I remember well the second freezer at my maternal grandparents house that occupied the basement, not to be confused with the second refrigerator which had it’s own mysteries.
I’ll never forget one instance that took place in my visit before college. My grandmother had the kind intention of searching the deep abyss of that freezer to locate the kind of orange-cream-pops that I had loved so much as a child of perhaps 5 or 6 years of age. She eventually found a box of them, presumably nearer the bottom of that freezer than the top. She gleefully laid the frosted box on the table and reminded me of how fond I had been of those as a child back when I had lived with them in their home. I agreed with her, remembering that time of my life reminiscently.
In the spirit of those beautiful bygone days, I opened one of those gleeful, orange color #8, cream infused frozen matter pops on a stick and bit into it. The plethora of complex earthy flavors that ensued put my mind into an immediate state of chaos. It wasn’t that the flavor was bad, not just yet anyway, it was more that my mind didn’t really know how to provide feedback for what had just happened and it was rushing feverishly to decipher the flavors that had just made their grand entry through my mouth. And then, quite suddenly, as if my mind had just made a final conclusion and leapt into red alert, those flavors became clear, distinct, and horrifying. First there was the unmistakable taste of freezer. Not just the ordinary, slightly unpleasant sort of freezer burn flavor you might get when a zip-lock bag has a tear on it or something like that. No. This taste was the kind of taste that you’d get if a team of East German scientists had spent their entire lives perfecting a way to cause an infinite loop of freezer burn, then taken that abomination of a flavor and basted it in more freezer burn, stuffed it with freezer burn, layered it in freezer burn, beaten it with freezer burn, then topped it off with a cherry (constructed entirely from freezer burn as well). And then there came the taste of decay, the flavor of corn syrup mixed with mortality and a palleted procession of all creatures that had ever roamed the earth, fluttered amidst the air, or swum in the depths of the sea only to find themselves in a frozen confine waiting to serve a final purpose that would never be realized.
I put down the popsicle, flipped over the box and the expiration date of “1987” quickly confirmed what my brain was so desperately trying to relay to me – these weren’t just *like* those popsicles I had enjoyed as a child, they were indeed one and the same orange cream pops! Looking back on it, it’s entirely possible that those zombie creamsicles may have even predated my own existence.
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