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The Bees: A Parable

Richard H. Williams

Henry had hated bees ever since he could remember, but it all actually began the day he had been stung by a dying yellow jacket. By holding a bottle in one hand and its cover in the other, he had been able to imprison a solitary yellow jacket. He had previously punched holes in the cover which were large enough to permit a flaming straw to be pushed down toward the bee. The burning straw had served two purposes. The first was merely to singe the wings, and antennae, but the second was to use up most of the oxygen in the bottle. Thus immediately after being burned the bee was threatened with a lack of oxygen. Upon withdrawal of the straw, a flat piece of wood was placed against the cover of the jar to prevent the reentry of air. When Henry saw that his prize captive was dying from lack of oxygen, he removed the piece of wood from the cover, allowing fresh air to re-enter the prison, but a thin spray of iodine would accompany the new supply of oxygen. After the process was completed, if the bee survived it was given several days to recuperate before a newer and more intricate system of torture devices was introduced.

One day Henry made the mistake of dropping the jar containing the bee on a concrete walk. The glass was shattered into a large finite number of minute slivers and the yellow jacket was set free. Henry attempted to step on the unfortunate creature, but with a great final effort the bee rose from the ground and thrust its needle-like tail projection into Henry's left eyelid. The bee died in the exchange but the eye, in a surprising short time, became a large, red lump of pain.

According to Henry, prior to this incident he had borne no especial dislike for the yellow and black species of bee. But now a great hatred was ignited, the increasing pain of the sting intensifying the heat of the flame. Henceforth Henry dedicated himself to eradicating as many of the six-legged creatures as he possibly could. As time passed his hatred grew and his mode of attack became concerned with large scale operations. He burned bee hives He clothed himself in bee-proof attire and ravished entire colonies. One operation he especially enjoyed was to move a hive, dig a hole where the hive had been, and fill the hole with water. Bees normslly send scouts out to gage the distance between a source of honey and the hive. Thus when the worker bees return with honey, the distance to the hive and the weight of the honey having been taken into considerstion, their stamina just suffices to get them back to the hive. In moving the hive back a few feet and replacing it with a pool of water, Henry had anticipated that the bees would fall short of the hive and drop into the water, exhausted.

People who knew Henry regarded him as a fanatic. Those who kept bees would try to keep him from setting foot on their land. But he would accomplish his missions under the cover of night. When the owners later found the dead bees they would know for sure that Henry had been responsible, but nothing could be proven against him.

One afternoon in late summer Henry, exhauted by his nocturnal activities, took a short dip in his private swimming pool and then stretched out on a lounge to get some sun. The sun's heat brought sweat to his brow and he became drowsy and dropped off to sleep. He was awakened by a gentle breeze and a monotonous humming noise. Feeling chilled by what would seem to be a cloud blocking off the sons rays, he rolled onto his back and opened his eyes. The last thing Henry ever saw was a large cloud of black and yellow bodies descending on him on masse.

The bees: a parable

Copyright Richard H. Williams 2001

First published in October of 2001 in Another Night and Day Alliance under his pen name "Higgins."

Richard H. Williams has been published in the Journal of Modern Literature, Demensions, Indite Circle,The Harrow, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, Human Nature Review, Psychometrika Psicologica, Drinking Stories, Sticky Keys, Poetry Magazine, Poetic Voices, Methodika, Above Ground Testing, Dream Forge, Blue Rose Bouquet, Drunkmen, Another Night and Day Alliance, Muse Apprentice Guild, Applied Psychological Measurement, Newsletter of the International Aroid Society, Naked Poetry, Starry Night Review, Journal of General Psychology, and Psychological Bulletin. He is currently studying Art, Art History, and Spanish.
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