|To Bee or Not to Be (standard:other, 4710 words)|
|Author: Tom Soukup||Added: Feb 21 2003||Views/Reads: 2120/1587||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A very finnicky gardener finds that he's met his match with some very nasty bees.|
TO BEE OR NOT TO BE By Tom Soukup Silver threads glistened in the midmorning sun. They crisscrossed in almost perfect symmetry, and honey drops of dew hung at each intersection of the fragile thread. The tiny moth struggled, but the sticky grip of the trap had done its job all too well. The remaining bits of energy had been hopelessly drained from the prey and there was little doubt that the silent predator rested somewhere nearby, neither in abandonment nor attack but just waiting . . . lying low and waiting for the right moment. Nestled in the corner of the web was a small black sphere, maybe a fallen seed from the withering flowers that towered above. It too appeared caught among the tacky strands and, though not a part of the dietary wishes of the currently vacant spider, it was trapped as completely as the moth who approached its last breath but inches away. And then it moved. One leg uncurled, then another to be followed by the rest until the sphere became the spider and it sat as motionless as it had been in its earlier form. It moved again, cautiously at first, one leg after another finding skillful purchase along the tightrope of the web, approaching the dying moth. Its meal. Jeremy watched in wonder, his face no closer than he needed it to be to witness the event. He pulled back for a moment thinking that the spider had stopped to look at him as well, maybe to plan some different kind of attack on this leviathan intruder, giving up on the insignificant moth to tackle a more challenging prey. He felt a chill travel down his arms and a flush cross his cheeks as anger of that indignity pushed away the fear. The spider ignored him though, and positioned itself next to and above its meal. The moth shuddered for the last time as the spider covered its body, bridging the slender form, dividing its legs neatly on each fluttering wing, and crouched low for the murderous sting. "You son of a . . ." Jeremy whispered. And he pushed the button on the spray can, flooding the air with the pungent odor of the insecticide, bringing a rainstorm of the deadly chemical down on the web and its occupants, causing the spider to dart helplessly to the edge of the web, across a leaf and, at last, to return once more to the shape of the tiny black sphere but for the last time. It tumbled to the ground dead. The moth, already at death's door just moments before, was spared the insult of becoming a meal, replacing it instead with the nervous twitches of toxic chemistry. "That'll teach you both," Jeremy hissed and he pushed the cap back on the can. He stood up and surveyed the length and width of his garden and knew that it would all be okay for today. There were strong smells of insecticide everywhere. Seeing the spider had done something special to Jeremy. Surely he labored in every one of his spare moments to treat his garden against insectile pests. Certainly he prided himself on roses and mums and carnations free of bothersome gnats and ants and the like. Without question the brilliant shades of green leaves went unknowing of ragged chewed edges, tattered holes and clinging egg sacks. But seeing the spider had done something special today. Two years ago . . . two years, three months and seven days ago to be exact . . . Jeremy was bitten by the spider. No, not the spider that built the web and died in the garden today, but the spider that had chosen to share Jeremy's house back then. It wandered mistakenly across Jeremy's arm that fateful evening, no intent of course, and when the giant moved, the tiny spider bit him because it was scared and didn't know what to do except to bite him. Jeremy barely felt it, didn't even let it concern him (although that spider ended up being every bit as dead as the one who hit the ground in toxic shock today) and didn't give the whole affair another thought until the next day. That was two years, three months and six days ago. He awoke that morning and found that his elbow was as thick as his thigh, the joint locked in painful position. The skin was drawn so tight that he was beginning to lose feeling in the tips of his fingers. He called his doctor even before he got out of bed and was given an emergency Click here to read the rest of this story (392 more lines)
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