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Tinman’s weekly camera-less version of the WordPress Photo Challenge…

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It was March 28th in the Met Office, and Spring was late.

Max The Winter sat staring gloomily out of the window. He had been on shift since December 1st, relieving Autumn and getting down conscientiously to his work. He had blown away all the brown leaves, adjusted the Sunlight Timer by two minutes each day and sent his helper Jack Frost to nip at everyone’s nose.

On December 19th he had pulled the lever that opened the bomb-doors of the snow-clouds, dumping white drifts upon a population who had quickly discovered that a White Christmas is better in song than in reality.

He had run his Bitterwind machine through January and February, raising the sales of sock-hats and lowering the spirits of the people. Every now and again he would turn up the temperature gauge by a degree or too, leading people to believe that Spring was on the way. Then, just when he reckoned that they would have put away their hats and gloves, he had turned it back down again.

He was now on his twenty-eighth day of overtime, and was exhausted and pissed off. He was just taking out his frustration via a shower of hailstones the size of conkers when the door opened and Spring came in.

“Season’s Greetings, “said Spring.

“Very funny,” said Max. “Where have you been?”

“Overslept,” said Spring. “I’d worked a double-shift. Summer never turned up at all.”

“Really? What happened to him?”

“Global Warming let him go.”

Max sighed. Global Warming was their new boss, having taken over from the Equinoxes, who had run the Earth’s Climate for aeons. At a staff meeting (all four seasons in the one place on the one day – Ireland on May 2nd last) he had outlined his plans for Climate Change.

He had messed with their schedules, and given them extra tasks such as flash-flooding and hurricanes in places that had never seen one before. He had invented the Ozone Layer (well, had you ever heard of it before Global Warming?) and had then punched holes in it. He seemed to dislike the Gulf Stream, polar-bears, and corn that’s as high as an elephant’s eye. He thought penguins looked ridiculous and was trying to wipe them out.

Spring took off his coat, as he soon wouldn’t need it, and settled down to work. He turned up the temperature gauge, prodded birds into song and swiched on his tape of lawnmower noise. He raised the sap, causing buds to appear on trees and young men’s thoughts to turn to, well, to stay pretty well as they were, actually. Max The Winter clocked out and headed out the door.

As he was leaving he met his boss. Mr Warming was dull and devoid of character, like the first two hours of an office Christmas Party. He had an air of dreariness, a cold front and a cap on his head that appeared to be melting.

“Ah, The Winter,” said Warming. “Shift over? Well, see you again in October.”

“October? I don’t start until-“

“There are only three of you now. You’ll start in October.”

“Yes, well about that,” said Max. “I had hoped that when you took over I’d be working fewer hours.”

“Whatever gave you that idea?”

“Well, your name was a fairly big hint. I’d thought that Summer would be getting most of the work. In fact,  I was hoping that if you stayed in charge long enough I met eventually get to retire. I was planning to buy a little cottage somewhere warm and sunny, which would of course include everywhere. Instead Summer’s gone, I’m dropping snow on places so unused to it that they think it’s angel dandruff and we’re slowly raining Holland off the map.”

Global Warming looked a bit embarrassed. “Well I must admit,” he said, “that my hope when I got the job was to, well, warm the globe, but my own boss wouldn’t let me.”

“And who’s that?” asked Max.

“Al Gore,” said Warming.

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