other dad had said something about 'original parts'. How can there be original parts if Wall-E is a cartoon?
Casey scooted out from behind the counter and ran to look outside. His three customers were already down the block at the courtyard fountain. Oh well. He'd have to remember to ask them next time they came in. Right now, he'd better get the paperwork done before Mr. Stone really did show up.