Adrian Beaumont was a good, old friend who was apt at doing things that good, old friends of mine are apt at doing; that is really stupid things. He had recently taken up beekeeping, which to most was a fad that died out once people realized bee’s sting—it never was a fad. But, he took it upon himself to keep some bees. He told me about it one morning when I was taking out the trash; he had spotted me from his backyard. He called me over to show me what he had done.
“Look at what I have done,” he said. I entered into his backyard by way of the fence and stood staring at the makeshift beehive he had constructed out of old, rotting wood and twisty-ties. Bees were buzzing all around us.
“What do you think?” he asked.
“That’s a lot of bees,” I said.
“It’s great, too. They’ll produce a pound of honey each month. Well,” he smiled. “Normal beehives do that, but I have a trick up my sleeve. I’ve got two queens.”
“Each hive comes with a queen,” he said, his smile growing bolder. “But, you can order an extra queen.” He leaned in and whispering: “It’s illegal to order just a queen bee, so I ordered this one off the illegal Honey Bee Market.”
“There’s a Black Market for bees?”
“Oh, yes. Very dangerous, too. It’s run by a bunch of Ivy League guys who’ve got a hankering for trouble. Well, anyways, with the extra queen the bees will work twice as fast, producing more honey.”
“Motivation, of course.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “Sounds like a bad idea.”
“You’re such a naysayer,” he neighed.
“I just think your tampering with nature in ways you don’t understand.”
“You’ll see, I’ll make tons of money. More money than I make off my Tourist Attraction.”
“Ah, yes,” I said. “The World’s 3rd Largest Mobile Tangerine.”
Adrian enjoyed businesses that were abnormal. When he was a young boy, instead of having a small lemonade stand, he had a ‘Cardio-Vascular Olympic Gym System’—as the sign read on his little table-stand he had outside. He made sure anyone driving by would leave with the impression that physical fitness could be acquired by strong punches to the left side of the abdomen. Safe to say, his business only lasted till the afternoon, when teenagers taught Adrian a few things about physical fitness.
The World’s 3rd Largest Mobile Tangerine was a mistake on Adrian’s part. He decided to take up Tangerine Farming. He planted a few Tangerine trees here and there in his yard. They all died, but for one. It grew abnormally large, towering all the way up to the heavens. It blossomed to that height in a matter of hours and many, especially the local news, called it “Jack’s Beanstalk.” No one quiet knew how it grew so tall, except one person. Helena Spurs.
Helena Spurs, who is currently residing behind bars due to an incident with a frying pan and a local banker, had once lived in that house. Spurs was an engineer of sorts, always engineering new schemes. One of these schemes was to steal radioactive materials from her job at the Zoicterranean Nuclear Power Plant and planting that power in her backyard, just to see the effects. As she watched the news and saw that tall tree and the large fruits, she knew the effects. The tree—well, what happened to it is another story that I won’t get into now—but one of those large fruits happened to tumble off its perch and land squarely onto Adrian’s hatchback. Thus creating a mobile tangerine. The 3rd largest mobile tangerine.
The media went crazy and showed off this “natural giant” and it’s “mobility” and soon, Adrian’s house swarmed with tourist, snapping pictures of the tree and the tangerine. The tree soon was knocked down by a serious of rather unfortunate and gloomy circumstances, but the tangerine lived on. And so long as the Tangerine lived on, Adrian’s pockets kept growing, charging for admission to his backyard to show the “3rd Wonder of the World.”
But the business was not booming this season. No one wanted to see the tangerine. And so he had to come up with something new. And that was why he had the bees.
It was the next day that I heard it. I was coming out to grab the morning paper when the screams issued from across the street—from Adrian’s backyard. Shoving the paper under my armpit, I dashed—dressing gown and all—into Adrian’s backyard, hopping over the fence with three bounds and a twisted ankle (“Ouch!”).
I saw that he had a few tourists. They were wearing their usual ‘I Love Zoicterranean Seamusks’ T-shirts and they had their phones out snapping pictures. They were snapping pictures as bees, in a massive swarm, ragged a battle of the ages across the air in Beaumont’s backyard. It was a civil war. Bee Brother and Sister against Bee Brother and Sister. You could see it. Two armies of bees, each lead by a single, fat Bee-Queen issuing battle orders from there perches atop two sides of the mobile tangerine. Apparently the Bee-Queen that Adrian had purposed was attempting to take control and had rallied an army up to over throw the old government.
By the time I arrived at the scene, the ground was littered with the fallen. The battle was in its last stages. The tourist’s stopped taking pictures and ducked behind potted plants, as the perimeters of the war expanded.
Adrian was there, chewing on his fingernails nervously.
“They’re destroying the tangerine,” he shouted.
And sure enough, they were. They were flying into it in a hole that they blowout to make a strong, military stronghold.
“What should I do?” he asked.
“You should have listened,” I said, but neither of us knowing exactly what to do, we both retreated to our homes. The tourists stayed, enjoying the footage they were getting on their mobile devices.
The next day, there was a sign nailed to Adrian’s fence. It read:
‘World’s 1st and largest Mobile Beehive’
Can’t say the man wasn’t pragmatic. I saw him, his head poking up over the fence, floating there; grinning.
“Hey,” he said. “I listened to you.”
“I decided the honey thing was a bad idea. So I have this new attraction.” He smiled.
He certainly hadn’t listened to me. I told him the whole things was a terrible idea, but I let out a great sigh and said: “Thanks for listening.”