Monday, 20 June 2005

Unfounded Fears & Other Scientific Euphemisms According to Marion Ellis, an "Extension Apiculture Specialist" at the University of Nebraska, there are some things I shouldn't be afraid of, among them swarming bees. Yes, but... The playful screels and screechs of unsupervised children have been replaced by the pained screams of unsupervised children who've decided to play near the swarming bees. Even with the A/C unit blasting in my face I imagine I hear the low buzz of tens of thousands of bees describing pointless circles around my apartment. Were it not for my cowardice I would egress and observe what Mr. Ellis calls "one of the most beautiful and interesting phenomena in nature" in more detail. Alas! I am a coward. When the tableaux of bees and bees and bees presents itself before me, I seek shelter in the nearest building not over-filled with pheromone-happy bees drawn to the scent of their queen. I close the front door. All the windows. The vent above the oven. I open the closet door. I take out the duct tape. I rip strips from it and place them around the doors, windows and vents I've closed. I hyperventilate. I breath in a bag. To no avail. I pass out. I dream of work-a-day lives in futuristic utopian communes. I watch as workers crowds the suspense-bridges tethered by invisible lines to unseen columns and listen to the gentle hum of their morning mumblings. I enter the moving throng and jostle elbows with the other workers as the bridges below my feet judders in harmony with the low buzz of their uncaffeinated conversation. I recall the supple undulations of the earthquake, magnitude 5.3, which rattled shelves and startled cats the previous afternoon. Subdued beneath the feet of my brethren, the bridge begins to yield. I race for the rails but so do all my brethren. The gentle hum of moments previous volumes louder until it crests and then the drones' inverted drones sound a panicked cacophony echoing their moral discord and as they run pell-mell on the faltering bridge--its invisible lines snapped, its unseen columns fallen--I stare into their faces and see though legion only one. I grab one by the buckle of his drab brown unitard and scream "Who are all you? Who are all you who must by Our Leader's ordinance die this day?" He turns to me. One by one they all turn to me. In unison they say, "We are Dr. Marion Ellis." I awake, shaking.

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