Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The End of Summer Bites

All I wanted to do was wack some weeds before my wife’s happy hour guests arrived.  So I fired up the ECHO and started shredding some grass, thinking about the cold beers waiting for me in the cooler.

            I was just about done, finishing the area around a large deck box that we keep below the desk for lawn games, e-z ups, bee spray, etc., when my legs started burning.

            At first I thought it was just dirt and pieces of grass pelting me, so I continued on. But then the pain got worse, and I looked down and saw a cloud of bees coming after me from beneath the deck box, with three of the nastier ones stinging the shit out of my calves.

            I dropped the wacker and got the hell out of there.

            I grabbed an ice cube from the cooler, along with a well-deserved beer, and from a safe distance, iced my leg as I watched the hundreds of bees swarming around the deck box. And I DO mean hundreds. I have no problem exaggerating the truth for comic effect, but this is no hyperbole.  There were hundreds of them. Hundreds of angry, vengeful bees, all looking for the guy who just wacked their house.

            Fortunately, they didn’t get a good look at me, which was unfortunate for my three-year old son and the kids of the Happy Hour crowd that would soon be arriving.  All expecting to play croquet, swing on the swings, and go in the pool.  Worried that they would become unwitting victims of the bees’ revenge, I figured I better “take care” of the problem.

            Problem was, all the spray was in the box that they were protecting. After briefly flirting with the idea of creating some sort of flame thrower, I wisely decided to go to the store and buy some more spray.  Only, rather than go to Home Depot, where the “good” stuff was, I thought I’d save some time and go to a closer place so that I could get back and spray the bees before the kids got there.

            Fifteen minutes, and dollars, later, I was back, armed with three cans of foaming spray that promised to kill on contact.

            They lied

            I stood about six feet away and sent a mighty blast of foam towards the bees, covering them, the grass, and the side of the box in a shaving cream like substance – and then watched in horror as they ate their way out of it and zoomed after me. WTF?

            I had assumed that “on contact” meant instant death, but maybe I was wrong. So I grabbed another beer and waited, from a safe distance, to see if they would start dying shortly after contact.
            They didn’t

            By then the kids had started arriving, so I went into the garage and dug out the roll of yellow caution tape that I rarely get to use, and strung a protective plastic barrier between the bees and the rest of the yard. I warned the kids to stay away from the area, helped myself to another beer, and began plotting my nighttime raid on the hive, when I’ve repeatedly been told, the bees would be dormant and easy to slaughter.

            They weren’t

            Around nine o’clock, and nine beers later (remember when I said I had no problem exaggerating for comic effect?), I crept towards the deck box and slowly opened it, silently removing the can of good bee spray that was inside. So far, so good, I thought. Not a single bee or sting in sight.

            I figured the nest was under the box, and really wanting to get them good, decided I better move it before napalming them. This proved easier said than done, since as I’ve mentioned, it was full of heavy things like horseshoes, bocce sets, an e-z up canopy, gallons of torch fuel, and who knows what else. Point is, with a flashlight in one hand and killer bee spray in the other, my little hip shoves weren’t having much effect on moving the box.

            So I put the stuff down and gave a might heave. The beam of the flashlight in the grass let me know I had made a BIG mistake. The bees were not sleeping, and in fact, were quite ready for me, and before I could grab my spray, they were swarming and stinging me again.

            I ran up onto the deck, swearing and swatting and ripping my t-shirt off in the process, after one bee managed to get inside and started stinging my chest.

            “What ya doin’?” one of my wife’s friends called out from her seat at the firepit, as the rest of them hooted and catcalled at my unannounced strip show.

            “Bees,” I stammered. “I was spraying the bees…”

            “And you, what?” she interrupted. “Decided to offer them as much exposed flesh as possible?”

            Their cackling and heckling broke something in me, and next thing I know,  I'm making a beeline through the yard for the dropped flashlight and spray. Heedless of the bees, I picked the can up and calmy walked back to the deck, where I unleashed a torrent of spray into the newly exposed hive.

            “Death from above!” I shouted (not really. Remember that comic effect thing?) as I emptied the can and tossed it down into the ruins of their home. “That’ll teach you a lesson I will never forget!”


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