Day 11 of National Novel Writing Month! I was so bummed I had to stop writing this morning to attend my university’s conference! Argh. So we’ll have to finish this story tomorrow. The Bee Trainer’s revenge is officially in the works!
Day 11, Story 3: The Bee Trainer’s Revenge
Another bright and glorious morning.
A loud morning! Birds chirping, bees buzzing, dishes clanging, voices chattering and laughing—from inside his house! No one ever laughs in his house!
Nacle Themormo rolled out of bed let out a loud and hit the rugged floor with an indignant “Umph!” Donned in his black silk bathrobe and most dower of expressions, he burst through his bedroom door and bellowed, “Show yourself, intruders!” down the stairs.
“No no, Peach, we should set the dishes over there. Oh! Good morning, Ex-Banker!” Bee Trainer appeared, her overalls and yellow shirt smeared with dust and dirt. The cheeriness of her eyes beneath that ridiculous sunhat churned Nacle’s stomach. “And here I had hoped we could finish our surprise before you woke.”
“Surprise?!” Nacle nearly tumbled down the stairs, in such a state was he. From his meager front hall, he could see at least one man on the floor checking the floorboards in his parlor while a child peered in every book upon the shelves. Even the Strawberry Triplets moved in and out of sight, always with a few of his dishes. “Let’s make sure we give those cupboards a good scrubbing!” someone said from the kitchen.
And all the while Bee Trainer—Queen Bee, more like—stood before Nacle with an innocent smile he was all too keen to wipe off her face. “Madame, you and your co-conspirators are trespassing!” He hadn’t rumbled like this since the Board of Governors dared prod him over those extra emergency funds.
“Nonsense! We are simply being good neighbors. You know what they say, ‘one good turn’ and all that, ha ha!” She motioned to his folding chair outside the front door. “When I told everyone about those beautiful new flowers you grew for a fence, they were thrilled as can be. That old fence had been such an eyesore, you know!” And before Nacle knew it, that squat bee woman was nudging him to his chair and had him seated so he had to look up at her, the sun creating a halo round her face as it shown through the hat’s weaving. “You just sit and have a nice cup of tea while we do all the work to make sure your house is ready for the cold months. Winters can be awfully harsh in Pips Row.”
“GOOD MORNING, LATE BANKER!” Plum Grower poked his out the parlor window with what was surely an aeronaut’s helmet and goggles.
Has this town gone mad?!
“WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE YOUR FLOORS DON’T HAVE ANY ROT! DANGEROUS THING, ROTTEN BOARDS! DID YOU KNOW A FEW BOARDS ARE LOOSE? I’LL CHECK FOR ANY DAMAGE AND REPLACE THOSE STRAIGHTAWAY, SHALL I?”
Nacle blanched. Yes, there were loose floorboards. He made them loose for those extra emergency funds. “Plum Grower, you must listen to me and leave those floor—”
Nothing but a blank smile on the bastard’s face. “YOU’RE WELCOME!” Back in he went to ruin Nacle’s floor.
“Good morning, Ex-Banker!” The woman from his kitchen huffed. Four different baskets full of jars hung heavily from her arms. “I am so glad the children and I are cleaning your kitchen. Did you know your cupboards had hardly a scrap of proper food in them! I found all these toxic powders instead. Don’t you worry—I’ll be sure to label every one of them POISON lest a child comes to visit. Can’t be too careful with these precious creatures!”
On cue, the Strawberry Triplets tumbled out with armfuls of paper, paper from Nacle’s study. Oh no.
“Precocious creatures, more like, wouldn’t you say, Pear Grower?” Bee Trainer laughed.
“MISS BEE TRAINER LOOK!” The boys plopped the papers at Nacle’s feet. At last, up close, Nacle could see why they shouted: each boy wore wax earplugs with little acorn caps on the ends. Nacle’s voice—and magic—shriveled in his throat. “HE HAD PICTURES OF BEES THAT LOOKED LIKE YOUR BEES SO WE MADE SURE THEY LOOKED DIFFERENTER.””
Nacle stomped on one pile and crushed it under his folding chair. “Oh dear, these are but, but scribbles, ideas your bees gave—”
“Why Ex-Banker, you should have said something!” One Triplet looked particularly proud of the sketch he handed Bee Trainer. It depicted a honey jar with MORMO HONEY. THEY’LL ALWAYS ASK FOR MORE MO! The honeybee in sketch, which already had a spoon and apron, now also had a giant mustache, googly eyes, and fart gas. “I would be happy to guide you in the honey trade if you’d asked. Have you always had an interest in bees?”
Nacle could feel all his blood pool in his feet. “Well, um, I, er—” He didn’t get a chance to finish. Fruit Seller’s truck pulled up to Nacle’s home and parked. Out hopped that blasted Clover Gardener bubbling with words to the passenger departing after her: a peculiarly formal man in an ill-fitting suit polishing a large monocle.
“And I told Bee Trainer I said, ‘Surely Pips Row has never seen such a breed of flower before, it could be from another land altogether!’ And Bee Trainer, she was so worried for Ex-Banker’s lovely new bushes that she felt it important to check with you at the Exotic Plant Registry lest the frost ruin what surely is a priceless investment for that dear, kind man.”
And just like that, the blood rushed right back up Nacle’s bulbous body and pressed against his temples. He rose, straightened his robe. “Oh dear, I’m not nearly so, so properly attired. Please give me pardon, Sir, so I may ready myself for this meeting.”
For a moment, it looked like Nacle had an impact: The suited man’s knees bent a bit, and his face went slack. But only for a moment, since that cow Clover Gardener grabbed the man’s arm and practically shouted in his ear, “ARE YOU ALL RIGHT, EXOTIC PLANT REGISTRAR?”
The suited man tapped his monocle to his temple. Sparkles erupted from the frame and settled about the prissy man’s head. Tiny whisps of smoke twirled from his cheekbones and ears as he righted himself. “We shall see. I have very, very high standards.” He held the monocle up to his eye and stared hard at Nacle with his now-giant eyeball. “Your name, Sir?”
Plum Grower’s boy appeared with a tea tray, of which everyone primly took a cup. “In this town I am known as Ex-Banker, Sir,” he said with a polite chuckle. “Retired, you know.”
The glass of the man’s monocle flashed with the sun as he hmmm’d and moved on. “So I’ve heard. But if we are to name the breed, it should be done with your name, should it not? Or would you prefer ExBankerus Levandula?”
Well that did admittedly sound a bit silly, even to Nacle.
Who is this peculiar man in the ill-fitting suit, and is Nacle going to find fame after all? I honestly had no clue the story would take this turn a few days ago, but now I see the end in sight and am super excited to reach it tomorrow.
Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!