Evil Snowman

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

A rolling stone gathers no moss. Rolling snowballs are a completely different story.

Submitted: March 12, 2018

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Submitted: March 12, 2018



Dammit man, that’s the third time this week your decorations flipped the breaker!”

Which is what I shouted, across the street, to the man hoisting Christmas lights up a ladder.  Hoffstadler waved back at me.  “Be a sport, and reset it for us.”  

I glowered as I walked down to the utility pole and pulled the lever.  When I’d complained to the electric company about the outages Hoffstadler caused, their response was to install a reset switch.  They showed us how to operate it.  Great.

The hatred of my neighbor was compounded by the fact that he never returned the ire I sent his way.  He’s been a pain in my ass since he moved in.  Not only do I have to put up with the power outages, there is the constant stream of traffic.  Each night for weeks, caused by people driving by, gawking at his “masterpiece.”  Hoffstadler’s decorations made him a local celebrity.

The reason I bought my house was for seclusion.  I paid a lot of money for the acreage that gives me privacy from the rest of the world.  Now, every Christmas season, my street turns into the parking lot at Disney World.

I’m on the ledge of a small mountain.  Hoffstadler’s house is downhill from me.  There is a ditch on his side of the street.  So people park in my yard when they stop to walk around and take pictures of the decorations.  

It was Saturday and I woke up to twenty inches of snow.  I was tempted to do nothing.  It would take the county crew days to get around to our street.  I’d have a break from the relentless stream of cars in the evening.  If only I didn’t have a job to go to on Monday.

So I did as always.  I attached the plow to the front of the John Deere and began clearing, all the way down to the main road.  Usually I just push the snow into the ditch.  Then I noticed Hoffstadler, waving at me from his yard.  He was removing the white stuff from his decorations.  When I felt the bile rise up in my stomach, I got an idea.

I pushed the snow into piles, then replaced the plow with the front end loader.  Before long I had a giant mound in the front yard.  I hauled my ladder, shovel, and other tools from the garage.  Hours later, I’d made a twenty foot tall snowman.  I named him Claude.  

With my jigsaw, scrap plywood and paint, I created the facial features.  The frown and arched eyebrows gave him the angry look I was aiming for.  Claude was facing across the street, at the Christmas decorations.  Like me, he was not happy with what he saw.

That was the extent of my plan.  The ten year old inside me just wanted Hoffstadler to know I was pissed off.  I put up the tools and went inside to eat.  By the time my stomach was full, I’d almost forgotten about the snowman.  Then, the doorbell rang.

It was after sundown.  Hoffstadler had turned on the lights and a multitude of colors was bouncing off of my snowman.  There was the usual stream of traffic on the street, and people milling around the decorations.  Now, some of them were in my yard, gawking at Claude. 

I should have never opened the door.  The idiot would not stop talking. 

“Man, that is the greatest snowman ever!  How did you make him so big!  Can I get your picture next to him?”

The last thing I’d intended was for the snowman to become part of Hoffstadler’s tour.  But that’s how the people were behaving.  It got worse when I slipped up and mentioned I’d named him Claude.

“Aww, that’s a perfect name for him.  Hey, we’ll ask your neighbor if he’s got some extra lights.  Claude needs some jazzing up.”

Next thing I know, Hoffstadler is stringing rope lights around Claude’s neck.  He made it look like a scarf.  I didn’t really want any part of it, but a crowd had gathered and was helping out.  Peer pressure is difficult to resist.

Which is why I did not protest when Hoffstadler plugged in the lights he’d strung around Claude.  Why I did nothing when he turned Claude’s frown upside down and made it into a smile.  

It’s why I allowed him to put his arm around me when the same idiot insisted on getting a photograph of us in front of Claude.  It was disgusting.  On the outside, I was wearing a forced grin.  Inside, I was hating myself.

Eventually, the crowd abated.  I slipped into the house, locked the door, and turned off the lights.  If the doorbell rang again, I would ignore it.  I scaled the stairs in darkness, plopped in bed, and fell asleep.  

Drinking coffee the next morning, watching TV, the weatherman was talking about another storm coming through.  He wasn’t kidding.  Before I finished the last cup of joe, the wind had started to howl.

I was pouring milk into a bowl of Frosted Rice Chex when I heard a dull thud.  I looked out the window.  One of Hoffstadler’s oversized tree displays had fallen in the wind.  They were made out of thin plywood panels, painted green and covered with lights.  No match for the current weather.  

My neighbor must have heard it too.  I saw his front door open.  Hoffstadler headed up the slope, ladder in hand.  He would be fool enough to get out in the wind and repair a broken fake tree.  After leaning the plywood panel against its post, he scaled the ladder.  I heard the hammer as he drove in nails.  That’s when it happened.

A big gust came up. There was the sound of fracturing ice.  Claude’s head snapped clean off.  My house vibrated when it hit the ground.  I got a sinking feeling in my stomach, when I saw it rolling downhill.

If you push a ball of snow through more snow, it gets bigger.  When it crossed the street, Claude’s former head was twice its original size.  It bounced, but did not stop, when it rolled over the snow packed ditch.

By then I’d run out the door.  The sinking feeling got worse.  The now gigantic snowball was rolling straight towards Hoffstadler.  He, being absorbed by the task of hammering, had no idea.

At the top of my lungs, I let out a scream. “HOFFSTADLER!”  The snowball was so large it blocked the view of my neighbor.  The 2 by 4’s that held up the fake tree made a loud snap when they broke.  Claude’s detached head didn’t even slow down.

I had a brief vision of being led to a police car in handcuffs, after being arrested for involuntary manslaughter.  Then I began running, as fast as I could in the snow.

When I crossed the street, the snowball smashed into Hoffstadler’s house.  I heard more wood cracking as the front porch went down.  I could see parts of various Christmas displays sticking out of the remains of Claude’s head.  

My hope was that Hoffstadler was not one of the embedded items.  I got lucky.  The top half of his body sat up out of the snow.

He’d heard me scream, turned, and made a desperate jump off the ladder just before impact.  He was a little shook up, but the snow and his heavy jacket cushioned the blow.  

We stood there, silently, assessing the damage.  Then, in his typical, annoying fashion, Hoffstadler began laughing.  Apparently, it is impossible to make him angry.

“Good thing I’ve got the insurance agent on my contact list.”  He pulled his phone out of his pocket and pushed buttons.

I got the John Deere and cleared the pile of snow away from Hoffstadler’s house.  Then I used it to demolish what was left of Claude.  I made a mental note.  No more snowmen.

© Copyright 2019 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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