It felt nice. Generous. Whimsical. Someone had left a Christmas decoration on the tree by the fence. This brightened my morning, and I smiled, giving a little skip in the snow.
The next day, a stocking hung beside the shiny orb. I searched inside for chocolates, nuts and tangerines. But it was empty. That disappointed, and my heart sank.
A day later, and they’d tacked a sign on the stocking. “Fill me, cheapskate.” Now my environment was making demands with menaces. Fear squeezed, and I gulped in a breath of air.
After that, I followed a different route to work.