The strange diminishing of honeybees in the summertime, desperate measures were called for. Apiaries throughout the USA were willing to pay top dollar for live bees, especially vital queens and viable sections of comb. Most wound up coming from India, where the beekeeping practices might not have been up to snuff but the bugs were cheap and plentiful.

That’s where I come in. Bees, live bees especially, are considered to be dangerous animals. They need to be escorted by a courier at every step of the way. That doesn’t necessarily mean cuddling up to them, but you have to keep the box in sight.

I boarded Eastern Airlines Flight 887 from Delhi to London with the courier case, all wrapped in bright orange quarantine tape, bumping against my leg as I limped to my seat and stowed my cane.

“Did you need a hand, hun?” a stewardess said.

“What I need is a leg,” I joked. “I’ve tried everything from surgery to magnets, but it still gimps out on me.”

“You were injured by…magnets?”

I set the case of bees down on the seat I’d bought for it–the profit was more than enough to pay for their own seat. “I took an arrow to the knee,” I said.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said, clearly getting neither that joke or its predecessor.

“It was a work accident,” I said, deciding to level with the lady who’d be bringing me my booze over the course of the next sixteen hours. “The bees got out once, and I’m allergic.”

What can I say? I like to live on the edge.

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People had noticed for some time that honey from the Graham Apiary had a rich, interesting color and a stimulating effect that most honeys did not. Their small batches, sold at local farmer’s markets and through artisanal honey distributors, gained serious indie cred and began to quickly sell out.

A minor scandal ensued when a suspicious honey aficionado from Sausalito ran chemical tests on Graham Apiary honey and discovered that it contained caffeine and traces of high-fructose corn syrup. The Grahams insisted that they didn’t add anything to their honey crop, and state inspectors making an on-site visit confirmed that the honey production met all the standards to be called both natural and organic. But in testing fresh batches, caffeine and HFCS were once again detected, much to the confusion of both the inspectors and the Grahams themselves.

Honey production was halted until the mystery could be resolved, and state officials attached RFID tags to a number of Graham Apiary bees to track their activity. Once the data was crunched, the mystery had a quick–if unusual–resolution.

99% of the Graham Apiary worker bees made a beeline to a large structure about a mile away: the Mid-Region Coca-Cola Bottling Plant.

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And so it was that compassionate Clohl, whose caress is as gentle as that of a summer potato, came to the aid of Bee Jesus (the hive was in the Latin part of Minosia, you see, Jesus being a common given name thereabouts), a Hymenoptera drone who had been expelled from his hive after a nuptial flight and was wandering without purpose or even the ability to feed himself.

And so did Clohl come upon Bee Jesus and did show him that in order to rediscover his purpose and believe in himself, yea did he need to look deep within and scare himself out of himself. For it is only in scaring the self out of oneself that we can begin to look outward rather than inward and act with selfless compassion rather than selfish selfishness.

And these words did inspire Bee Jesus, and he did scare himself out of himself and return to his hive. And yea did he cast out the forces of wickedness within his hive, in essence scaring the Bee Jesus out of all his bretheren and sisters, before leading the hive in the charge toward a new golden age of honey. At least until he died after 90 days, as is the fate of all drones, and his colony collapsed for want of a queen.

So sayeth the Book of Apiary, the word of Clohl for the people of Clohl.

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Exodus had the Burning Bush. Us? We had the Buzzing Bush.

For two weeks every semester, the bush between the parking lot and out building would burst into full bloom. It was on the ugly side of campus, the part built during the 60s when bricking over green spaces and making everything look like a bloated concrete slab was de rigueur, so it was likely the only flowering thing for 500-1000 feet in any direction.

Which, naturally, meant it was the target of every hornet, wasp, honeybee, and bumblebee within approximately that same radius.

The bush buzzed alarmingly during its time in bloom, and anyone who stopped to smell the flowers would quickly find themselves pursued by multiple species of stingy thingy. We all wisely decided to give the thing a wide berth if we could during that time, but there were moments, especially when there was heavy foot traffic, when we found ourselves pushed uncomfortably close to the Buzzing Bush.

It was nothing but an annoyance, with an occasional squawk as someone was divebombed by a hymenoptera, but no stings that anyone could remember. At least until that day in April when we heard a cry that was much more than a surprised yelp.

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