Here is a short story for you to occupy three minutes while your egg is boiling. If you want your egg harder boiled, read it twice. It’s called:
The Murderous Bee
A bee the size of a labrador, with a tail that could never wag, hovered menacingly in front of Mat. He could feel the air move his hair, as the ridiculously small, but terrifyingly large, wings beat at an unfeasibly fast rate. Mat stared at the bee, which showed its teeth, like pointed blades of white steel. Eight of them, Mat counted.
Mat straightened himself, looked right into one of the curious eyes of the unearthly creature and cried out the only incantation he knew that would rid him of this evil beast.
“Mum! There’s a giant bee in my room, and it’s about to eat me!”
Mat’s Mum heard the shouted spell, which distracted her from the task at hand – re-arranging the hundred or so books on the shelves in the front room. The yell was a welcome relief in one sense, but she wished Mat would stop imagining bees – he knew that she was not a fan of them, nor they of her. Damn the child psychologist that had mentioned this to Mat during a session. Oddly, this had calmed him down and eventually his episodes of wanting to slaughter every living thing had at least mutated into something marginally less disturbing. Now he wanted attention all the time, instead of shying away from it as he had done previously. From one extreme to the other, she thought.
Giant bees! Where did he get this idea from? The fact that Mat’s Dad worked for a genetics company, attempting to breed supersized livestock probably didn’t help. Ideas of gigantism were not good in Mat’s small head. On the other hand, perhaps he could write Doctor Who one day? Anyway, this was the twelfth time in the last hour and a half that large insects had tried her patience.
“OK, honey” she called out. “I’m kind of busy right now – just tell it to, er, buzz off. Ha, get it? Buzz?” There was no laughter. She said to herself “I’m wasted here”.
There was a muffled grunt from Mat. This meant that he acknowledged the four seconds of attention that she gave him and, while it wasn’t enough, it would do for now.
Ten minutes later, the bee was back. “Mum…”
“In a minute, Mat, Mummy’s busy.”
And again, five minutes after that. “Mum, help…”
“Not right at this moment, honey.”
Another five minutes went by, and the bee had returned with some friends. “Mum…”
“Mat, it’s OK, none of Daddy’s work has escaped. He would’ve ’phoned to tell us.”
Mat’s Mum was trying not to sound exasperated. “Just a minute, honey…”
And then the ’phone rang.
“Is that Daddy?” called out Mat, anxiously.
“Hang on…no honey, it’s a friend – quiet now while Mummy talks.”
Mat’s Mum talked for about ten minutes during which time Mat was left undisturbed by enlarged pollen-collectors of any kind.
Suddenly, there were dozens, streaming in through gaps in his imagination which he thought he had filled. This time, though, they seemed to want him to join their army. He was quite chuffed about that. He was thrilled when they wanted to make him their leader. That was so cool!
Meanwhile, Mat’s Mum was doing something she had told Mat he must never do – climbing up the bookcase. She wanted to put all the large volumes of the encyclopaedia on the top, out of the way. Her graphic description of being squashed to death by books had done the trick, possibly too well. Mat hadn’t gone within ten feet of the bookcase since.
Mat had decided that joining the giant bee army was a good thing because a) he wanted lots of big, stripy friends, b) he could get his own back for all the times his Mum had ignored him and c) well, he would think of something else, he was sure.
His musings on c) meant that he barely heard the crash and a scream from downstairs.
“Mat, honey, come here! Quickly now!”
Mat realised that this was an opportunity to impress his new-found gang. So, he said nothing.
“Mat! Mummy needs you!”
She did, indeed, need him. Whilst putting the volume “KIL – MUM” on the top of the bookcase, a bee, the size of a bee, had flown and landed on the volume “BEE – DED” that she had already put up there. In attempting to hit the bee, she had lost her balance, grabbed the top of the bookcase and pulled the whole thing over on top of her. She now resembled a cartoon character that had been flattened by a door, or possibly a bookcase. This was exactly the thing she had warned Mat would happen and, somewhere in her brain, she was very smug – she had been absolutely right for once.
The bee was flying closer and closer to her trapped hand, completely immobile and poking out from under the bookcase.
“Mat, honey! Come here! Now! Er, please?!”
“I’m kind of busy right now, Mum, very busy!” replied Mat, smirking at how clever he was being. This was exactly the sort of thing leaders of bee armies did.
The bee landed on Mat’s Mum’s hand. Clearly it knew what Mat knew. She didn’t just hate bees, she was fatally allergic to a bee sting One would kill her in under a minute.
“Mat!” she screamed. “Help me!”
The bee walked about on her hand, as if it was looking for the perfect spot.
“Mat! For crying out loud, come down here, NOW!”
She shouted the final “NOW!” with such force that her whole body trembled in a mixture of raw energy and raw panic. The bee stopped in its tracks. For it, the ground had just heaved in a way that meant only one thing – attack. When attacked, it had but one defence.
Mutually assured destruction.
With the fatal poison flowing through her body, Mat’s Mum thought she heard Mat reply “Oh, Mum, not now. In a moment….”.
Then he smirked and yelled out to the silence, “I’m a busy bee!”