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It was a Tuesday, first week of March, the weatherman was forecasting flurries. Angie turned off the TV with a grim expression. Rats, snow! When will this stupid winter ever end? She put on her gloves, hat, boots, finally her down-filled jacket, and tried to muster some enthusiasm for the 27-minute walk to work. Angie was a creature of habit, a lover of routine. She marched out into the cold, dark morning at exactly 7:30am.
She worked as a triage nurse at St. Mike’s Hospital. Her route to work never varied: she walked along King Street to her favorite coffee shop where she grabbed a Venti bold, then continued up Victoria Street to attend to the day’s emergencies.
She was approaching the King Edward Hotel. As she got closer, Nick, the doorman, an aging man with a child-like mind, spotted her and saluted.
He reached into the pocket of his immaculate grey uniform with its regal gold braiding and military epaulettes. Out came a caramel and he extended his hand with a courtly bow.
“Your highness,” he grinned.
“Oh, please,” she laughed. “I’m no princess.”
“You are to me.”
Angie thought back to a few months ago, when, in the dead of winter, she had slipped on some icy snow right in front of the hotel. She hadn’t even had the chance to swear out loud, when two giant hands lifted her out of the snowbank and brushed her off. Nick introduced himself and made sure she was okay before he let her go. Since then, every day on her way to work, she passed by and they exchanged smiles, weather predictions and the candy that he insisted on giving her. It became part of her morning ritual. He always had a pocketful of sweets which he only doled out to deserving members of the public. She unwrapped the candy and popped it into her mouth.
“You are looking a little sad today, young lady,” he remarked.
“Actually, Nick, I am feeling a bit off. But a day at the old bone factory will make me forget all my measly troubles. Nothing like a few gunshot wounds and attempted suicides to put things into perspective.”
“I don’t know how you do that job. You’re a saint.” He shook his head. “My biggest worry is counting my tips at the end of the day.”
As they were talking, an elderly man came into view at the main door. He was being assisted by a beefy, giant man in an expensive-looking cashmere coat. In fact you could say the old man was being dragged more than helped. Nick snapped to attention and held the door open for the gentlemen to come out.
Angie said goodbye and gave Nick a wave. As she started to turn, the old man crumpled to the ground right in front of all of them.