Johnny America


A Boil­ing Fuzz


Let’s go ahead and ad­mit that the bees start­ed it all. Think back to when those bees came. Re­mem­ber? You were up­set at my black socks be­cause I had shorts on.

“No, no, no,” you said and tried to take them off. “No black socks with shorts.”

I pulled my foot away. You grabbed my socks. Your fin­gers all over my an­kles. There was a brief love-strug­gle and then we both laughed.

You tugged your shirt back over your bel­ly. “No, no,” you said again when I still would­n’t take them off. “First the lizards, now you want to wear this to the in­ter­view? I’m se­ri­ous. We can’t keep goof­ing around. Off!”

“The lizards were sup­posed to get rid of the spi­ders in our bed­room.” I said. “They were to take care of you. You said no chem­i­cals. My so­lu­tion was organic.”

“One damn spi­der,” you said. “Just one. A shoe would have fin­ished him.”

Af­ter that I went out­side and that’s when I saw them. I yelled back in, “There’s a bunch of bees!”

You did­n’t be­lieve me. You nev­er be­lieved me. “Shut up,” you said.

“Come look.”

You stood on the oth­er side of the slid­ing glass door wear­ing one of my shirts. You put both hands on the glass in front of me, lean­ing to­ward me, but afraid to come out. I want­ed to put my palms on the prints yours made there.

When you saw all the bees you pulled your hands from the glass. Your prints lin­gered. Bees a boil­ing fuzz on the wa­ter fil­tra­tion sys­tem, a yel­low buzzing sponge. They must have set up shop in there. I did­n’t no­tice any­thing out of whack when I put the salt in the fil­tra­tion sys­tem the week be­fore. I opened up the top of the met­al box, re­moved the plas­tic lid and poured in the heavy bag of salt with­out ever think­ing once of bees. You would think I’d have no­ticed some­thing. I poured the salt in every week like I was sup­posed to. I said this to you.

“You fail to no­tice a lot of things ac­tu­al­ly.” A lit­tle huff of contempt.

I told you I did­n’t do it, that I did­n’t know where the bees came from. I on­ly let loose the lizards. The lizard loos­ing was done with love, I added.

That’s when you start­ed stand­ing away from me. Right then. I no­ticed it then. A pulling away like when I ac­ci­den­tal­ly fart in front of your friends and every­one looks at their drinks like ice is sud­den­ly fuck­ing amaz­ing. Lat­er, I no­ticed it again at the gro­cery store. Re­mem­ber buy­ing all those gal­lon jugs of nat­ur­al spring wa­ter? We both wor­ried that bee shit would leak in­to our wa­ter pipes and when we took a show­er it would end up get­ting in­side of us some­how and we’d nev­er get it out? You had dreams of bees snarled in your hair. Bees bulging and stut­ter­ing in your fore­arms. I stood by the scan­ner and you stood by the mag­a­zines while the gal­lon jugs slid by one af­ter an­oth­er. They had toy igua­nas on the shelf next to the reg­is­ter. I held it flap­ping about in the air at the end of a sil­ver chain. You nev­er looked. The scan­ner beeped and beeped as each jug went by.

In the car on the way home, it was qui­et. I could on­ly hear you breath­ing. So I asked what you had been read­ing at the mag­a­zine stand.

“Home and Gar­den.” you said. “An ar­ti­cle about pesticide.”

The car went back to be­ing qui­et. I guess we for­got about the ra­dio. We were both afraid, you and I.

Filed under Fiction on September 16th, 2008

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