Friday, May 6, 2011


Astute readers of the Fortress of Bloggitude will note that the Annals of Animal Antagonism started at #3.  That's because the original two Annals, until recently, were thought lost to history.  However, thanks the diligent work of a crack team of Action-Scientists, they have been recovered at great personal cost.  (Dont' despair, Agent Dillingham, wherever you are.  WE WILL GET YOU BACK!)

The original Annals, the one that started a lifetime of my own personal contentious struggle against the animal kingdom, is next.  For now, enjoy another story about, yep, bees.


So, Molly and I are puttering around Saturday, doing the "What do you wanna do?" "I dunno. What do _you_ wanna do?" routine, when I say, "Hey! The weather is perfect, we're in sunny California, we're young and romantic - let's go on a picnic!" Or words to that effect. We get all excited, pull out Molly's authentic never-been-used picnic basket, go buy some chicken and sides from Boston Market and set out in my convertible for this lovely little park we know by Lake Hollywood. Norman Rockwell, eetch'yer heart out.

"No, YOU eat your heart out, you son of a bitch!"
Man, Normal Rockwell is touchy.

We get to the park. Everything is lovely. People are running around playing with their dogs. Idyllic. A couple of dogs take a little more than casual interest in us - well, our basket, really - but they're friendly pooches and when their owners call them they leave us alone to spread our repast and blanket out in peace. We were just laying out the last of the food when it began.


Now, you should know that as a child I was deathly afraid of bees and wasps. I was never stung, because I was far too smart, not to mention fast, for that. I'd just run like a greyhound at the sight of a buzzing stinging insect. Then, during my second year of college, the phobia just, poof, went away. Not the *fear*, precisely, just the unreasoning terror of the little demons. I was still very nervous around them, a condition I still feel is perfectly rational, but could control myself and stay calm.

Or so I thought.

Even BATMAN is afraid of bees, okay?

One bee started flying around our picnic. I shooed him away. No big deal. Bees are pretty docile timid insects. But he wouldn't go away! He just kept buzzing back in. Molly and I are both waving our arms ineffectually at it. Then it dawns upon me that she's waving at a different bee than I am. Now there's three bees! "Quick! Let's move out of the grass over to that dirt spot over there!" But by the time I move the basket and some items over there and come back for the rest, there are bees crawling over the plates of food! And now they're following us to the new location. BEES!!!! THOUSANDS OF THEM, EVERYWHERE, BLOCKING MY VISION IN ALL DIRECTIONS!!! RUN! RUN TO THE CAR! SAVE YOURSELVES!!!

Hey, they could be KILLER BEES.  You don't know.

Well, we managed to get our stuff out of there by shoving the plates of food into a plastic bag and booking it for the car. Since we've both had about one bite each, we decide to try the picnic again in another locale. We drive up Mulholland to the spot you've all seen in a dozen movies - people parked looking down over the lights of LA - only this is daytime. There's no place to sit, so we spread out the picnic on the hood of my car and finally settle down to enjoy our meal. And enjoy it we do, for about fifteen minutes. And then it began.


The same damn progression as the first time. One bee. Two. Three. SWARM!!!! Only these beasts are more stubborn than the others. They won't shoo away! They're crawling on the food and they're just ignoring my waving arms. They're crawling into the basket! They're crawling into the plastic bags we're putting the food into!

Now, I want you to picture me, if you will - a staid, relatively calm, in control sort of guy - trying to do the simple task of moving a picnic basket and supplies from the hood of my car about three feet over to the back seat of my car. The convertible top is down. I don't even have to open a door. The problem is that my while my forebrain is saying "Pick up the basket. Ignore the three bees that flew into it. Place it in the back of the car," my lizard brain is saying, "Flying death from above! We're all going to die! Weapons are useless against them! RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN!!!!!"

Artist's rendition of my perceptions.

The combined result of these conflicting commands is that I do, indeed, manage to pick up the basket, blanket, etcetera and move it into the back of the car, but I do it in very jerky, Frankenstein's Monster sort of movements, while making sounds like, "Nnnghh!" and "Aaannyyghhh!"

We hightail it out of there as fast as the curvy deathtrap roads of the Hollywood Hills will let us. Meanwhile, I’m flinching at every sound I hear behind me because I KNOW, just KNOW that there are bees still inside of the basket and bags and probably crawling around the upholstery of the Celica waiting for just the right moment to spring on me.

This is Swarm.  He's a Nazi.  And he's made of bees.
I'm just sayin'.

Molly asks me where I want to go next and all I can croak out is a whimpering, sad, little, "Home."

We finished our picnic in our living room, basking in the glow of incandescent lighting and watching the loveliness of nature... on our television set.

And THAT'S the only way I'll ever have a picnic again.


Steam Me Up, Kid said...

I find that targeting the bees' self-esteem usually discourages them. Next time, try seething through your teeth and whispering, "Damn you. Damn you to hell." Or, a condescending "Get a life!" works as well.

Hudson said...

Holy crap, Batman! I'm a big fan, SMUK! Hope you enjoy the site. There's more Annals coming up soon.