He dug himself a hole in the ground and flopped thankfully into it. Already the leaves were drifting from the trees; before long his body would be hidden. This was a good spot, protected from the wind by several tall apartment blocks fringing the park.
Greensleeves was a bit early turning in for the winter, but after a fraught summer things had now settled down. That young couple who’d been warring for months now seemed reconciled, and the boy who lived above the deli had joined a local gym which was keeping him occupied. Everything should tick along nicely until the spring.
There was a rustling above and he sat up, groaning.
“You’ve knocked off early, I see,” said the winter wood-nymph, perching on a tree root, “you summer-sprites don’t exactly knock yourselves out, do you?”
“What are you doing here, Walter?” Greensleeves wasn’t pleased; Walter was a troublemaker.
Walter smiled and stretched his leather-clad legs. “I clocked on early, saw your patch was unattended and thought I’d make a start. That young couple need dealing with – time they split up I think, and the sooner young Davy Beckett gets down the correctional facility the better.”
Greensleeves’ heart sank.
“Well you’re wrong on both counts,” he said, “and I was just trying this hole on for size while things were quiet. It’s way too soon to start my hibernation.”
He eased himself wearily out of the hole. “In any case, I’d have thought you’d be better over on Capitol Hill. I hear there’s a lot needs sorting out there. Just the spot for someone like you.”
Walter’s ears pricked up. “You think so?”
“I know so,” said Greensleeves, fingers crossed behind his back.
“I always wanted to get into politics,” mused Walter.
“Well I’d hurry if I were you. Several young whippersnappers are angling for that patch.”
Walter bristled. “They haven’t got the experience,” he huffed. “That’s a veteran’s job. I’m off to stake my claim; enjoy your hibernation.”
Walter flitted off, and Greensleeves perched on a mushroom. Perhaps it had been a bit early for a summer-sprite to bed down for the winter.
In the skies above, Indian Summer linked arms with Jack Frost.
“He’s a good sprite, old Greensleeves,” said Jack Frost.
Indian Summer smiled in agreement, “He’s tired though.”
Jack Frost nodded . “That young couple have given him a hard time all summer. But he’s worked hard, both with them and the Beckett boy. I’ll see if I can’t roster someone to build on his efforts. I wonder if Grizelda would be interested?”
“Good idea, a woman’s touch might just be what’s needed for the next few months. I heard from Spring that she’s organised something special for the young couple, and the Beckett boy’s father returns from Afghanistan in March.
Below them, Greensleeves started as Grizelda alighted beside him.
“Time to sleep,” she said, leading him to his hollow, “I’ll look after things here for you.”
“Thank you,” he sighed gratefully, closing his eyes.
Grizelda covered him with leaves before perching high in a tree overlooking her patch.
Davy Beckett sprinted by with several other runners shouting encouragement. A young couple, strolling arm in arm, stood to one side to let them pass.
“Let me see that again,” the man said, and the young woman pulled a photograph out of her pocket. He traced the outline of the new life that was expected in the spring, hugged her, and they moved on into the gathering dusk.
Greensleeves snored gently.
And Indian Summer planted a warm farewell kiss on Jack Frost’s hoary old cheek.
This week’s yeahwrite speakeasy had to begin with the words “he dug himself a hole in the ground” and this is the photo to which some reference had to be made: