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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