This was developed from a germ of a story produced in a Fosseway Writers workshop with Megan Taylor. The idea was to think of a real person, consider their physical aspects and personality and turn them into an animal. It took me a few minutes to work out what creature this person actually was (first thought was an owl) but I’m pleased with how it turned out.
I watched the bee potter around the garden, hovering over each flower and inspecting the contents before landing softly on the petals and collecting the nectar hidden deeper within. It was very methodical, ensuring all opportunities were taken and accounted for. Soon it would disappear back to the hive and report on what it had found and empty its bounty for the good of all.
I sipped my cold beer and closed my eyes, enjoying the warm sunshine.
“Shouldn’t you be getting that report ready?” asked a small female voice at the side of my head.
I jolted awake and looked around. I was still alone in my back garden, but somebody had just spoken right into my ear. I turned and peered at the back of my garden chair, expecting to see someone hiding behind it. There wasn’t. But I noticed that there was a bee on the headrest.
The voice came again: “I know it’s lovely and sunny but you do have deadlines to meet.”
I boggled at the bee. It had definitely spoken to me, in a very polite, refined voice.
“But it’s Saturday!” I found myself answering.
“Well, yes, I know, but we all have to make the most of our time and complete the things that are expected of us. We must always meet our expectations.”
The voice reminded me of warm honey dripped over an electric toothbrush; kind of sweet and lovely but at the same time incredibly annoying.
I leant closer to my accuser and peered at its soft, burnt gold fur coat and striped abdomen. Its small head cocked to the side as it examined me in return. If this was some kind of practical joke, then the bee was playing along, appraising me with intelligent dark oval eyes.
“How are you even talking?” I asked in a confused whisper. “You don’t have the right mouth parts.”
The bee canted its head and sighed. “I thought you were quite bright; you are an analyst after all.”
I opened my mouth, but couldn’t think of anything to say so shut it again in the hope that the bee would elucidate.
“Do I remind you of anyone?” asked the bee after a pause.
I considered the bee’s refined lady-like voice, the polite cajoling, the emphasis on delivering expected work. “Linda?” I asked, uncertainly.
“Well done,” said the bee.
“How are you a bee? You’re my boss, not an insect.”
“Think about it. You’re subconsciously worried that you haven’t finished an important report, you think that I’m an obsequious corporate drone, you’ve had a beer in warm sunshine…” The bee let the sentence hang.
I pursed my lips and nodded. “I’m dreaming, aren’t I?” I settled back into the chair and closed my eyes. “Linda?”