Friday, October 14, 2005

Chapter 3

Mr. Azure looked at the group.

“This is going to take planning. Nime is very fast. So we need to be fast as well. We need to talk to her. Does anyone have any ideas?”

Caruso lifted up his faded back petal and said, “I don’t see how you could talk so fast. This Nime speaks quicker than these two little sprouts,” gesturing to Illy and Lilly.

Mrs. Scarlet looked around and said, “Well, that is true. I’ve never heard flowers who speak as quickly as you two do. You two have the most amazing gift for talking. Must be because you practice all the time. Can you try to speed yourselves up?”

Illy said, “Well, we might be able to. We could see how fast we could be.”

Caruso let out his laugh that Illy and Lilly didn’t like very much, “Be. Bee. Ha.”

Mr. Azure just watched. And then he said, “Nime seems to be particularly drawn to you, Mrs. Scarlet. Is it possible for you to make yourself more appealing to her, so that she will stay for longer? Something to bring out your lovely red color even more?”

“Why, Mr. Azure, I don’t know, I never knew, I mean...” Mrs. Scarlet blushed deeply.

Illy and Lilly gasped loudly, and truth be told, with a bitter envy, because when Mrs. Scarlet blushed, her color grew so red she looked as red as a poison berry. Or so Caruso said later, when he told them that a poison berry bush had once grown down ”a ways down the hill. “Actually a nice bushy fella. Hated that his berries were poison, but the red was the warning, see? He’d say, ‘I tried to warn em.’ Just the way he was, poisonous.”

As things just so happened, Nime was flying up toward the flowers at that moment. Nime felt bad about not spending any time with the flowers, as bees usually do with the flowers they visit. She would have liked to sit around longer and smell the flowers, but the hive always needed more nectar. Quotas were enforced and difficult to meet. So overall she didn’t feel bad enough to want to miss her quotas.

Nime knew that the flowers liked having her there, because she dusted them with pollen from other patches, which would make their seeds stronger and more varied. She knew that they would need strong seeds because they were so far in the trees shade she doubted any seeds could take up root after this year. Instead, the seeds would have to travel into the pasture below the tree, which was closer to the hive.

Nime also felt bad about pretending to be so fast. She wasn’t really as fast as she made out, she just didn’t have any time to chat. And she liked their nickname for her. Her real name wasn’t really a name at all. Her bee name was Three-Seven-Left-Work-Two-Without, meaning she hatched out of the third section of the hive at seven degrees to the left, and that she was a worker, second class, never given royal jelly as a baby. This was her exact designation, location and circumstance of her birth and life. It was both more than and less than a name.

She preferred Nime.

When she flew up to the flowers that afternoon it just so happened she fully intended to spend a bit more time with them. Yesterday several worker bees saw a hornet, so the hive was abuzz with energy. Various high ranking drones were organizing soldier bees and the hive’s defenses, so nectar quotas were lowered.

Nime flew up to the patch right as Mr. Azure, the quiet blue flower, said something she couldn’t quite hear. Right away, Mrs. Scarlet’s red became Red. So Red that Nime’s eye was entirely captured by it. She landed right on Mrs. Scarlet’s petal, which seemed to positively glow with the Red next to the dun greenery and dirt. Nime was mesmerized. Right away, the pale yellow flowers started talking.

“Hi!” And at the same time the other said, “Wait!” “Wait for just a second!” said one while the other said, “We have something to ask you!”

By then Nime was collecting Mrs. Scarlet’s nectar and capturing her pollen with her hinds legs. There wasn’t very much. The flowers in this patch made a light/sweet nectar, but not a great deal. Nime mostly came for their colors, which attracted her even in the deep shade. “OK. Go ahead. Mind if I watch while you talk?”

Neither Illy nor Lilly had stopped talking. By the end of their story, Nime was sitting on the ground, watching as Mrs. Scarlet’s Red faded to her normal red.

“Well, what can I do? I’m only a bee. I’d like to help you, but I can’t even talk to the tree. I’m too small to fly up to his main trunk and he’s too big to hear me, even if I could.”

The flowers all drooped and looked a bit withered up at that point. Nime gathered up their nectar and thought. “Well, you know. I could help actually. You’re on the south side of the tree. You can’t see it, but there’s a north side. It’s the really really shady side. There’re toadstools that grow right on the tree. They lead all the way up his trunk. Probably they lead all the way up to his ear. I could tell one, then the other, then the other, and so on, until the last one tells the tree.”

Mr. Azure, “That’s incredible! How did you think of that?”

“Well, that’s how our hive does it. If I saw a new flower patch, I’d go back to the hive, and tell 5 people, then they’d each tell 5, and before you know it, the entire hive knows. What is the tree’s name?”

Caruso spoke up, “When he was a little sapling his name was Max. Now he’s probably called Maximum. If he get’s the message, he’ll help us out. He was a good kid.” Here he looked at Illy and Lilly. They each thought he was going to look at them like they were not good kids, so were surprised to find Caruso’s droopy face looking at them kindly, but only for an instant. Then he got stern again, “He’ll help us. He used to be my little big seedling.”

Mr. Azure said, “We need to tell him to move his main south branch to the west by ten degrees. That way we can get the morning sun, and Max won’t lose much sun for himself. I worked it out. So remember the following message: move main south branch west 10 degrees.” Mr. Azure was excited and was about to tell them how he had worked out a plan, but Mrs. Scarlet interrupted, for which Illy, Lilly, and Nime were grateful.

“Well, we have to make it nicer than that, don’t we? We have to say please, don’t we? Otherwise we’ll be thought of as rude. How about, ‘Dear sir, the flowers below are getting no sun. Please move your main south branch ten degrees to the west. This will uncover the morning sun, thank you.’”

Nime asked, “Is that OK? OK with everyone?”

They barely had time to answer, and she buzzed off.


Blogger acumamakiki said...

I really like this story and it's very vivid in my mind. I see everything as though it were a picture book ~ you have a good story telling quality in your writing.

11:19 AM  
Blogger marybishop said...

Am I reading too much into this story or is it strongly allegorical? Whatever, I like it!

6:35 AM  
Blogger Doc NOS said...

A: thanks. I'll keep posting the chapters. I'm realizing it's a bit long.

MB: Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Ilanna said...

You know... it is a bit long but I had a thought this morning.

I wonder if this could be made into a "series" of books - you know.. one that could be read each night of a week... it would be kind of a new type of but it might be interesting. . .

loving the story... it's getting better and better.

6:04 AM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

A series of books is a really good idea. My girl loves the box sets of books that she has. They are actually really great, contained storytelling without the monotony of reading the same thing every night. Or for the older kid/teen....again, series books are really popular right now.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Doc NOS said...

A series? Each chapter broken up? Hum. Oh well, perhaps next time.

10:51 PM  

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