It was a typical Sunday afternoon — except I was naked and my wife was screaming.
To be clear one had nothing to do with the other. I had just come out of the shower when I heard her howling downstairs. My mate only fears two things in this world, lightning and vacuum cleaners. Knowing that the skies were clear and the last time she had cleaned the house Reagan was in office I was worried that something far more sinister was afoot. I quickly threw on a bath robe and ran down the stairs. Ellie was standing in the living room pointing out the window. At first, I saw nothing that would alarm her; then I noticed the bee resting inside on the windowsill. Feeling manly, I folded a magazine and said, “Don’t worry, I will kill it.”
I had taken only two steps towards the stinging creature when my mate punched me and yelled, “Don’t kill it, capture it.”
Until that day I did not realize that it is much easier to kill a bee than it is to incarcerate it. I also did not know that there is a worldwide shortage of bees. According to my bride bees have been dying off faster than Liberace fans. Some blame global warming, some pesticides, my mate blames Monsanto. Whatever the case in Europe and in the States, there are far fewer bees than in the past; Ellen was determined to keep this one alive even if I had to get stung in the process.
She handed me a napkin and I attempted to sneak up on the insect. A bathrobe is actually a pretty good bee hunting garment — it protects much of your body. The only down-side is that the sleeves are quite baggy, so I rolled them up out of the way. Ellie was cautioning me to be gentle in my apprehension so as not to injure the bug. I was more inclined to err on the side of caution. If it took roughing up the creature a little to not get stung so be it. I will admit my first two attempts were a little ham fisted as I tried to wrap the bee up in the napkin without injuring it. Each time the bug escaped but luckily returned to its perch on the windowsill.
All the while Ellie, from a distance, was critiquing my hunting technique. She harangued me for my roughness and reminded me of the prevailing bee shortage as well as the ecological benefits of the stinging pollinators all of which turned up the pressure on me.
On my third my attempt I approached the prey like a bug-hunting-Ninja. I slowly reached out, napkin in hand, I was inches from success when the bee flew up the baggy arm of my garment and began franticly flying around under my bathrobe.
It seemed to gravitate to my lower abdomen. I could feel it landing and taking off several times in that sensitive area. I began swatting myself when Ellie punch me again saying, ‘Don’t, you will hurt it.”
She also added that there are certain types of bees that, if they sting you they die. Frankly that didn’t bother me too much because it least they would not sting me twice.
Ellen told me to stay still and remain calm, which under the circumstances was easier said than done, “Let’s bring it out to the garden,” she said.
I slowly walked bowlegged towards the front door. Though I had showered only moments before, I could smell my own sweat. My mate said if didn’t act aggressively the bee would not sting. I made it past the threshold and began untying the belt of my robe. Ellie was not satisfied with the location of my proposed release site, “You can’t let it out here there are no flowers nearby, let’s bring it to the Honeysuckle bush.’’
The ten feet to the bush were the longest in my life. After getting wife’s approval I stood in front of the flowering shrub, untied the belt, and began flapping my bathrobe.
This story has a ‘good news/bad news’ conclusion. Good news — the bee escaped unharmed and enjoyed a quick meal on our bush. Bad news — the realtor who was showing the house next door — in direct line of sight to the Honeysuckle bush — might have lost a sale ...
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on TV-8-Summit and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.