Lucky, Lucky Star

Friday, June 22, 2007

Here's a little song I wrote, you might want to sing it note for note--

Only, less song, more story.
It's the one I submitted for the Iron Pen 24-hour writing competition.
If I win, I get to read it in front of an audience.
I doubt I'll win.
I wrote it in about 30 minutes and didn't even edit it before printing it and rushing to turn it in...
Hey, I'm a minimalist, what can I say?

Bee Charmer

I don’t know why I told them I was a bee charmer. I have always hated putting on airs and tend to wear them like a child in her father’s Sunday shoes. But the truth was, whenever a stinging creature got in the house, I could let it walk onto my outstretched hand and carry it outside. I never got stung by them. I liked to think it was because they could sense how much I wanted to fly, but it was probably because I used soft movements and didn’t bear pollen. But I did—I told them I was a bee charmer, and so that is how we ended up in the clearing on that thickly hot day.

We ran at first—through the woods behind my house, over moss carpeted rocks and under low-hanging pine branches. The ferns tickled our bare ankles and calves, and we were exhilarated for a few moments. But then the heat found us, slipping down through the shadows of the trees and winding around our chests, creeping up our necks. We slowed to a jog, then a walk, all of us panting. The clearing was still far off, much closer to Rt. 73, which paced the river on its race to the ocean than to Westbrook Street where my house was. We pressed forward, through trees and brush that kept stacking up in front of us, blocking the way.

We didn’t talk much as we walked, and the mantle of a Dare settled over us. It hadn’t been issued as a dare, but I knew that if I was able to reach into that beehive and retrieve a golden, dripping honeycomb, I would be respected and admired like no other. I would be the queen of this little hive of bees in my neighborhood.
When we burst out of the darkness of the forest, the sun was blinding and we tripped over each other as we found our pace again. We walked to the giant tree at the far end of that wide, smooth field. It was remarkably unhilly, for such a rolling, rambling place as this, and the flatness made the tree seem larger. The buzzing grew as we approached, reaching out for us. The hive hung heavily from a branch I could almost reach, and the air hung heavily from the bottoms of the summer-scorched sky.

When we stood in the shadow of the tree I turned to face them.

“I am a bee charmer.”

They just looked at me, unimpressed, anxious about the possibility of getting stung. The tree’s trunk was wider than my stretched-out arms, and the lowest branch was too high to help me climb. I felt a thrill of getting-out-of-it, but then one of the older boys offered me a leg up. His ragged red hair and his scrawny arms gave him the look of a lost scare crow, as he stumbled toward manhood. I shrugged and stepped up, onto his offered thigh.

They all held their breath as I pressed my fingers into the opening on the large grayish mass. The buzzing was muffled with my hand there and the silence was as heavy as the heat.

I was chanting to myself, “The bees love me, the bees love me,” and when I felt my fingers curl around a section of honeycomb, I pulled it loose, withdrew my arm and leapt off the boy’s leg in one fluid moment. I was running for the forest again before the other kids even blinked.

Most of them got at least one sting, but I got none. The honey was sweeter and stickier than any other honey I’d ever seen. I licked every drop of it from the crooked section of comb and placed the empty piece in my window to dry.
I was right. I am a bee charmer.

Good night, sweet ones!