We are delighted to welcome Carol Anne Hunter, author of Project Me, to Romaniac HQ. Get your cake and coffee, put your feet up, and enjoy this beautiful story.
Let’s bee having you, Carol Anne …
My novel, Project Me, a comedy about starting again at fifty, was published last year. I’ve received the usual feedback from friends and family but one two-para piece of romantic rambling about bees is regularly cited as a stand-out point. The thing is, I stole these two paragraphs from a random short story I wrote a couple of years ago, changed the wording a little and used them as a device to give my character hope when she was near breaking point. The ploy worked a treat. So in the hope of warming away your winter blues and giving you something to look forward to, here is the latest version of the whole story. Enjoy!
Bee and Let Bee
Every spring they arrive along with the first buds to lodge rent-free in the air vent under the back steps. They don’t ask for much except a place to commune and peace to get on with it, and I’m happy to oblige; to let it bee. I’ll let you into a secret. The lavender bushes under my windows were planted just for them.
Sometimes when it’s sunny I relax on my lounger and watch my ultimate flying squad bizz in and out. I fancy the little ones are on their maiden voyage, newbees on a practice flight if you will, with a remit to ransack next door’s hanging baskets before being sent further afield in search of richer pickings to bring home as part of earning their stripes. Poised on the latticed concrete grid it seems they’re calculating ambient temperature and wind speed whilst waiting for some in-built air traffic control to signal the all-clear for take-off. This is no long runway lumber-up-to-speed, more a dodgy diagonal ascent, their bumbee tartan bobbing on the breeze like tiny paragliders struggling to stay on the flight path. Some take off on their very own junket, others do a double-take when they catch a whiff of my lavenders and hightail back, dancing on the downdraft before they home in when they’ve sized up the source of the scent.
Then come the jumbos, the 747s with their black and yellow corduroy, bombing out of the vent in loose formation. Maybe they’re scouts setting out on a mission – as Captain Kirk might say, to seek out uncharted flower beds; to boldly go where no bee’s gone before.
I well remember the day of The Great Fly-Past when a no-mark rookie went off-course almost tipping yours truly off her deck chair. A swatting offence in my book, since I swear I heard the tiny wheeze of laughter.
Now, that there’s what you’d call a right cheeky bee.
Landings are an art form. Their panniers full of fragrant pollen I watch them on the home stretch, circling the runway, waiting for clearance to land. Then it’s one in, one out as another launches itself through the latticework and up over my head. And I’ve never, ever witnessed a mid-air collision. Then autumn comes around and they all buzz off.
Why people talk about the birds and the bees when referring to matters carnal is anybody’s guess. These damsels don’t procreate therefore the hive is more workhouse than joy house. Only their queen is fertile and reproductive, nurtured as she is with Royal Jelly provided by the wing-women who attend to her every need. She also has the option to choose her offspring’s gender, something we humans with all our science and technology have yet to achieve, and she chooses girls over boys, who are kept dormant until their – ahem – services are required. In this uber-sexist society the females work as a collective, much like Mormon sister-wives, and share the feathering of the nest, the raising of the nippers and the bringing home of the proverbial bacon. The one thing they don’t have in common is a husband.
Get rid of them, friends advised, they’re a nuisance. They aren’t.
They’ll sting you. They haven’t.
They’ll burrow through the wall and get into the house. They can’t. I know; I checked. They’re all talking out of their bumble.
So, all is harmonious. They mind their beeswax and I mind mine. Live and let live, I say. Bee and let bee.
Roll on March.
I so hope I’ve left you with a rosy glow!
Project Me by Carol Anne Hunter is currently available from Amazon.co.uk at amzn.to/1yea08M and Amazon.com at /amzn.to/122tym1
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/carol.hunter.357
Twitter page: https://twitter.com/carolannehunter
Combined website/blog – www.carolannehunter.co.uk