55,000 Miles for a Pound of Honey by Rachael Smart

A bee is on the tarmac going slow for sugar.

She tells him bees are yawnsome. I mean, look how they surrender after just one sting, she says, and wearing those identical fur bomber jackets all year round. She is smoking a cigarette with an espresso and she is one colossal shot of adrenalin with pussy cat eyes. It isnt lost on him that she has worn black and yellow pinstriped balloon trousers to try to attract the bees to her and he knows that their blatant disinterest is what has really got her bitch up.

That silly noise as well, she says, her nose dragoning up in that disdainful way people do when their self importance gets pricked. Which one, he says.

Oh, all that inane droning. D /rrrrruh / oh /nnnnnnnnnn / i / nnnn / g, she says with a real drag on the ‘nuh’ and he tells her she sounds terribly vacuous and to give bees a break.

There are more species of bee than you’ve ever bought 1950s tankinis, you know, he says, but you wouldn’t be sparky enough to retain them all.

Well, I have, actually, she says, you’d be surprised and when he laughs, she laughs back and it thunders over his like a bruise.

Liar, he says.

She pinches him. Flint hard on his thigh so that he makes a pained gasp and just then, a bee constellates by them and she says come here, velvet bee, come here, in some golden syrup of a voice and he says: unlikely, but it windmills right near her, a fat buzz of bumble, and then swooshes down to her open palm with its elegant black brushed feet – lies there – five-eyed and tame. So, she says, listen, honey. She whispers to it, words swift and wise, and they rush along like spellcraft, a strange swimming pool of sound: Tawny Mining Bee; Great Banded Furrow Bee; White-Tailed Bumblebee; Western Honey Bee; Red-Tailed Bumblebee; Fabricius’ Nomad Bee; Carpenter Bee; Early Bumblebee; Wood Carder Bee; Ashy Mining Bee; Red Mason Bee; Black Bumblebee; Long-Horned Bee; Six Banded Furrow Bee; Hairy Footed Flower Bee, and when she’s finished the bee feathers up towards her lips and rumps against them in some act of inexplicable trusting, and he can’t find his words, not a single one of them as though she has drunk them from his throat.

Biography: Rachael Smart likes to write small things. One of her stories ‘Ways to Fold A Swan’ was recently published by Seventy2One. It sold out. She is all for neology.

Image: unsplash.com