Bee in the Car
By Curt Locklear
First of all, I’m allergic to bees. That’s very important to this story. I carry an epinephrine pen with me wherever I go, because a bee sting could cause me to kick the bucket. Lucky me. Secondly, my neighbor called me a wimp because I couldn’t lift a tree limb that had fallen in my yard. Not anything I’m proud of, but I would probably be featured on the “Lives of the Wimpy and Not Famous” TV show. I’ve come to grips with that and try to live my life in my own limp, deflated way, avoiding controversy wherever I can.
My story begins on a sunshiny day. Fluffy clouds floated above me as I drove along a peaceful country road. I rolled down the window to feel the cool breeze and smell the wild flowers and do all that communicating with nature that I have heard that we are all supposed to do from time to time. The sun was, well… warm. The birds were soaring, and, besides the flowers, the roadkill was smelling. I felt fully connected to nature.
Being in such a state of euphoria and in no particular hurry, I was not bothered at all to see the sheriff’s car parked by a field of sunflowers, clocking speeders.
As fate would have it (and you know how fate is. It’s never nice. It just gives you a wedgie and laughs in your face.), just as I passed the sheriff’s car, a bee flew in my window hovering right in front of my eyes, sizing me up to see if I was a good enough sting victim to die for – a tough decision for bees because they die right after they sting you. The stinger pulls loose from their insides… and everyone knows what happens. But it serves them right.
I guess he thought he would have some fun torturing me and landed on my arm. By this time, I’m swerving left, then right, off the road, busting the barbed wire fence, and plowing into the field of sunflowers, mowing them down, and sending cawing blackbirds into terrorized flight.
The bee flitted left and flitted right. I did not want to stop. I wanted the wind to suck the bee out the window. If I stopped, he could land and sting me.
I swerved hard left crossing the two lane road, narrowly avoiding an oncoming SUV and a furniture mover semi.
Determined to send the bee elsewhere on its errant flight, I continued cutting the wheel hard right and left, weaving back and forth across the road.
Suddenly, the bee was gone. Relieved, I slowed my car to a stop on the road shoulder. I looked down at the floorboard, then up at the ceiling. No bee! “Yes!” I shouted, and did a fist pump several times.
Right about then, I noticed the sheriff’s vehicle, blue and red lights flashing, parked behind my car. The deputy, a big,muscle-building type, spoke into his loud speaker, “Please place both hands on your steering wheel.” In what seemed like eternity, he finally exited his vehicle with a cautious, yet commanding attitude. I could tell by the expression on his face, partially obscured by dark shades, that he considered this event a little more serious than the usual traffic stop.
He stepped up beside my already open window. He did not lean in, but kept one hand firmly on his holstered revolver. “Sir,” he stated with a stringent manner that stood in exact opposition to the polite word. “May I see your driver’s license and insurance, please?” His teeth gritted.
I fumbled for my license in my wallet. I handed it to him and then dug the insurance card from the glove compartment and handed that to him as well. He pretended to look at them. I am sure he was watching me with at least one eye.
“You see, deputy,” I was struggling with just how to explain my behavior as the realization of what I had just done began to sink in. “I’m allergic to bees, and there was a…”
He had no intention of listening to my explanation.
In the corner of my eye, I saw a huge, tattooed bulk of a man with a red baseball cap on his head walking quickly towards my car. The cap read, “Yes, I Do Own the Road.” His face was as red as the cap.
He hollered, “Is this the jerk that almost got me killed and totally demolished my furniture load?” I could tell immediately that he was the truck driver with whom I narrowly missed colliding.
He pushed past the deputy and stuck a beefy arm in the window. I felt his sweaty, hairy arm brush my face. The deputy would have none of that. He deftly hoisted the trucker’s arm and pushed him away from my car. “None of that, sir,” he said with menacing calm. “I’m going to have to ask you to step away from the vehicle.”
He turned and faced the man. He dropped his hand to his nightstick on his belt and, with one smooth motion, swung it up, pounding the end in his other hand. My license and insurance form flew from his hand, and the breeze sent them sailing down the road.
