There was a black ball of fuzz heading straight for me.
There was an mad black ball of fuzz heading straight for me.
It was kamikaze mad, and it was dive-bombing my nose. Apparently, I had gotten it wet when I dumped the mop water onto it.
I threw the mop down. My eyes crossed as the fuzz buzzed right to my nose, and then pain exploded into my head. I screamed.
Next thing I knew, my mother was dragging me into the house as I flapped my arms to ward off the next attack. The pain was intense. I could not believe I had just been stung on my nose. Right on the tip of my nose, no less! And by a bumblebee! I could already feel it swelling, and I just knew my nose would be big and red. There was no way I was going to the county fair tonight. Uh uh. No one was going to see this.
My mother tried to pull my hand away to look at my nose while she spoke to my dad on the phone about the best way to treat it. It was too much. My nose was much too tender, not to mention my pride, to have someone poke and prod it. I tried to wave her off, but she blocked me.
“OW!” My side blossomed into more excruciating pain, and I doubled over.
“What? What is it?” My mother hovered over me, and I could hear my dad through the phone asking what had happened.
Before I could say a word, I felt another biting pain. Realization hit me, and I started scream again. “In my shirt! It’s inside my shirt!”
My mother dragged me back to the door, threw it open, and tried to strip off my shirt. Horrified, I fought to keep it on. I didn’t care if I had a thousand bees in my shirt. There was no way I was going to undress in front of the whole world, let alone my three-year-old brother, who happened to be standing right there, getting in the way. Then my humiliation would be complete. What if my brother remembered? Wouldn’t he tell any prospective boyfriends about it? Of course he would! How could he resist such a juicy piece of blackmail?
Finally, I backed up as Mom gave one last yank. Off came my shirt. Out went the bee. Mom pushed me back into the house and I ran straight for my room. I didn’t even glance at my brother. I grabbed another shirt and threw it on just as Mom came in. “Let me see.”
I pulled up my shirt on the side where the bee had stung me. Two enormous welts were forming. Mom grabbed my hand and pulled me back into the kitchen where Dad was still on the phone asking what had happened. My brother was being kind enough to tell him. Mom took the phone from him and described the welts to Dad. “Yes, they’re red. They’ve got a dot of white in the middle. Uh huh. Yes. Mm hm. Ok. Yeah, I think we’ve got some. Ok, that’s what we’ll do.” She hung up and tuned to rummage around under the sink.
I glanced out the window. The bee was still there, hovering. I could almost feel its beady prism eyes on me. It was looking to do some more damage. Mom came toward me with a foul-smelling paper towel soaked with ammonia. “Here. Put this on your welts. It should take the sting out of your…” She snorted. “…out of your stings!”
I heard the bee as it zoomed back and forth in front of the window. Not content to glare at me, it now wanted some action. I ran back to my room. Every time I poked my head out my door, I could still hear that bee.
I didn’t go to the fair that year. Or the next year. Or the year after that. Since then, I’ve been terrified that the bee would return. I’m sure there’s an all-points bulletin out to every hive in the state, warning them about the Mop-Water Drencher. Sting first, ask questions later. I’ve changed the shape of my nose, hoping I wouldn’t be recognized. And I’ve never, ever thrown the mop water outside again.
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