Today’s prompt comes from the Inspiration for Writers Facebook Page.
Prompt: She pinched the bridge of her nose and shut her eyes, as though she could block out the stupidity.
The Bumblebees Made Me Do It
She pinched the bridge of her nose and shut her eyes, as though she could block out the stupidity. This couldn’t be happening. Not today of all days.
“Run me through it one more time,” she bit out. “Exactly as it happened.”
“I opened the door to get the package from the mailman and two bumblebees flew in the house.” Curtis wrung his hands. “I didn’t notice them till after the door was shut. One flew in my face and I screamed and dropped the package.”
Alice waved a hand, stopping him before he could continue with his story. “Show me where you were when you dropped it.”
With a huff, Curtis walked across the room, stopping when he was only a few feet away from the front door. He crossed his arms. “I was right here, like I told you the first time.”
“Yet when you dropped my package, it somehow gathered enough momentum to make a dent in the wall on the opposite side of the room.”
“It bounced,” Curtis said, throwing his hands up in the “I don’t know” gesture.
“Sure,” Alice grunted. “What happened after that?”
“I went around the house, while being chased by the two bees, mind you, to open the windows to give them a way out.”
“What else did you do?”
“What do you mean? I got all the windows open so the bees could leave.”
“You cut holes in all of my screens, Curtis! Big holes. Holes big enough for an eagle to fly through.”
“Well how else were the bees supposed to get out? That’s just part of opening a window. Isn’t it?”
“NO! IT IS NOT –” Alice stopped herself and took three deep breaths. “No, Curtis. That is not part of opening a window. Especially not my windows.”
“But the bees were attacking me!”
“Bumblebees don’t do that. Are you sure they weren’t wasps?”
“Definitely bumblebees.” Curtis crossed his arms again. “I know the difference between a bumblebee and a wasp.”
I highly doubt that, Alice thought. “Okay, fine.”
“You know, you really need to get those screens replaced before more bees get in here,” Curtis said while making a face.
That was it; the last straw. Everything inside of Alice went still. She would have been surprised if her heart was still beating. When she could move again, she spun away from Curtis and headed for the kitchen where she had left her keys. Snatching them up, she gripped them until they hurt her hand. If she didn’t leave, the screens weren’t the only things that were going to have holes in them.
She drove to the nearby nature preserve. There were hiking trails there, miles of them. Once she got far enough in, she could scream if she wanted to and no one would hear her. Maybe she would do that, or maybe she would kick a rotting stump till it was just splinters and bugs, or maybe she would hurl rocks into the river that ran through the middle of the park. Anything would do, really. As long as she didn’t have to go home and see Curtis and the holes in her screens and the dent in her living room wall and the smashed box that held a brand new crunched up laptop.
Alice found a solid log next to the path and sat down, putting her head in her hands. She and her husband, Ivan, had been saving for nearly a year for that laptop. Alice needed one that could run the programs she used for her animating and illustrating. That meant expensive. She had to be able to work remotely when she went on trips. In three days she was supposed to head to Colorado to meet with a small game company and show them her portfolio. The portfolio that would have been loaded onto the laptop.
“I thought I might find you out here.” She lifted her head when she heard Ivan’s voice. “You’re in here quite a ways, this time.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize how far I’d walked.” Alice looked down at her watch. “Or how much time had gone by.”
Ivan sat next to her and put an arm around her shoulders. “I’m surprised you’re not further in. I saw the house.”
“What did he say?” Alice said after a moment.
“Well, let’s see.” Her husband drummed his fingers on the rough bark of the log and looked up at the sky. “At first he tried to feed me a story about you slicing holes in all the screens so that you could blame it on him when I got home. But since you hadn’t stuck around, that didn’t track with is story very well. Plus I know you’d never do something like that.”
Alice gave him a dry smile. “Gee, thanks.”
“Then I saw a rather large dent in the wall,” Ivan continued.
“Did he try to blame that on me, too?”
Ivan nodded. “Said you’d tried to kick him. But I know that if he’d made you mad enough to go after him, he wouldn’t be breathing right now.”
With a small laugh, Alice leaned into her husband.
“I then noticed that the lid on the trash can in the kitchen wasn’t sitting right. I opened it and lo and behold, there’s a mangled box in there that matched the dent a little too well. So I pieced what I could of the puzzle together. He threw that laptop into the wall and cut open all our screens. I just don’t know why.“
“Bumblebees,” Alice said.
“I’m sorry. What?”
“He told me he was being attacked by two bumblebees inside the house. So he threw the laptop when they scared him and slashed holes in the screens so they could get out.”
Ivan rubbed his face. “It still makes no sense to me, but at least it’s cohesive, I guess.”
The couple sat in silence for a few minutes. Alice liked being alone with her husband. He helped calm her so she could think logically without being ruled by anger. Ivan was a rock of calm in her sea of boiling emotions.
“You know, we don’t need his rent,” Ivan said quietly.
“How are we going to pay off the mortgage? Or the repair bills we still owe on?”
“I was going to wait to show you the first paycheck, but I got a raise at work. That will help.” Ivan ran his fingers through his wife’s hair. “I have a feeling we won’t have any repair bills once Curtis is gone.”
“I don’t want to think about him right now,” Alice grumbled.
“Tell you what, I’ll go tell him he’s got so many days to get out, and you can stay at Mom’s till you go on the trip. He should be gone by the time you come home.”
Alice lifted her head from her husband’s shoulder. “Laptop’s busted. I needed it to show the portfolio.”
“Right, right.” Ivan scratched his chin while he thought. “You can borrow mine. I can free hand some of those classes I’m giving at the library while you’re gone. It should be able to run the programs just enough to let you show off.”
“If you’re sure…”
Ivan kissed her and slid off the log. “I’m sure, sweetheart.” He began walking back down the path to the cars. “I’ll drop off some stuff for you at Mom’s so you don’t have to come by the house and see you-know-who.”
“Thank you,” Alice called after him.
She stayed on the log for a few more minutes before hopping down to walk a little more. Maybe things were going to be okay. She was still upset, but things could have been worse. Ivan had shown her that not everything was lost. She would get through the next few days and things would get better. Curtis would be gone the next time she went home. That thought made her smile. Maybe things were actually looking up.