Hooray, I got to write today! I wasn’t sure with lots of family stuff going on, but Barab NEEDED her revenge, by golly. I included just a little of the previous installment before jumping in.
Day 12, Story 3: The Bee Trainer’s Revenge
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. “I suppose not, but, erm, perhaps at the Registry we could—”
“Ah ah ah!” The suited man held his hand before Nacle’s face. “First, I must inspect.” He ran his hand through his grease-backed hair and stepped primly around Nacle towards the bushes, Clover Gardener not far behind, tittering, “As you can see, it is a very unique specimen. In all my years among the flora, I’ve not known anything like it!”
Nacle Themormo struggled to sip his tea—it took a moment to realize his hand was shaking the cup. The Plum Grower boy looked at the shakes, at Nacle. Nacle set the cup down with a cough. “Dear me, it must be this morning chill.” He watched the suited man hold a flower up to his monocle, his face scrunched in study. “I must beg your pardon, Sir, for an appropriate exit,” he tried once again with his voice to win the will of men, but his concentration faltered when a bee came round and landed on his arm. At least Bee Trainer took the bee when he yelped.
Clover Gardener wacked the suited man’s arm for him to respond. “Hmm? Exit? How you can you exit now? This is quite the discovery. Stay a moment, man, I’m nearly done.”
“Here now, Neighbor, you just need a fresh cuppa with some honey to steady yourself. I remember when I first told others I could talk to bees. I nearly fainted from nerves!” Bee Trainer pulled a small jar out of her apron. Her bee landed on her shoulder and cleaned her antennae lazily. “Freshly harvested. Just for you.”
Nacle gulped. He’d thought the Queen Bee just knew all those tricks with smokes and potions to control the animals. She actually talked to them? Then she’d know… “Really, Madame, n-no n-need for me.”
“Nonsense. There are these beautiful red threads through the liquid that I’m sure will create a flavor unlike any Pips Row has ever known. Perhaps you’d like to sample them, Exotic Plant Registrar?”
“Honey from these flowers? Well that is even more interesting.” Round the man spun with monocle to the eye. It sparkled as if glitter filled its glass while he looked at the jar. “Hmm, yes, interesting indeed.” Even the suited man’s chest started to glow behind the coat, a green glow that Nacle felt sure he’d seen before…
And then, of course, Plum Grower just had to come down the stairs. “LATE BANKER, YOU REALLY SHOULD PUT YOUR SAVINGS IN A SAFER PLACE! LET ME TAKE YOUR CHESTS TO THE BANK FOR YOU SO THEY DON’T FREEZE SHUT.”
Nacle Themormo needed to run. He needed to bolt down Honey Street and never look back. But every family stood on that street, smiling at him, waving, talking about how “exciting” this new plant and honey were and they would not leave.
“I MUST BEG YOUR PARDON THIS INSTANT!” He shouted, but in vain. Save for the man in the suit, every male had little acorn plugs in their ears. If only he could dampen the pounding of his own heart like that!
“Exotic Plant Registrar, we already have a name for the honey, just so you know.” Bee Trainer held up the sketch of a honey jar label. “You’ll have to pardon the Strawberry Grower triplets—they’re a mischievous bunch. But Mormorus Lavendula could make for a lovely name for the plant, could it not?” She flashed a bright smile, and the man’s monocle flashed the same bright green as his chest.
In the midst of claps and “We’re so happy for you!” and cheers and “YOU SHOULD BE SO PROUD!” Nacle shoved his way through cars and people that just seemed to multiply as the street seemed to grow and nothing seemed to be just a bloody normal street of a hick Gaptooth town. This should have been his street, his town, just like it should have been his bank—
Green ribbons of magic unspooled at his feet, but he leapt over them—amazing what adrenaline will do—and continued to the intersection, so close, so close to freedom from this accursed street—
“Argh!” A bee was in his ear, practically in his brain! Nacle slapped his head as he spun about, the buzzing incessant, he had to kill it KILL IT! He could feel legs and wings on his ear and he raised his hand to smash it—
The ribbons knotted about his wrists and ankles. “RELEASE ME!” Nacle cried as a final ribbon wrapped around his throat. Just like that, his voice was gone, the bee free to hover before his eyes with a curt buzzy buzz before returning to that insidious Queen Bee.
The cheers and applause continued right on as if Nacle wasn’t floating backwards to where he started. The ribbons placed him into his folding chair and locked him in tight.
All the while, the suited man held his Green Trench badge to his chest. “I always waited to play a bit of a snob,” he joked to Clover Gardener, who held out her hands for the runts earplugs. Now Nacle wished for his own pair as they whooped and screamed down the street, “IT’S OVER! YOU CAN TAKE THEM OFF!”
“You were marvelous,” she said. “But you see now why I warned you about your ears.”
“Oh yes.” The Green Trench tapped the monocle three times and it vanished in an explosion of green threads. “Turns out Nacle Themormo is quite the embezzler in multiple cities thanks to the ‘gift’ in his voice. I studied those cases in the academy. Only one image was ever recorded years back. Got to say, Nacle, you were a tad thinner then.” Nacle growled. “Good thing you folks had a piece of his name and a bee to slow him down.”
Bee Trainer nuzzled the little thing and murmured. “She was so brave. But her family, Officer.”
The Green Trench nodded somberly. “The Flora and Fauna Recovery Squads are on their way. I’m hopeful for the bees, but we’ll have to destroy all the hives and inspect every crop on this street for contamination.
“Every crop?” Plum Grower’s face fell. The excited titters on the street dimmed.
“Better one season, Plum Grower, then all seasons,” Clover Gardener said. “I see your boy’s talking to a Trench now. May as well show them where to start.”
Plum Grower sighed and waved at Nacle. “Enjoy prison, Late Banker.”
Nacle growled and almost managed a “Nnnnot Llllate!” but by then another Green Trench appeared and took hold of the suited man’s ribbons.
The Bee Trainer watched the handoff and said, “Are you familiar with the small hive beetle, Officer?”
The Green Trench took off the suit coat and shook it out. With a puff of smoke it returned to its original state of the long Green Trench coat uniform. “Can’t say I do, Madame, but I’m not long in Pips Row myself.”
“When a hive is weak or ill, the small hive beetle can sneak its way into the honeycomb and lay larvae that will taint the honey. They can even cause some hives to collapse altogether.”
The families of Honey Street parted as more Green Trenches appeared in a circular formation. “Oh boy,” the Triplets cried, “They’re going to do an Arrest Working! Can I hold a badge? Can I? No, me, you always get to hold things!”
The new officer commanded Nacle Themormo’s chair to lift and carry him into the circle. All could see him fight and scream, but none could hear a sound.
The Green Trench nodded thoughtfully at the sight. “If a hive is weak, you say?”
The Bee Trainer cradled her little lovely and smiled. “If a hive is weak.”
Huzzah, they made it! Now I’ve got to work out which story to tell next. Oh dear, where to next?
Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!