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
ME [who, to put a fine point on it, doesn't like bees and resents like hell the occasions when, being the man of the house, I have to be the man of the house and go out and look at things like bee swarms in the back yard. But which I do. I open the door, peek out, see a few dozen bees looping next to the back wall and then the stain—the thick swarming fuzzy brown stain—and shut the door]: Call the cops!
EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE WOMAN: I called some bee people.
ME: When are they coming?
EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE WOMAN: In two hours.
[A montage now, meant to suggest the passage of time, composed of domestic shots of me and the extremely attractive woman doing things like reading to the children, cleaning up juice stains, accompanying the 3-year-old to the bathroom to make sure he doesn't miss the bowl, asking the children to keep their hands off the lock of the French doors, and having little arguments about how little free time they've each had today and asserting the need to take just half an hour to escape into their bedroom and read something adult for a change. Most of these shots end with one adult or the other turning anxiously toward the back yard to have a look at the bees' progress. Then there's a knock on the front door.]
ME [going toward and opening the door]: Thank God!
BEE BUSTER [extending his hand with a yellow calling card in it that says, "Bee Busters" and has a picture of a worried bee inside a red circle and a diagonal line stamped across its thorax]: Hey, how you doin', man? Has it been a busy day! We just got done with this huge job at Anaheim stadium and another one in this tree at Mile Square Park. I don't know what's going on.
[He's way younger than me, probably in his early 20s, and wearing a cap with the anxious bee logo on it; he looks like a partier.]
BEE BUSTER: Whadda we got here?
ME: In the back. I'm not going out there again. I'll just point.
[Bee Buster, now accompanied by two assistants, one in a full bee-remover suit with a head net and everything, trudge through the living room toward the French doors. The children look awed. Bee Buster says hello to the extremely attractive woman, looks down briefly at her legs but doesn't linger long because he's a good guy. The extremely attractive woman offers them all something to drink, which she does automatically when anybody comes into the house because it's what her mother taught her. Bee Buster and his assistants decline nicely. Bee Buster swings the French door open casually and exits with his assistants into the back yard to examine the situation. I look on from the doorway.]
BEE BUSTER: Oh, this is easy. Just a swarm. They're not killer. No problem. I hate to even take your money. Carlos, go ahead.
FULLY SUITED ASSISTANT BEE BUSTER: Okay, boss.
[He and the other assistant—who doesn't have a suit but who seems perfectly comfortable around bees and around whom bees seem perfectly comfortable, too, which is ironic because he's going to kill them—go back to the truck and eventually return with a big jug with a whiteish fluid inside and out of the top of which extends a long black tube with a sprayer at the end. They also have a sort of scraper and a vacuum cleaner.]
BEE BUSTER [explaining to me through the three inches I've opened the French doors]: It's just soap and water. When we spray 'em, they'll just clot up on the wall. We'll scrape 'em off and suck 'em up with the vacuum. What looks like what happened was the queen left the nest 'cause it got overcrowded and all these workers followed her out. Your back yard's like a way station. If you want, we could leave them alone, and they'd all probably be gone in 72 hours to find a real nest.
ME [thinking for half a second about this possibility]: No. Just get rid of them.
[Closeup on the swarm stain as it's sprayed with the soap-and-water mixture. As predicted, the bees clot up, and with the help of the scraper used by the assistant not in a bee suit, the bee clots splat to the ground in big clumps. As the camera backs up to midshot, we see dozens of looping bees flying around quite friendly-like, seeming to have no clue what's happening to their fellow bees or their queen.]
BEE BUSTER [still talking to me through the three-inch gap between the French door and doorjamb]: Believe me, this is nothing. A few weeks ago, we got a call to go out to this old Victorian house in Anaheim with a huge attic. The old couple who lived there saw a few bees in the back yard and called. But when we got there, the whole house was buzzing, literally. Loud. And the walls were warm from all the bees inside. The attic was dripping with yards and yards of honeycombs. And what was funny was that this old couple was deaf and had no idea about the buzzing. That took a couple of days.