I'm an old man, alone in the world. The shop I run is run down but still useful to the community. I'm a butcher you see. I am from a long line of butchers on my father's side. It is an honorable profession but I am not rich by any means. Recently I have been having problems with people. Not any people in particular, just people. Some I don't even know. Take the other day. I was here behind the counter in my rocker, minding my own business, and in walks this man dressed in a tuxedo. He approaches the counter and demands the best steaks in the house. I show him my best and he begins to rant and rave about the poor quality of my meat. The next thing I know I'm sitting back in my rocker and he is gone. All I can figure is that he hit me. The man had some morals for the steaks were back in the meat locker where they should have been. I called the police and they took my surveillance tape with them. They called the next day to say they saw no one of that description enter my shop. Well, it's easy to see he had bought his way out of that one!
Even the children of the neighborhood have become wicked towards me. When I am closing my shop in the evening, pulling down the gate over the door and locking it, they taunt me and throw snowballs. They must be terrible aims because they never hit me. They call me names in strange whispers I don't understand. They only do it when my back is turned. When I turn around to confront them and ask them to speak louder they are gone, vanished into the night.
Tonight is my last night in my shop. I have decided to retire. I have no friends anymore as they have all moved away or died. I no longer care if the community has a butcher or not. They do not come here anymore anyway. They say I am mad. Perhaps they are right. I hear voices from the past in my bedroom at night. Not in dreams, but in the ether that surrounds my bed. I am not afraid of them because I know they mean me no harm. They encourage me to come to them where I will never be lonely again and I know tonight is the night.
As I lower the gate for the last time I hear the children taunt me as usual but suddenly I feel a snowball hit me on the back of the head. I turn quickly to see three children yelling obscenities at me and calling me crazy. I am not angry. I call out to them that they are right and that I deserved that. The children become frightened and run away.
I begin to walk down the street. We have had a very heavy snow during the day and the street is lined on both sides with snowmen. They seem to be speaking to me. I hear the voices of my friends and I drop my parcel I had been carrying and lift my arms. I suddenly feel light as the wind and I sore into the night air. I hear singing and join in feeling free and joyous.
As I ascend up to meet my fate an astounding sight meets my eyes. Perhaps they are what they are because no one will be afraid of them. They are benign images in most people's minds. Whatever their motivations I know they are really angels in disguise.
There are snowmen in the trees.
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