I received a call Friday afternoon from a man called "Jimbo". Yes, Jimbo. Sadly, not James Rockford but Jimbo none the less.
He said that my mail carrier did not want to deliver my bees. He said that the Saturday carrier was made of stouter stuff and had already agreed to drop them off. But, he was hoping that maybe I might want to come pick them up.
I had ordered four - two and a half pound packages of Italian bees (plus queens) from Taylor Honey in Utah. Mel Taylor told me that he hadn't yet seen Colony Collapse Disorder. (Shut up! don't say "yet"). Anyway, he recommended Italian bees, so I gave up on the Russians and went to Italians.
I drove to the Glendale Post Office. It is the day before our taxes are due. And the post office is packed.
I stand behind a Russian woman/girl (honestly she looks like she's eighteen years old) in stiletto heels, a full length leather jacket with red fur around the collar, and a long black skirt with a slit up the back. She has flawless white skin. Her lips are a luscious red to match her jacket. She's also wearing false eyelashes with five stones (diamonds?) on them framing large blue eyes. She's beautiful.
Being the nosey person that I am, she's mailing her tax forms. She's wearing a wedding ring and the return address includes someone named "Olag".
"Pardon, do you mind holding my place?" She asks.
I shake my head. She chases, in her stiletto heels, after an equally gorgeous two year old. Scooping up the child, she starts an impressive bit of parenting. She distracts the child with the Post office stickers. The child speaks both Russian and English as does she. They go back and forth - English one sentence, Russian the next.
We become fast Postal friends. She plays with the little girl. The little girl watches me take the stickers off her mother's red leather coat. It's great fun.
Finally, we get to the front. I say this to the postal clerk: "I received a call..."
"Oh, you have the bees," he replied. "Just a second, I'll bring them out. Wait right there."
I nod. I mean really, what am I going to say?
He opens the door. Five Postal Employees are standing there. Their mouths are open as if they want to say something then forgot what it is. People start coming from the back of the post office and the other postal clerk leaves his post. They stand there watching me.
I'm not sure why. Here's a picture of the shipping container. Well OK, they have this screen where you can see the bees. And they make that buzzy bee sound.
"They can't get out," I say and pick it up.
I know of course that they can get out but if they did they would glom on to the package for dear life. (Note the bee that's outside the package is trying to get in.) These bees are hungry, thirsty and have to go to the bathroom really, really badly. They don't care about the people around them. But I didn't want to explain that.
The moment I pick up the bees, they start a high pitched, fast paced "what the f---" buzz that pervades the entire post office. I turn to leave and find the entire lobby has stopped what they are doing. Their mouths are open. One woman makes a little scream. She stares with luminous eyes. Another man steps back with his hands up, as if I was holding a handgun to him. People jump out of my way. One woman follows me in a trance like state.
I have to stop at the door. The package isn't heavy. It's just cumbersome.? As every person in the bulding stands there watching me, I fumble with the door. No one moves forward to help. I finally find the handicap button, wait for the door to open and leave the building. I notice through the windows that people are still staring me.
Walking to my car, I see my Russian woman/girl Postal friend. She doesn't move out of the way or react in horror.
Instead she turns and says, "Oh bees. I haven't seen those since I was a girl."
She puts the child in her car seat, then comes to look more closely.
"They are beautiful," she said batting her diamond studded eyelashes.
I nod and put the bees in the back of our truck. She smiles, waves and then leaves the parking lot.
I take my ladies home to our basement. I give them some water and feed them (sugar water) a little bit. Maybe tomorrow it will be warm enough to put them in their new homes. Maybe they'll survive this plague. Maybe I could get some diamond encrusted false eyelashes.
I shut off the light so the bees can sleep and go upstairs.