Monday, August 29, 2011

Couples and Bees

By Eric Suhem

Roy was on the golf course committing atrocities. Roy and the other players in his foursome were all wearing Bermuda shorts, slamming golf clubs into the heads of unsuspecting rodents found in the underbrush. Nearby, there were figures in Black Death costumes putting their golf balls into the ball-washing machines and pumping furiously, their Titleists acquiring a new-found glow. “We

have an ancient historical precedence and imperative!” declared Mavis, leaning back in the seat of the golf cart, chewing unsalted saltines, a big black tattered book propped up on the scorecard clamp. “From Chapter 79385,” continued Mavis urgently, “’Roam freely, conquer the earth, and strike down the rats and hornets!’” “I like the cut of your jib, and the angle of your gait, Mavis,” said Roy, bringing a 3-iron down on the head of a snowy egret, approving of her twisted interpretation. After an hour, Roy and Mavis maneuvered their golf cart off the course and onto the sidewalks of the nearby suburban neighborhood, thinking of their in-laws Bill & Harriet and Edna & Edward frequently, looking for pets to subdue. A bee took notice of their activities.

The mist was rising over the tundra as Bill and Harriet flipped through the TV listings. They thought of their in-laws Roy and Mavis infrequently as they sat on the two matching Barca-loungers in the barren frozen wasteland, chain-smoking Lucky Strikes. “Where is my cummerbund?” muttered Bill intensely. At this point, the bees flew up out of the ground, and lined up, staring at Bill and Harriet confrontationally, hands on hips, or legs on thorax. “We demand to know why you are invading our lands and have soiled our landscape with your man-made garbage!” yelled Beatrice, who had appointed herself spokesbee, despite much contrary opinion among the group. “I’m late for the dance, I’ve just been trying to get to the dance all this life, that’s all I’ve been trying to do. Right now I’m looking for my cummerbund!” Bill said defensively. “We will lead you to it,” said the bees as they gathered together in a deafening, menacing, buzzing roar, swirling around Bill and Harriet. “No, no please don’t sting us to death!” yelled the two Homo sapiens. The bees said quietly, “No, we wouldn’t do that,” and instead each of the bees gave Bill and Harriet a light, gentle, pleasurable kiss, sending them into dreamy ecstasy.

“Edna, don your tennis smock now! We must frolic, but it will be frolicking with a purpose!” cried Edward jauntily. Edna looked up from her knitting, wondering what was up. “Have you gone off your meds, Edward? The chicken croquettes and fruit salad must be prepared by midnight! What kind of cook are you?” Edward had been charged with preparing hors d’ouevres at the Von Goffstead estate. “Again Edna, I am not a cook, I am a food technician!” Edna eyed her knitting needle, which started to resemble a bee stinger, raising her eyebrow to yell, “But a technician gone haywire!” And Edward retorted, “Edna, with a playful jab!” He returned to the kitchen and announced, as mini-explosions emanated from the stove pot, soup flying onto the wall, “The seasonings are having a lively battle over which one will dominate the taste of the soup!” This was a couple of days after what Edward had called ‘a vigorous session of sautéing,’ in which a kitchen fire burnt the east wing of the house to the ground. He continued, “Edna, we must play tennis soon, it is urgent!” Edna had dreamt of the trees and earth, the water and fire, the air streaming through her free soul. She turned to Edward, saying, as bees entered through the ventilation, flooding the room, “I’m sorry, Edward, but I cannot be held in by the boundary lines of the tennis court!” And with that, Edna threw down her knitting, clutching a tennis racquet with a small, quickly-evolving beehive at the end, and marched into the nearby meadow and forest. Edward returned to his work in the kitchen, poured gasoline into a frying pan, and then retreated into Van Goffstead’s study, reading Chaucer, babbling about the end of the world.

Roy drove the golf cart over a bump in the sidewalk, swerving to avoid a swarm of bees. He and Mavis tumbled out and bumped their heads on a potted plant. Rising dizzied from this incident, they ran to the nearby hardware center to begin a career selling lawn-care appliances and jars of fruit-flavored honey door-to-door, on the a.m. shift, happily enduring the wrath of awakened neighbors, and of vacuum cleaner salesmen in boxy suits, complaining with clenched fists that this was ‘their turf’, as sweat poured from their brows in the morning heat. Roy and Mavis were now insistent about lawn clippers, but were not clubbing wildlife with 3-woods. Wherever they went, a few bees followed.


BIO: Eric Suhem lives in California and enjoys the qualities of his vegetable juicer. He can be found in the orange hallway (

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