Maggie shook the large snow globe with the gold-plated tag on the bottom that said "Pineyville," and watched the swirl of fake micro-crystals cascade down on the little town. She'd fallen in love with the colorful plaster buildings—bakery, bank, bookstore, church and assorted houses, mountains, pine trees, cars and little people walking, skating, and shopping. It was one of her favorite holiday decorations. She plunked it down on the table and looked around the floor. She was surrounded by boxes labeled “Ornaments and Decorations.” It was Maggie's favorite time of the year.
“Never a Christmas without Pineyville and your boxes of thrift store junk.” Vicki, who stood at the top of wooden step stool putting the paper and glitter angel atop the completed Christmas tree, smirked at Maggie.
“You’ve hated this snow globe since I bought it.”
“Yeah, I do.” Vicki stepped down off the step stool, dusted off her hands and faced her lover. “But it isn’t just that stupid snow globe. It’s all the other junk you’ve brought home for years from those nasty thrift stores.”
Maggie felt her anger flush to her face. “You’re a snob…” she paused, wondering if now was the best time to start another argument over the same thing. “At least I collect harmless things and not other women right under my nose.” She couldn’t control herself.
Vicki had cheated. More than once and out in the open. The arguments were always loud, frequent and accomplished nothing. They were still together, but this year, it felt to Maggie as if they were merely going through the motions. Perhaps it was time to call it quits.
Vicki’s eyes blazed red in the blinking Christmas lights. “Don’t you start that shit again with me.” She poked her finger at Maggie’s chest. Maggie slapped her hand away.
“Don’t you threaten me. I think I’ve had enough of your anger and your affairs.” She turned her back on Vicki. “I’m going to call your newest little girlfriend and give her a piece of my mind. And while I’m at it, I might fill her in on your anger issue.”
“No, you’re not.” Vicki grabbed the step stool and swung it hard at Maggie’s head, cracking her skull and sending a ribbon of thick blood across the Christmas tree and the wall. A large drop of it landed on the top of the snow globe. Maggie fell in a heap atop her half-opened boxes, the ornaments inside making a loud, crunching sound.
Inside the snow globe, a group of men, women and children pressed their plastic faces against the glass. The policeman who had stood in the middle of the snow-covered street directing the tiny cars sighed and looked at the others who had gathered.
"Well, I think our time here is up. Tell Ma Brady at the Bakery to take the cookies out of the ovens and the others to turn down their lights. We won't be staying here." The fake snow continued to fall in Pineyville.
One of the skaters from the glazed pond gazed forlornly at the policeman. "Will we be able to share this Christmas with anyone?"
The policeman didn't know. All he knew was that the blood on top of the glass globe cast a red, unhealthy glow over Pineyville and it didn't bode well. "There's still time before Christmas. Someone may want to share their holiday with us."
The boy took off to take up his skating pose on the Pineyville pond. As all the others in Pineyville strolled away to their designated places, the policeman continued to watch as Vicki wrapped Maggie's body in the oriental carpet and drag it to the door. He shook his head, guessing Pineyville would end up back in a dark box and in another bright store.
He sighed as he walked slowly back to where he had always stood, directing traffic along the lone Main Street in Pineyville. Perhaps there would be someone else who might want a slightly used and blood-stained snow globe on their Christmas table this year.
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