The Freakishly Fiendish Fright Scream Man - 1905
In 1905 two Italian Ice Cream sellers Signor Staroli and the hot headed Marconi Ballerie were in a bitter feud often resulting in blows over a popular "Hokey Pokey" or ice cream pitch in central London. A major source of income for both they used a pony and cart to sell the unhygienic but incredibly popular "Penny Licks"; glass bowls filled with ice cream that were handed back to the vendor after use to be refilled, often unwashed, for the next customer. Ice cream eating from 'Licks' was always a risky affair and some unscrupulous sellers, like Marconi, masked spoiled milk with various flavours helping to pass on a string of illnesses, many proving fatal to the customers.
Things came to a head when one particularly hot day when Signor Staroli appalled by Marconi's lack of concern for his customers rolled into view with a new cart, gone were the 'Penny Lick' bowls and in came the waffle cone and pasteurised milk with a sign proudly declaring 'HYGENIC ICE CREAM - WITHOUT RISK TO LIFE'.
It was an immediate hit sending Marconi into a jealous rage as he watched his profits tumble day after day. Unfortunately Staroli had also made sure that Marconi wouldn't be able to buy the new cones or the more expensive pasteurised milk further infuriating him. 'I'd sell my soul to destroy Staroli' he was heard to mutter as he walked away several weeks later his business in tatters. Staroli prospered, his pitch got bigger and his fame spread until almost a year later to the day since Marconi left a new ice cream cart rolled into London...
With loud organ music blaring out from its bell tower rooftop it was three times the size of Staroli's, the decoration six times better, the cone selection ten times better with a fantastical choice of flavours but the thing that really stood out was the 66; Ice cream whipped into a frenzy and swirled into a large cone decorated with six sticks of chocolate. Riding atop of the cart was Marconi, laughing manically, 'You're finished!' he shouted, pointing directly at Staroli as his new transport of delight crashed into Staroli's cart turning it into match wood.
Crowds gathered as the cart stopped. Marconi jumped down and addressed the crowds. 'Come! Taste the best ice cream, the richest toppings, the most delectable flavours! Taste it once and you'll taste it forever!'. Marconi pulled out a 66 from behind the counter and raised it above his head, the crowds pressed forward, cheering with money in hand. 'You scream! I scream! We all scream for ice cream!' shouted Marconi with a possessed look in his eye as he licked the 66.
Immediately there was a blinding flash and four horses clad in black complete with skeletal riders appeared in the sky to drag a screaming Marconi and his cart into the bowels of the earth. Indeed Marconi did beat Staroli in the end but satanic pacts are tricky things to control, the devil never specified how long Marconi's victory would last, something Marconi would have eternity to think about as his soul was sent straight to hell.Forever cursed to ply his trade in the underworld where ice cream never stays cold and the never ending wailing of an out of tune organ drives the last wits from his mind Marconi is still remembered on our earthly plane. The 66 became the 99, an ice cream beacon of light that has powers to ward off the devil. Remember this as you approach Halloween, for on that date Marconi is allowed to return for one night only to ply his trade amongst the living and should you buy an ice cream from his ethereal cart then you, too, will join the realms of the undead for eternity.