I exhaled holy shit as a cloud of drones erupt and swarms toward our direction. The hive that dangled off a tree, now a remnant pile on the bottom of the gulch. Randall ran yelling, I think I have one in my shirt. Fuck I do! Brah, i think it’s on your neck, I reply trying to keep up with Randalls pace. Shit they’re everywhere, Tony screams behind me. We hastily scramble up the embankment of the gulch and into a backyard. I yell at my two friends scurrying behind a derelict house, Hurry up and find the hose!
I slap myself silly attempting to shoo bees away from my face and spontaneously breaking into interpretative dance. Randall now shirtless, frantically tries to find the end of a coiled up garden hose with his mouth closed and lips tucked in, hoping to avoid a former traumatic fat lip incident. Tony, busy defending the onslaught with one hand while the other hand turns the spigot. Picture Three Stooges doing an Abbott and Costello routine while Benny Hills intro plays in the background. With a bit of stinging profanities whizzing by, Tony gets the water running. Randall gasps for a breath of air as jets of water spray around us. I stop wishing for time to rewind five minutes and check my baseball cap that had slipped my mind during the chaos. Wow, a bee without its stinger. My forehead begins to hurt but is quickly subdued by the infectious laughter of three idiots.
I was the expert of adding salt to a wound but if shit ever hit the fan, I would somehow end up as the fan.
Summer of 1990. Country side with a full tank of gas, a sunny afternoon and three unsupervised teenagers. We each had a purpose. We didn’t need cars and were too young to drive anyway. Legally. Tony had his families ATV used for farming but we used it for everything but. Randall had the innate ability to passively instigate something and get someone else in trouble. I was the expert of adding salt to a wound but if shit ever hit the fan, I would somehow end up as the fan. Like I said, we each had a purpose.
Hauling 270 pounds shared three ways, the ATV shuttled us twigs around miles of unharvested sugar cane. We passed wild boar and peacocks that disappeared in the shadows of Macadamia farms. Our shenanigans that day, brought us to the edge of a gulch, adjacent to a tall mango tree where we gathered a quick snack of ripe fruit. Randall points to the bottom of the gulch and says, Last one down is the loser.
With a confident throw, I sail my stone through the center of the hive.
I whip my mango seed at a rock, protesting my loss. Stupid fruit slowed me down. Our next challenge was follow the leader. Leaping from boulder to boulder, avoiding stagnant pools of water that sat unabridged. Green dragonflies sometimes hovered in our path. Seemingly enjoying the human-toad mimicry. Randall stops hopping and throws a head glance at the ridge of the gulch.
Tony picks up a stone and throws it at the top of the ridge. Just finishing my last boulder hop, I ask him what he’s trying to hit. Randall thinks we can’t hit that from here. Oh really, my glib tongue silently replies. I eye the ridge and spot the target. A fully formed beehive dripping with active drones. Sweet. I trumped my friends with my precision and ability to throw far which is why I probably played outfield in Little League. I search for a worthy rock. Found one. I inhale and swing my left leg forward. With a confident throw, I sail my stone through the center of the hive.