(originally published in The Mustache Factor)
Roy and Mavis were on the golf course committing atrocities, slamming golf clubs into the heads of unsuspecting rodents found in the underbrush. “We have an ancient historical precedence and imperative!,” declared Mavis, leaning back in the seat of the golf cart, chewing crackers, a big black tattered book propped up on the scorecard clamp. “From Chapter 79385, ’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 while sitting on matching Barcaloungers in the frozen wasteland, chain-smoking cigarettes. “Where is my cummerbund?” muttered Bill intensely. Suddenly 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 and soiling our landscape with your man-made garbage!” yelled Beatrice, who had appointed herself spokesbee, despite 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 buzzing roar 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 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, with a raised eyebrow. “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 Van 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, and yelled, “But a technician gone haywire!” “Edna, with a playful jab!” retorted Edward. He returned to the kitchen, announcing as soup exploded from the stove pot, flying onto the wall, “The seasonings are having a lively battle over which one will dominate the taste of the soup!” A few weeks earlier, during what Edward called ’a vigorous session of sauteing’, a kitchen fire burnt the east wing of the house to the ground. He looked at the clock, “Edna, we must play tennis soon, it is urgent!” Edna had dreamt of her free soul streaming through the trees, earth, water and air. She turned to Edward as bees flew through a vent, flooding the room, “I’m sorry, Edward, but I cannot be held in by the boundary lines of the tennis court!” Edna threw down her knitting, clutched a tennis racquet with a quickly-evolving beehive at the end, and marched into the nearby forest. Edward returned to his work in the kitchen, pouring gasoline into a frying pan, then retreated into Van Goffstead’s study, reading Chaucer, babbling about the end of the world.
Roy swerved the golf cart to avoid a swarm of bees. He and Mavis tumbled out and bumped their heads on the sidewalk. Rising dizzied, 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 cultists clad in white shirts and black ties, thumping tomes and complaining with clenched fists that it was ’their turf’ as sweat poured from their brows in the morning heat. Roy and Mavis became insistent about lawn clippers, and no longer clubbed wildlife with 3-woods. Wherever they went, a few bees followed.