The other night I was in the kitchen waiting while Brooke finished getting dressed for our night out on the town. We were running late, so I had already shut out most of the lights in the apartment, not unlike they do at the theater when the curtain’s about to rise and everyone needs to take their seat. Except Brooke keeps the lights on in the bedroom, so really I’m just an asshole standing there in the dark.
While I was waiting, I indulged a bit of my OCD and straightened up the kitchen. On the marble countertop next to the cutting board was a small dark fleck. Assuming it was a breadcrumb or other random bit of foodstuff that goes flying around the kitchen whenever I get over-hungry, I picked it up to throw it away.
Immediately something felt weird: The breadcrumb was sticking to my thumb. And not in a “breadcrumb covered in chocolate pudding” kind of way, but almost latched on. I opened the trash and tried to flick it off, and that’s when I felt the sting. Not of regret or rising gas prices, but a literal sting. I brought my thumb close to my face and there, clutching my thumb with all its tiny might, was a little baby bee.
My gut instinct was to yelp and dance around like a Indian until it came off, but for the briefest second I thought BE A MAN. My dad could have a rattlesnake on his thumb and he would still take the time to properly grab the snake by its head to release its fangs, which only made a shallow dent in his manly calloused skin anyway.
Halfway through thinking all this I began to violently shake my hand and bang it against several things, like the countertop, my leg, the refrigerator, and my other hand. I figured a compromise of flailing without making any emasculating guttural noises was the appropriate response. Baby steps.
Finally, the little bee fell off my finger and into the trash. I looked down at it on top of a heap of magazines and bean salad and thought, “What up now, bitch?” I finally turned on the light and noticed that the stinger still sticking out of my thumb. With a coolness that can only come with being a victor of war, I carefully removed it and threw it in the trash with Bumbley.
As I was running my hand under cold water, I took a moment to replay the situation in my head. Clearly, I thought, the bee must have been nearly dead for it to lay so still on the countertop. What had happened? How did a nearly dead bee end up in my kitchen? Was he beaten and left for dead by a rival hive? Did he get lost in our air conditioning ducts and, after a harrowing, chilly journey, end up (to his ultimate dismay!) to have made it inside instead of out? Was it retarded?
It was then that I started to feel a bit ashamed of my actions. Here’s this undersized bee, on the brink of death in an unfamiliar place, yet when an enormous human thumb closes on it, it still, still summons the energy somehow, someway to battle back, not go down without a fight, to use the last of its energy to preserve what little time it had left to think about his family, his comb, that time he and he Queen’s daughter got in trouble for flying off to the orange grove and staying out past curfew. And here I was acting like a wuss. That brave bee didn’t deserve to die. I did. He is the better warrior then me.
Too bad the bitch ate it.