by Jim Bates
The mid-December storm dumped six inches of wet snow, making it hard for old Harold to shovel. His housemate, Joey the djinn, was no help as he got bored and began a playful snowball fight with their next-door neighbor, nine-year-old Rosie.
“Hey, you two,” he yelled good naturedly. New to the neighborhood Rosie and Joey had become fast friends. “Come and help me shovel.”
Joey twirled a hand over his head, and in an instant the snow was cleared. “Done!” he laughed.
Harold gave mock salute, “Thanks!”
Joey bowed dramatically, and tipped his stocking cap, “Anytime.”
“Mr. Harold,” Rosie asked, “do you mind if Joey and I build a snowman in your front yard? My dad won’t let me in ours.”
“Sure honey, you go right ahead.”
Later that evening, there was a knock at the front door. It was Biff, Rosie’s dad. “Hey, Harold. What’s the deal out there?”
Harold glanced past the big man and gazed upon the most beautiful snowman he’d ever seen. It stood ten feet tall and was adorned with a black top hat, carrot nose, coal buttons, and covered with red and green lights that twinkled magically on freshly fallen snow.
“What’s wrong?” Harold asked innocently.
“It’s an eyesore. Get rid of it.”
“Nope. No way.”
Biff scowled, and left in a huff.
Rosie ran up after her father had gone home, “Oh, thank you, Mr. Harold. Thank you so much for letting me keep him!”
“You’re very welcome,” he smiled. “By the way, where’s Joey?” As if he couldn’t guess.
Rosie giggled and pointed. The snowman tipped his hat, and waved his stick arms. “Merry Christmas.”
Rosie clapped joyfully while Harold waved in return. “Merry Christmas to you, too!”
He grinned. It was going to be a memorable winter.
Jim Bates lives in a small town, twenty miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His stories and poems have appeared in many online and print publications. His collection of short stories, Resilience, is scheduled to be published in 2020 by Bridge House Publishing.