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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2200957
A different take on the weather.
“Okay everyone. Quiet. Enough chatter. Let’s get this meeting underway so we can decide who is doing what this year and when it’s all
going to happen so we can get back out there doing what we need to do.”

Spring turned to face her older sister, her soft brows furrowed and mouth tilted, in an unsuccessful attempt at a ghoulish scowl. “How come
you get to be the boss? Who said you could run this meeting?”

“Spring, calm down. It’s my season right now, so I get to go first. Besides, someone has to keep order in this family and we all know it can’t be you. You’re not reliable.”

Spring rolled her eyes and huffed a formidable breath of fresh air, giving her head a hard shake and sending a brilliant kaleidoscope of butterflies swirling around the room. She was tired of being on the low end of the totem pole in this family of seasoned weather-makers. She was loved by everyone. Worldwide. Yet, at every annual planning meeting she was treated as if she was one of the high-maintenance bad-weather cousins that wreaked havoc around the world for no apparent reason. It wasn’t fair.

“So, back to what I was trying to say,” Summer began again, glancing at her younger sister with raised eyebrows as the humidity rose and cicadas sang. “We need to figure out who is doing what, and for how long over the next few months. We need to get the annual weather plan locked down. We didn’t develop it as well as we should have last year and you-know-who stole the show with her front-page news of wide spread distress and disaster. Mom wasn’t impressed.”

“Why can’t I have more time”? Spring whined, followed by a subtle scent of newborn lilac blooms.

“Give your head a shake, Spring,” her brother Fall said, adding sarcastically. “Actually, no, on second thought, don’t. Those butterflies of yours annoy me. Makes me want to send my yellow jackets out on patrol.”

Spring’s eyes widened as she sat back in her chair, a faint “oh” escaping her lips.

“Honestly little sister, Summer is right. You’re not reliable. Look at how many times that either Summer, or brother Winter, who seems to be unusually quiet today, has to step in. And it’s not like we can plan for your little escapades. We’re off creating weather around the world, hear that you’ve disappeared without warning and one of us has to swoop in and take over.”

“Yeah, and when it’s me,” Winter growled, as frost settled around the room, “Your precious early blooms get burned. You know it’s you that ultimately get’s blamed Springy-girl. You have a tendency to not stay around long enough to make sure we’re all in sync. That’s your job. You control the early growth. You bring renewed hope and wellness. Sunshine and lollipops is what you preach. Perhaps you could explain to the rest of us what exactly your problem is. You make us look like we don’t know what we’re doing. Weather gets a non-stop bad reputation because Little Miss Spring can’t hold on for the ninety-one days she’s allocated. No wonder Summer and I need to get involved. And, little sister, it’s no wonder people aren’t happy. Either young blossoms freeze and die or end up bursting out too early, depending on who’s available. You just have no respect for what we do. We have constant challenges with the entire tree population. They don’t know whether to leaf out or wait. It’s us they’re yelling at as we fly by, when it should be you.”

Spring shot a glance around the table that would kill an early crocus. “Yeah?” she exclaimed, her voice rising. Well, why do you think so many songs about spring are written? Why are there so many spring festivals and events? It’s because I’m loved! And I need to be there. I need to make sure they’re successful. They celebrate me! You guys can pick up the slack. Who cares, Winter, if you drop a few more flakes or if Summer has to get Sun to heat up a bit earlier than usual. Why are you even complaining Fall, you never pitch in when my demand picks up.”

“Your demand?” Fall laughed out loud. “It’s not demand, you’re fickle. You just flit off to wherever it is you want to be. You don’t tell anyone what you’re doing until you’re well on your way and then everyone else has to clean up your mess, which usually results in a bigger one being created.”

“I never make a mess. I’m perfect,” she spat.

“Spring,” Summer began. “You have to commit to what we all agree to at these planning sessions. Every year you say you will and then off you go without any regard for anyone else’s schedule or commitments. Some of us end up working double shifts to compensate. One year Winter dropped a foot of snow in May and I had to melt it the next day so he could get back up north. And it’s not just a one-time thing. You do it regularly. Your season begins and you get bored or restless or whatever it is you do, and you just come and go as you please. You cannot keep doing that. It’s hard on everyone. And not fair to the rest of the family.”

“It’s the fever,” Spring replied meekly.

Snow began falling as Winter howled, “You don’t have a fever, Spring, you have – “

The door thundered open. The windows shook. The air stood still.

“It’s Mom,” whispered Summer.

“Oh crap,” Spring echoed, as she shrank into her chair, the butterflies motionless.

Mother Nature glared at the group around the table. “What is the matter with you? I’m down south dealing with your cousin Tornado and I can hear your sibling scrapping all the way from there.”

“Hey Mom,” Fall delivered with a wide smile, the scent of pumpkin spice filling the room. “How is Tornado?”

“I swear that girl is bipolar. One day everything is good, the next she’s flying all over the place destroying whatever is in her path. There’s no rhyme or reason to what she does.”

“Sounds a little like Spring,” Winter whooshed under his breath, the temperature dropping a few degrees.

“I am not like that,” Spring started, her voice rising; her eyes narrowing.

“Enough!” demanded Mother Nature. “My point is, I have other things I need to do around the world than referee my children for what should be a straight forward weather planning event. You each have ninety-one days. Three months. Is it really all that hard to figure it out? Why all the variations every year? It makes your father crazy. I personally don’t care what you do, but I certainly do not understand why you have to argue about it. Or not keep your end of the bargain.” She looked pointedly at Spring, her glasses sliding slightly along her nose as her head tilted forward.

“Where is Daddy Time right now?” Spring asked, trying to change the subject.

“He’s at a conference with Santa, Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny. With the widespread population increase over the past few years, they’re finding it tough to get all their deliveries finished in one night. They’ve submitted a request for your Father to slow down time for each of their overnight excursions so they can ensure no one gets missed. Santa had to take along a couple of extra elves last year there was so much ground to cover and barely enough time to get it done. He finds it rather exhausting.”

“Cool!” offered Winter. More time for snow to fall.”

“You can keep that out of your plan, mister. More snow means a slower ride for Mr. Claus. Kind of defeats the purpose.”
Mother Nature walked over to the table and sat down, and sighed, “I have to get back. I can only imagine what your cousin has done since I’ve been gone. Then I need to head out and have a chat with Hurricane, I hear he’s in a snit about something and is going in circles over it. Kids, sort out your weather plan, stick to it and stop fighting. Have fun and quit making it difficult.”
She blew them each a kiss and was gone. The room was silent.

“Well,” offered Summer, after a few seconds of silence. “I suppose we could go with the three-month plan. What do you guys think?”
Winter nodded, “Sure, it makes sense. Let’s give it a try.”

“Agreed,” added Fall. We’ve never really done that before, have we? It makes it easy to keep track of.

“Spring,” Summer asked. “Can you commit to three months? It’s a simple plan, can you make it work this time?”

Spring looked around the table as the butterflies began softly floating above her head. “Sure. Okay. I can do three months.” She nodded with determination, a sweet smile lighting up her face. As she answered, she decided it might be best, not to add “somewhere” out loud.

(1,515 words)
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