The girls looked up at the kind squirrel.
"Special." Ylan announced, while at the same time Star replied, "Just vanilla please." They both looked at each other and had a short laugh.
"The special for me, and a vanilla with sprinkles for Star." Ylan quickly ordered, before Star could say anything. Star shook her head, and grabbed out her wallet. Ylan caught her.
"Hey, no. I'm paying." She demanded, rushing to pull out her own sparkly pink wallet.
"No, I lost fair and square. I'm paying." Star protested, while placing the money on the counter. Ylan glared at her, putting away her wallet.
"Keep the change for yourself!"Star told Tinarandel, grinning.
The girls looked up at the kind squirrel.
"… The forcast is sunny today but dont let that fool you. Storm season is here and we are tracking a front moving in from the East. We will continue to monitor this storm to see if it develops into a hurri-"
"...This is a travesty of justice and we will appeal the courts decision. Mr. Sharptooth was only singled out as a suspect because he was a wolf..."
"... senetor Crest is in the hot seat today after his latest attack add against sitting governer Rook. The add contains what many are calling inflamitory speach against the islands human population. Crest has been a loud crittic of what Rubens stance on human imigration to New Yak City from the war torn country of-"
"Another disturbing video is flooding social media. Posted by anti-beast extremests..."
"We built this city on rock and roOoOoOoll~"
The skinny pine marten finished flipping channels on the wall mounted TV in the ice cream parlor. By his uniform he was a fellow employee. "Well aint the news just one big ray of sun shine today, eh? At least they are done playing that horrible peice about the Yak City Canabal..."
When the door opens the marten hardly takes notice, letting the squirrel do all the work.
The door opens a second time, admitting a new face. The coyote is a well fed, rotund creature who seems to just glide into the room, oblivious to all around him with his snout focused on his own cell phone, even as he falls into the back of the line.
He wears a jacket and dress shirt tailored from cloth that looks expensive.
The jovial fellow shuffles slightly to what ever music his wireless ear buds are pounding away at him.
As his pine marten friend flipped through the channels of the TV mounted on the wall above her tables, Tinarandel voiced his own commentary on the reports that each one presented. One ear was flexibly turned to listening to the girls giving their orders, the other straight to the audio. He quickly snapped open the cash register took the girls' pay, pulled his ears back together, then opened up the ice cream counter to prepare the special sundae.
"Storm across the eastern front, huh? Pray it doesn't devolve into a hurricane. Whatever higher powers we believe in, if any at all, we must hope they will make it only a small passing rainstorm or something like that."
He scooped two helpings of vanilla ice cream into a plastic bowl, then peeled a banana, sliced a cherry into pieces, and spread thick hot chocolate fudge over the bunch, all in the space of one minute. Sticking the creamery's trademark rainbow-colored spoon into the bowl, he put it down beside the cash register and pounded the silver bell to indicate the prepared meal.
"Ylan, order up! …Sharptooth, as in Devran Sharptooth? He's my apartment neighbor, lives right next door to my family and me! Good to know that he'll be all right after the appeal of an unfair court decision. Devran is a great wolf, a skilled honorable sword fencer and an overall highly moral beast! He'd never do any harm to anybeast!"
Tinarandel swiftly set to gathering three more scoops of vanilla together in a new bowl, then added a pinch of colorful sprinkles to them for decoration. He placed that order beside the first and rang the bell a second time.
"Thanks for letting me keep the change, young ladies," Tinarandel winked gratefully at them. But he then sighed and shook his head disgracefully at the contents of the third channel.
"Crest, Rook, and Ruben again? Will their controversy ever end? That's, what, the fourth time this month they've been in trouble? Did the humans have any choice but to move here to New Yak from their war-torn homeland? See, this is why I hate politics so much!
By the way, would you two like anything to drink?' He posed to the two human girls, leaning tiredly again on the counter. "Water, fruit juice, soda, iced tea?"
As the report on yet another anti-beast extremist video came on, Tinarandel couldn't help but feel crestfallen, sadness twinging at his heart, but daring not to let it show on his face.
"Why can't they just stop? Next thing you know, there's riots in the streets. Beast and human alike will be hurt. Innocent blood shed - the government needs to take action to stop this now! I haven't even been on my Facebook or Tumblr in almost nine months!"
The squirrel walked out from behind the counter through the half-door and sat on one of the spinning bar stools to get a better view of the TV. A salvation sounded through the parlor as a classic rock song boomed through the speakers. Tinarandel's despondent expression was effortlessly replaced by a brightly shining cheerfulness.
"Now that's better! Give me music any day! What a relief!"
Spinning to his right, he saw the coyote approaching the counter as Star and Ylan took their food and cleared the line. Tinarandel slid off his stool and hurried back to his place, prepared to serve. He bit his lip disapprovingly at the canine barely paying attention except to the music in his earbuds. Instinctively, Tinarandel shot a paw forward and pulled the left earbud out of the coyote's ear, leaving it to dangling lazily on the collar of his dress shirt.
"Food first, entertainment later, buddy. Or I can turn on the jukebox, if you just ask. Whatever you were listening to, we might have it. The box gets updated with the times and trends, you know, but it tries to remain as comprehensive as possible. How can I serve you today? The sundae special or something basic?"
