Thursday, January 27, 2011

To Bee or not To Bee

by Madeleine Kando

Once upon a time there was a colony of beautiful, healthy and admirable bees. They lived together peacefully, each little worker bee content with her lot of gathering nectar for their graceful and fecund queen bee. All summer long they enjoyed the sunshine and the intoxicating scent of flowers, feeling the warmth of the sun on their furry backs and the ever growing weight of the pollen on their strong little thighs. Life was good and if they had been inclined to believe in a God they would have knelt and preyed in gratitude for their short but blissful life.

They didn't mind working hard. Feeding the queen was their duty but also their salvation. They knew that it was in their power to withhold food, by which act the queen would die. This, the queen was also keenly aware of and demanded but also gave. Gave many many eggs, day in and day out.

The worker bees had been told to feed a few of their larvae a very special diet so that these annointed individuals would become the chosen ones, the ones that would fertilize their adored queen in order to produce even more sisters, who in turn would feed more larvae, etc, etc. ad beefenitum.

This particular summer the weather was unusually cold and grey and many of the flowers died. Our friends in the hive searched for pollen but there were just not enough flowers. Life became hard for our poor bees. They began to wonder why they put up with all this flying back and forth, cleaning the hive, feeding the young, giving in to every whim of their demanding queen.

One very charismatic worker bee that went by the name of ‘Barbee’ (which rhymes with ‘Sara-Lee’) who previously had won a beauty contest, began to send out beemails to her sisters: 'Listen' she said 'Why do we work so hard all our lives? Why should we feed those lazy drones and our overbloated queen? I say to you: let's take matters in out own hands, every bee for herself!'

So many of the previously slim and industrious worker bees started to put on weight, lost their ability to fly, and there was a mass stampede to the royal chamber. The poor queen couldn’t handle all the attention. Bags started to appear under her big brown eyes from lack of sleep.

The beebies (I mean babies) were malnourished and started to die off. The queen, who was supposed to get fed every minute, only got fed once a day. She started to loose weight and lost her ability to lay eggs.

Soon the hive began to smell pretty bad. The remaining loyal worker bees who protested against these new developments were called traitors and maps were handed out with crosshairs to target them.

The converted worker bees turned to their newly apppointed leader and said: 'Barbee, we have done what you told us to do. We looked out for ourselves. Now what do we do? We don't particularly like the smell around here. Are we better off than before?' Barbee, who was very good at stirring up trouble but didn't have the brains to rule a hive, was at a loss for words. Even so she said: 'I know someone who might help us'.

She beemailed her distant cousin twice removed in Africa. Her name was ‘Killemall’. As soon as Killemal arrived she declared herself the new queen. She beemailed all her African sisters to join her and as you might expect they formed the new ruling class of the colony. All the worker bees were put on a restricted diet. They had to work twice as hard as before and the ones that protested were killed. Since these twice removed relatives were lazy, aggressive and mean by nature, they didn’t take good care of the hive. No new beebies were born. Soon, there wasn’t much left of the beautiful and healthy colony. The cells were empty and neglected. As they had done so often in the past, the Killemalls looked around, decided it was time for them to take up the offer of yet another gullible twice removed relative who had beemailed them for help.

Off they went leaving the empty hive to dangle from a branch, soon to be covered with snow, never to be inhabited again. leave comment here