Frosty Reception 

The residents of Rim Ranch Gated Community looked over their visitor.  Rumors of strangers passing through had circulated.  Illegals, fugitives, undesirables.  But never here.  Within their gates, they had paid to be safe.  Now this. 

Whispers led to calls to first the HOA.   The scarf was clearly not an approved green.  Rules are rules.  One dared called the Border Patrol as it was only two hours to Mexico.  Only one dared to approach the stranger. 

Tom spent fifteen minutes working up the courage. “Sylvia, I’m sure he’s just passing through.   I mean he’s a snowman, first God’s sake.  He obviously isn’t from around here.”

“Well, he looks dangerous.   He could have a gun or knife under that snow.  You need to tell him to leave!”  Sylvia flips back her long black hair.   Her hollow cheeks and pointy nose makes her look twice the bitch she is. 

“Okay, I’ll check it out.   But call the neighbors.   They should know, in case they try something crazy.”  Tom scratches through his salt and pepper head.  Thinking maybe this is crazy.

Sylvia puts her hands on her hips.  “You should have the phone with you!   He could be dangerous.   I told you that already!  I knew we should have a gun.   This could be one of a dozen hiding in the weeds! I’ve seen TV series about these things! ”  

“We don’t have weeds here.  They only allow trees here.   Just call someone.”  Tom puts on a coat.   Not that it’s  needed.   Just to look bigger.

The stranger stands two hundred feet away.  Tom walks out the door.  He looks over his problem. The thoughts run free ‘The silk hat and scarf doesn’t fit the desert.   The corn cob pipe… great.  He is a smoker.  His eyes glossy black.   The flat nose…  that’s not a white person’s nose.  Damn, we do need a gun.’

Tom walks with his hands crammed into the pockets.   His elbows point out wide.  His approach goes without the stranger acknowledging him.   

“Hey, you need help or something?” Tom’s voice isn’t as deep as normal.   His nervousness shines through. “We just don’t see anyone like you here.   You belong here, right?”

The stranger doesn’t respond.  Tom gets within twenty feet and stops.  He looks over his shoulder to the house.   The 3000 square foot stone monolith house looks weird with the family pressed against the glass.

“Hey I’m talking to you pal!”  Tom stomps a few feet closer.  “We can call the police and you can talk to then instead.”

The stranger doesn’t respond.

Tom gets closer.  He notices the flesh isn’t right.   Shiny but covered in mess clothing.  He finds himself within feet.  They are both about six feet tall.   But his cob corn pipe says “made in China” .  The nose has two small holes and a white sticker on the side. 

Tom’s words escape  “Made in China!”

“You’re an illegal alien!  You can’t even speak English!  Oohhh, we know how to deal with this!    I’ll get someone to teach you about messing with the Land of the Free!” Tom fumbles with the phone.  The 9-1-1 call takes longer than it should. 

He turns to the house.   Gives his wife the thumbs up.   

“Catch me if you can!”  The stranger speaks and mysteriously hovers through the pine trees. 


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