The Littlest Snowman
by C. Meton
The Christmas lights flickered and then went out. All of them. The house lights stayed on. The TV stayed on. The computer kept running. The street lights stayed on. But the Christmas lights went out. They went out on the tree in the living room. The strings of lights that adorned the gables went out. The lighted candy canes along the walk from the street to the front door went out. The Santa on the roof with the eight, tiny reindeer went dark. But all the other lights stayed on.
“Bill!” his wife shouted from the living room. “The Christmas lights went out!”
Bill looked up from the computer screen in the small bedroom that they used for an office. “I’ll check the breakers,” he shouted back.
He got up from the desk where he was laboring at some take-home work and walked to the master bedroom. He found his slippers by the bed and put them on. Then he took the flashlight that he kept in the night stand next to the bed, padded down the stairs, through the house, and onto the back porch where the breaker panel was located. He opened the panel, looked for a popped breaker, but found none. Then all the Christmas lights came back on.
“Thanks, honey!” His wife’s voice was faint from inside the house.
“Huh!” He shrugged. Then he padded back up to his home office.
“Was it a breaker?” his wife asked. “We shouldn’t have put all the lights on the same circuit.”
“I didn’t,” he replied.
“Then why’d they all go out at the same time and why’d they all come back on at the same time when you reset the breaker?”
“I didn’t reset any breaker. None was popped.”
“Then what was it?”
“I don’t know, but they’re not all on the same circuit. I heard the TV program you’re watching and the lights on the tree are plugged into the same outlet as the TV. So it’s not that. I don’t know what it is. Just a fluke, maybe.”
“I know what it was,” Katy said.
“You’re only ten years old, silly! How could you know about an electrical problem?” Her brother was thirteen and he knew everything.
“I do know what it was,” Katy replied as a matter-of-fact.
“Oh, yeah? What?”
“It was the littlest snowman.”
“Oh, sure, a stupid snowman made the lights go out.”
“Jonathan!” his mother scolded.
“He didn’t make them go out. He made them come back on,” Katy said.
“Jonathan! Katy, the snowmen didn’t fix the lights, dear. They’re just snow. You helped make them this afternoon, remember?”
“I know they’re just snow, mom,” Katy stressed, “but the littlest one did it. I saw him.”
“Bill, will you talk to your daughter? She’s anthropomorphizing the snowmen into electricians. I swear that kid has an imagination worse than... than... a science fiction writer!”
“Honey, stop anthropomorphizing the snowmen,” Bill shouted from upstairs.
“Yeah, stop anthro-pornizing the snowmen, you weirdo,” Jonathan said, turning to leave the room.
“Johnathan!” his mother was becoming angry with him.
“It was so the snowman. I saw it with my own two eyes!”
“Katy, stop it,” her mother said. “It was just a fluke like your father said.” Then the Christmas lights all went out again. “Bill!”
“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” Bill shouted. “I have to get this spreadsheet figured out before tomorrow’s meeting. The medical premiums are going through the roof and all the single employees are angry because they have to pay the same premiums as families with twelve kids and I have to find...”
And then the Christmas lights came back on again.
“It was the littlest snowman again! I saw him!” Katy was staring out the front window at the row of snowmen they had made earlier.
Jonathan ran upstairs to his room and shut the door. He yelled something but it was unintelligible, muffled by the closed door.
“Katy, if you don’t stop with your snowman thing...” her mother chided.
Bill came down the stairs again. This time with his shoes on.
“Where are you going,” his wife asked.
“Gonna check around the house. See if any of the wires are in a puddle or something.” He took his flashlight and went out the front door.
She turned to Katy. “Katy, honey, the snowman cannot fix the lights,” she pleaded.
“I saw him.”
“You did NOT see the snowman fix the lights. Why do you keep insisting on that?”
“’Cause I saw it.”
“Katy, go to your room.”
Katy dropped her head and, pouting, went up the stairs. “I did so see it.”
“To your room!”
The Christmas lights went off again and all the other electrical appliances and house lights stayed on.
Bill came back in the house without a word.
“Did you see anything?”
No response. He had a wide-eyed stare and his mouth hung open, but he said nothing. He went back up the stairs to the master bedroom.
“Bill!” She went up the stairs after him. “What is the matter with this family tonight!”
Bill was in the bathroom off the master bedroom, taking an aspirin. “Bill, why don’t you answer me?”
“Bill, you okay?”
She looked out the window to the front yard. Down below were the four snowmen the family had made that day: a big one for Dad, with a pipe and a hat; a slightly smaller one for her, with a scarf and a purse; another one for Jonathan, a smaller one for Katy, and... a fifth snowman. A really small snowman.
They had only made four snowmen this afternoon, but there was a fifth snowman there now. It was the littlest one. There were tracks leading from it as if it had been walking around, but now it was standing in line with the rest of the snowmen. A large, silvery saucer sat about seven feet away with tracks leading to and from it.
She was pondering what kind of prank it could be when an eerie glow began to emanate from under the saucer. The glow was coming from a hole or something. She couldn’t see the hole because of her angle of view from the upstairs window, but it appeared that a hatch of some kind was opening. When the hatch was fully open, a ramp appeared and two more small snowmen sauntered out.
The Christmas lights went out again at all the houses down the block. The littlest snowman sauntered over to the saucer and the three, tiny snowmen all went up a ramp and into the saucer. The hatch closed, and then the saucer took off. After it was gone, the Christmas lights came back on.
Copyright © 2007 by C. Meton