Star thanked Tinarandel, while Ylan just grabbed the dessert- while slightly drooling- and grabbed her friend's hand. She whisked them both to the booth right next to the jukebox. Then she heard the depressing news.
"Oh. It's all so horrible. Couldn't they for once focus on the good stuff? The riot though…" Ylan trailed off. Her eyes which were filled with joy just a few seconds ago, were dull and lifeless. Star frantically searched the area, looking for a distraction. She quickly smiled and faced her best friend.
"Hey! Focus on the good stuff, remember? I know what'll cheer you right up!" She got up and went straight to the jukebox. Smiling, she pressed the song titled, "Happy".
The rotund coyote pulled out the head phones, scratching at his ear with a claw while replying, "One small scoop of vanila please. With more almonds and less talk of politics if you please," he turned towards the other customers, arching an eyebrow at the furless weasel… Er, human, longer than he intended too.
He gives the other girl a thumbs up at her musical choice.
The jukebox clicks and wirls in imitation of a real one and begins to play the music.
"Come along if you're sad~"
A happy, lively beat fills the ice cream shop, even as the station on the TV changes. An emergancy news alert scrolls by on the screen, its volume muted by the music of the jukebox, even as the headline, "Senetor Crest shot while giving speech. Human gunman is at large."
"Cause I'm happpyyyyyyyyy~" the jukebox continues.
A Tasmanian Devil from Aukstralia dressed in what looked like a Crocodile Dundee outfit, but it was his usual clothes had been sitting trying to decide what to get. He saw what the special sundae looked like and said "I'll have the special too. It's the bees knees, it is!" Just then, the announcement of the Senator being shot came over the telly. He hit the table. "That bloke had better not come anywhere near here if he knows what is good for him." he said.
Tinarandel moved at an impressive speed for his species, practically half-sliding half-walking to fill the new orders. A small scoop of vanilla and a cup of almonds for good measure, asked for by the coyote. He stuffed the rainbow-colored spoon into the cream and placed it up on the counter. The sound of the silver bell had barely finished resonating before Tinarandel was starting on the special requested by the Tasmanian Devil.
"The special is fantastic, sir, I agree." Tinarandel gave the Devil both his treat and a sunny smile, and rang the bell a second time. "Anything I can get you to drink? Water, soda, juice, iced tea?"
His listing of the available beverages was cut abruptly short by the notice popping up on the screen concerning the attack on Senator Crest, seen in his peripheral vision, though the spoken report proper was easily drowned out by that blasted Pharrell Williams blaring over the jukebox. The squirrel dashed over to the colorful and makeshift music player and turned down the volume. He hated the darned song anyway.
"Sorry, girls, but we've gotta hear this," he sincerely apologized to the human young ladies sitting down to eat. "Gosh, does anybeast know if he's going to be okay? If the gunman is still at large, on the run, won't the violence only escalate?"
He shook his head, pulling himself out of his depressing train of thought before it went too far. "No, no, I can't think about that now." In the blink of an eye, he was behind the counter again after slightly turning the music back up. He waited patiently and with a tiny growing grudge for Pharrell to finish, before returning to it and cycling through the main music selection, eventually settling on one of his classic favorites, Glen Campbell's "Southern Nights".
"Southern Nights! Have you ever felt a southern night? Free as the breeze, Not to mention the trees, Whistling tunes that you know and love so?~!…"
The squirrel sang softly to it, not wanting anyone to hear him, but in time he came to raise his voice, singing in a moderate time and hitting every note with accuracy while taking care to manage his breath. After all, he'd studied it in college, and he never forgot what he learned. Though the song was an octave higher than he liked, he did his best to keep up in his best imitation of Campbell. He wanted to entertain his guests, as well as keep his spirits up, to lighten the mood and keep the atmosphere positive. And he was darn sure that the human girls could hear him. He'd do whatever it took to keep everyone happy.
"Southern Nights! Feels so good even when closed your eyes! I apologize to anyone who can truly say, That he has found a better way~..."
Barzon, the Tasmanian Devil, got up and picked up his special. "Water is fine," he said. He got a couple of spoons and sat down with the sundae and his water. As Tinarandel started playing "Southern Nights," Barzon started tapping his foot and using the spoons as drumsticks on the table. He dug into the sundae. "You did great on this," he said. "And before you ask, I spend most of my time when I'm not doing my thing as a biker as a drummer on a rock band." He watched as more came on about the shooting. He ground his teeth. "Where I hail from, I am a descendant of Tazmar-Lords who defend the innocent against vermin like this shooter."
When the song finished, he selected another, "Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. He followed the drum sequence like a pro when he wasn't eating the sundae. Being a drummer was a release for him.
The yote raises an eyebrow to the vermin remark but says nothing. Instead he turns to the tv and says, "Well, it's about time." His eyes widen, realizing he said this out loud.
"I mean, I'm only surprised this didnt happen sooner. Crest doesn't exactly censor what he says and humans ain't known for…" His eyes glances towards the human girls. In the next instant he shoves his ice cream into his muzzle to keep himself from digging himself further into this hole and begins moving for the door.
The news continues to cover the story about the senator. Most of the video is current and live, showing concerned and panic faces with out showing video of what exactly happened.
"...being rushed to the hospital in critical condition."
"...shooter is at large. Considered armed and dangerous. He has a peach colored hide, blond fur on the top of his head along with a beard..."