I felt relief and panic at the same time. Relief that the intimidating deputy was ready to defend me, and panicked that that tiny bug had thrown my world into chaos. The deputy pointed his nightstick at the trucker. “Back away, sir. Back away.”
The trucker was stubborn. He held his ground, hands on his hips. He feinted twice towards the window. The deputy stepped sideways and interceded. He began to say to the trucker, “If you don’t back away, sir…” when the bee reappeared right at my nose level.
Panic again seized me. Without thinking, I sought escape. I pushed my door open violently. In doing so, I slammed the unsuspecting deputy in the back, knocking him to the ground.
I scrambled out of the car, running in circles, jumping and flinging my arms around like chimpanzees do in the old Tarzan movies. I caught site of the trucker. His eyes were wide, and he was backing away warily. I’m guessing he thought I was on some sort of hallucinogenic drug or escaped from a mental institution.
The deputy was up in no time, stout heart that he was, defender of my life and due comrade, and he duly knocked me down face first to the pavement. He knelt on my back flattening my face and arms against the hot asphalt.
“Ooh, ouch! It’s hot!” I shouted, struggling. For such a pretty day, the pavement was burning hot. I began kicking my legs in a vain effort to break free from the heat.
“Lie still,” the deputy shouted.
He grabbed my left arm. He cuffed it. I waved my right arm about, eluding his grasp. “No, I don’t want to be arrested?”
The trucker came up. He kicked my legs. He kicked my rear end.
“Step away, sir,” the deputy said.
Later I would feel a little sorry for the deputy’s predicament. But only a little.
At length, he attained my free arm and cuffed it to the left one and dragged me to my feet up against the side of my car.
He spoke into his shoulder mic, “122 here. Request assistance, county road 114 by the Miller farm.” There was some crackling language in response. I couldn’t believe it. Me, a man who would not hurt a fly…maybe I’d hurt a bee, but for me, the deputy needs backup.
With his free hand, he checked my pockets and the outside of my pants legs. Then he swung me around and checked the inside of my pants. I have always wondered why they check the inside of the pants’ legs. I’ve never seen pants with pockets on the inside of the legs.
He spun me around and slammed my back against the car.
“But, sir,” I tried to explain, “There was a bee.” He was not listening.
Just then, the trucker who had been circling looking for just the right moment saw his opportunity and swept in for a swift kick to my groin. He erred in his trajectory, however, and his leg flew up catching the deputy square in the ribs. The deputy did not flinch. Time stood still as the trucker backed away in slow motion, his attitude an apologetic one. The deputy turned his eyes in a tightly controlled way, slow and steady, and gave the trucker such a look. It was a look like that guy in the movies that says, “I’ll be back.”
The trucker continued to back up just as another deputy’s car pulled up. That deputy exited. “What you need, Clint?” he said. Of course, my deputy was named Clint.
Clint bent over, retrieved his hat and sunglasses from the pavement and donned both.
I was mumbling, “A bee, a bee, a bee.”
“Stop your stuttering, son.” Clint grabbed hold of my wimpy shoulder with a grip like a vise. Clark!” he shouted back to the other deputy, “I’m takin’ this one in. Reckless driving, resisting arrest, and I’ll think of some others. You arrest that guy.” He pointed at the trucker.
“What for?” said Clark.
“Assaulting an officer.”
“It was a bee, a bee, a bee,” I kept saying.
Deputy Clint shoved me in the back of his patrol car.
“Now, you best lie down,” he snarled. “I’m going to get you back to the jail fast.”
“A bee, a bee…” I continued.
“You can tell it to the judge. And you can call your Aunt Bea when we get there.” He was seriously not listening to me. He slid into the driver’s seat and burned rubber racing me to the jail. He read me my rights. “You have the right to remain silent…”
I didn’t hear it all because I was rolling around so hard in the back seat.
When we arrived at the sheriff’s office, I never gave up trying to tell everyone I could that it was a bee’s fault, but no one listened there either.
