Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Gentleness Of Bees

This week's sentence was taken from The Inaugural Address of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

It was: 'We must act, and act quickly.'

The Gentleness Of Bees

'Janine?' Ted leaned across the counter, waved and hollered, 'Keep 'em comin' sweetie.'
'You got it, hon.'
Truth be told, nobody needed to yell in here, but some of Janine's older regulars tended toward deafness and a surfeit of caffeine with the excitement of the sports pages didn’t help. Ted and his gang spent most mornings here, putting the world to rights and reminiscing about their imaginary pasts, the stories growing taller with the telling.
Janine poured Ted’s refill without interrupting the flow of debate down at the ladies' end of the room which currently concerned itself with the advisability - or otherwise - of orange plaid slacks on a woman of Beulah's build. 'Otherwise' seemed to be the way the wind was blowing, but then Beulah was currently across the street at Krystal's Kurlz having her roots done and so not privy to the conversation.

Janine smiled. She loved the chatter of her regulars, the drone of conversation as it rose and fell like the reassuring song of her other 'children' going about their busy lives around the neat row of hives in the orchard out back.
Their honey flew off the shop’s shelf quicker than her beloved bees taking flight in the early morning sunlight.

Everett had never understood the gentleness of bees. Anxious, impulsive, rarely satisfied with anything for long, it had been his idea that they use Janine's mother's inheritance to buy the coffee shop.
'We must act, and act quickly' he'd said. Everett, as ever, had wanted a change and thought that this would be it, and so a few hectic weeks later Janine was proudly serving her first customer at The Hive ("Come on in and get your buzz on").
Not long after that of course, Everett realised the change he really wanted and took off for Florida with a girl fresh out of high school. Janine, after a period of adjustment, found she had never been happier.

"Mornin' ladies!'
A chorus of 'Beulah, your hair looks beautiful, honey. Love your slacks'.

Janine checked her watch. Carole would be in soon to help with the lunchtime rush. Carole, whose wild hair was dyed a shade of red not usually seen outside a circus; Carole, who had that kinda Stevie Nicks gypsy thing going on with her clothes that kept the men ordering top-ups they didn't really want just so they could watch her willowy hips sway across the room or peek down her top as she leaned teasingly over their table.
Carole, whose fingers had brushed across the back of Janine's hand one evening with a touch as soft as the flutter of a bee's wing and sent a thrill through her the like of which she had never known. Janine remembered that moment of pure terror, the sudden realisation, the overwhelming 'yes' from her heart; Carole’s nervous smile widening as their eyes met and stayed locked together; that first, hesitant, devastating kiss.
And after that it had all been good. Boy, howdy, it was good!


Vanda said...

Oh you naughty Dive, I love it!

It's funny, it's such a commanding sentence, from a political speech nonetheless, and we both managed to do quiet(ish) slice of life stories.

dive said...

Vanda: It is indeed strange that we both veered from the most electrifying political speech of the mid-twentieth century to … er … people in shops.

They say "always write what you know" so naturally I wrote about a lesbian apiarist in small town America.
Er …

Scout said...

Dive, you say this is Small Town America, but I think it could be anywhere, don't you? This is such a warm and friendly scene, and I'd love to spend a luxurious morning in this shop.

"the drone of conversation as it rose and fell"—the former owner of the shop in Small Town used to talk about how much he loved this steady sound, especially when it was broken up with laughter.

MmeBenaut said...

Ah, shades of Maria there Dive, with the "boy howdy" and the gypsy dress, although she wouldn't be serving in a coffee shop, more like dispensing some medical advice somewhere. Fabulous. I think she would love the ending ...

This is a very satisfying story in more ways than one; it has its beginning, its middle and its ending and some lovely analogies along the way.

"The Hive" is inspirational, the drone of the regulars alluding to the worker bee too. Just so clever dearest Dive. I don't know how you do it.

dive said...

Robyn: I think the orange plaid slacks give it away as being the US; outside of your borders only Germans dress as badly. Hee hee.
I was actually basing this a lot on my own Saturday morning coffee bar, but it's nice to know that your local guy enjoyed the same sounds.

Mme: Too kind, as ever. Thank you.
Ah, Maria. Yes, she did come to mind as I finished writing the ending, though the waitress was based on someone from my youth (I guess Bing and myself - aside from musical similarities - like the same look in a gal).
As for the bees, I had to edit out half a dozen more apiary-related phrases as it was getting a little too bee-ish.