By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
[Exterior. Day. An extremely attractive woman who looks to be in her early 30s, blond, wearing khaki shorts, has great legs—go ahead, imagine the rest—is watering a beautifully appointed backyard garden that she has designed and nurtured with the love and care that one might bestow on one's children, which she has, children, two of them, boys, 5 and 3, who are in the house right now, and you can see them through the back windows, playing with Legos and pirate action figures, fine strapping brilliant tykes she loves so hard that she's sometimes too tired to love them hard enough—it's a paradox, but there you go: motherhood. She's so tired, in fact, that it takes much more time than it ought to for her to notice that there's a brown stain on the back wall of her house, there near the corner, and I mean a big brown stain, about 3 feet high and a foot and a half wide, and what's especially weird is that it's a perfect oval, and it actually has a thickness to it, it swells toward the middle, and oh, man, it's moving—the stain is alive!]
EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE WOMAN [drops hose, gets spray of water all over her great legs, which are now shiny and look even better than they did when they were dry but also more vulnerable because of the moving stain that's alive and ominous, and that makes her say . . .]: Oh, God! Bees!
[. . . and then she runs, first to the spigot to turn off the water because she's responsible to a fault and hates to waste water—she's got a drought-resistant garden, by the way—and then in through the back door, which is French, which she shuts and locks behind her and leans her back against while she tries to not look panicked in front of her two children, who tend to see their whole world through the emotional atmosphere provided by their mother, not to mention their father, who is me, who hasn't come home yet because I'm at Vons buying hot dogs for dinner.]
FIVE-YEAR-OLD SON [sensibly, rationally, which for him is a mood, and believe me, it'll pass]: Mommy? How come you look like you have the heebie-jeebies?
EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE BUT INCREASINGLY NERVOUS WOMAN: Um, I don't have the heebie-jeebies. But there are bees outside, sweetie. Lots of bees. I wish your daddy would come home.
THREE-YEAR-OLD SON: Daddy's getting me my hot dog.
EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE AND NOW DEFINITELY NERVOUS WOMAN [in only moment of weakness you're going to see because she's going to read this, obviously]: Oh, shit.
FIVE-YEAR-OLD SON [to brother, whispering delightedly]: Mommy said the "s" word!
THREE-YEAR-OLD SON: Heebie-jeebies. Bees. Heebie-jeebies. Bees.
NERVOUS MOTHER GETTING A GRIP ON THINGS, NOT TO MENTION HER ATTRACTIVENESS, BECAUSE PEOPLE IN CONTROL ARE ATTRACTIVE, YOU MUST ADMIT [moving swiftly to the phone and the phone book, which she opens to the yellow pages and looks up "bees"—what else do you look up?—and picks about the first one she sees, which is Bee Busters, which is lucky because they're the Best Removers of Bee Swarms in Orange County and the subject of this fake little documentary screenplay thing that Will Swaim and Steve Lowery insisted would be a good way to do the Best Of issue because It's All Been Done Before so maybe this will keep the reader awake, though obviously this isn't even close to the way you really do a screenplay. She dials the number, and while she's explaining to the lady on the line what the problem is, the two boys stick their noses up against the windows of the locked French doors, looking for the bees. But since the bee swarm is against the back wall, the kids can't see them, and the eldest reaches his hand up to unlock the door. She sees this and shouts]: No! Sorry, no, not you. I was talking to my son. I have no idea if they're Africanized. Yes, as soon as you can. Yes. Thank you. Don't worry; we won't.
[Woman, who has regained her attractiveness and poise—plus her legs are really nice, which I only mention again because I can't believe I've been married to a woman for 12 years whose legs still make me crazy; I'm a lucky man, and not just for the legs because there are a thousand reasons—puts down the phone at the moment the front door opens.]
ME: Honey, I'm home! I have the hot dogs!
EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE WOMAN [rushing to the door not so much to welcome me home, which would be nice, but to inform me about a terrible problem in the domestic sphere, which she has a bit of a tendency to do, even when it's not a real problem like a bee swarm but a kind of melodramatic one, which I could give you a hundred examples of but which I won't because she's going to read this. In any case, she grabs me by the sleeve and pulls me toward the back French doors]: Boys, get away from the door. Let Daddy see. There are thousands of bees stuck to our wall! Go out there. Look.