They put me in a cell with two bunks that were attached to a brick wall. The cell maintained one nicely cleaned toilet, a sink and a copy of the daily newspaper. A barred window high in the wall had a little yellow, flowered valance across the top. All the comforts of home.
I sat on one of the beds, my head in my hands. A short, rotund female guard with a sweet face walked up. “Did you ever get a hold of your Aunt Bea?” she said.
I shook my head, too weary to explain.
“Well, let me know if you need anything.” Her voice had a lilting sing-song tone.
“Wow,” I said to myself. “Room service.”
After about an hour of feeling sorry for myself, I rose to look at the newspaper. The headline screamed, “County Cracks Down on Reckless Drivers.” Swell. I arrived at just the right time.
I wandered aimlessly to the high barred window. I stood on my tiptoes. I saw a blue, cloudless sky, a jet stream, and… in one corner of the overhang, a huge bee hive, writhing with bees.
I stepped back. “Whew,” I said, “at least, they’re outside.” Then I took notice of the number of dead bee bodies lying about the window sill and on the floor. And to my amazement, through a crack in the wooden frame of the window, a bee crawled, flitted a little, then landed on top of the sill.
Before my panic reached fever pitch, I heard the clang of the cell door behind me.
The sweet rotund female guard said, “Looks like you get some company.”
In walked the trucker. The guard departed. As I backed away, the trucker’s sour look turned to a menacing grin. He began pounding his fist into his hand.
I think he figured he was already in jail, so he didn’t care if he got one more assault charge filed against him. His bulk loomed over me. I sank back against the wall. “I’m sorry,” I said, “I didn’t mean to.”
He hovered over me. I could smell his rank body odor and onion breath. I could feel his body tensing to pummel me into a pulp fine enough to make paper mache.
With my eyes closed, in desperation, I gave one last plea. “It wasn’t my fault, it was…”
“A bee! A bee!” he shouted. He began running around the cell, jumping and waving his arms like those chimpanzees in movies. “I’m allergic to bees!” he cried.
I opened my eyes enough to see the trucker climb on top of a bunk like he was afraid of a mouse. I felt his pain. I knew his fear. I also knew that the bee could at any time come after me. I rose stealthily to my feet. The trucker looked at me with pleading eyes. “I don’t want to die,” he moaned. I don’t have my epinephrine. Aah, aah, go away.” He swatted continuously.
Ever so slowly I inched forward. The bee had landed on the trucker’s arm. He froze, his eyes wide. I seized upon an idea. I gathered up the newspaper, folded it twice, good and tight. With all my force, I brought the newspaper club down on the bee. The bee tumbled, flattened, to the floor.
The trucker looked at me with amazement. “You saved my life.”
What could I say? I nodded.
“Okay, dude. Friends now?” He extended his hand to me. I shook it, and pounded the rolled paper like a nightstick against my leg, and gave him a look similar to Clint’s.
“Alright, dude,” the trucker said. “How can I repay you? It didn’t take much thought. “You can tell the guard that you know it was a bee that attacked me and caused me to drive recklessly.
He paused a moment with an incredulous look. Then he shrugged his shoulders. “Ok. Guard!” he called, “Guard!”
The sweet lady guard entered the hall. “Something I can do for you, honey?”
“Yes,” said the trucker with intensity, “I’m willing to fill out an affidavit that the only reason this man drove recklessly was to avoid being stung by a lethal bee.”
Right at this moment, Clint strode up. He nodded at the guard and said, “I heard what you said.” To me, he said, “Looks like it’s your lucky day, you little wimp. Mr. Miller is not going to file charges for you tearing up his fence and his field of sunflowers. He said the insurance company offered him twice what the crop was worth. And if this guy will fill out that affidavit, looks like you’re free to go.”
With my eyes wide in amazement, the guard opened the cell door, escorted me back to the front to get my things, helped me sign out, and told the clerk to drop the charges. I was free to go. The trucker, named Bob, sends me emails whenever he’s at home, and I return a message to him. We’ve become quite close.