Here’s Part III, finally, continued from Part II.
Bee Story Part III
Ulrick flew on for a while, allowing his bee senses to guide him despite the confusion from the two suns. He wasn’t sure where he’d end up, but he persisted in believing that all dances led somewhere, the number of suns be damned. He’d never given up a mission before in his life, and he wasn’t about to start today.
With some surprise, he noticed that he appeared to be flying over a body of water, the Atlantic Ocean, in fact. To his even greater surprise, he sensed the unmistakable scent of a flower looming in the distance. A flower in the middle of the ocean! How odd. Perhaps this was his destination after all.
The flower, he noted, was one of those really tall yellow ones, and was of the female persuasion. The head of the flower, yellow petals surrounding a rich brown core, seemed to follow him as he tiredly buzzed in for his approach. At last! The last thing he expected was the flower to swat him away with one of its leaves. “Back off, Bee! Watch where you’re putting that thing!”
Ulrick buzzed back in puzzlement. Usually flowers were pretty welcoming of his visits, bees being part of the pollination cycle of many thousands of plants. Bees were welcome just about everywhere in flowerdom. He didn’t recall the tall yellow flowers ever having a problem with their services, so he peered a little closer. Maybe this wasn’t a flower.
“I’m warning you, Bee! I’ve got a black belt in Taekwondo, and I’m a ranked Capoeirista, and I will absolutely guarantee that I will go medieval on your ass if you dare pollinate me!” shouted the flower angrily, its head shaking with rage. “Stupid bees!” Ulrick watched in fascination as the flower flexed its long thick stem back, the leaves weaving back and forth in a mesmerizing dance-like pattern. He was almost caught unawares by the flower’s mighty lunge toward him. It would have taken out a lesser bee, but Ulrick was a master dodger of raindrops. He reflexively dipped to the side, feathering out his wings for just an instant, just enough to read the shape of air pressure wave of the onrushing flower with his sensitive antennae. His instincts, honed razor sharp by hundreds of hours of training, took over. He flicked easily out of harm’s way, the flower’s thrust dodged neatly.
“BASTARD!” screamed the flower, and she riposted backwards with even greater speed and fury. Ulrick, now attuned to the flower’s mode of attack, merely rode the pressure wave out of the way again. He buzzed in confusion. He had never come across an angry flower in his life. They were usually so happy and conversational, spending most of their time flirting with each other and passing notes via the bees, who enjoyed gossiping and spreading rumors between them.
“Flower!” he cried from a safe distance. “Why are you so upset?”
“So is that it?” muttered the flower bitterly. “Is that what I am? I can’t even see myself.” The flower cursed under her breath, quietly so Ulrick couldn’t quite make out what she was saying. However, from what Ulrick could catch, it didn’t sound very flowerlike at all.
“You’re not a flower?” asked Ulrick.
“No, that makes sense, a lot of sense. Tell me, bee, what kind of flower am I? And keep your distance, or I’ll POUND you.” The flower tensed, leaves weaving again in that mesmerizing motion. It was a lot like bee dancing, thought Ulrick, except far more dangerous. He surveyed the flower from a safe distance.
“You’re a big yellow flower, very tall,” said Ulrick. “You’re the kind of flower that is very tall, the closest to the sun. Bees like you very much.”
“Don’t get any ideas, Bee! I also know Jeet Kun Do and Thai Massage! The combination, I assure you, is quite deadly.” The flower shook menacingly, but stopped to reflect on Ulrick’s observation. “Wait, did you say I’m a tall flower? Like how tall? Like a sunflower?”
“Yes, I think so, but I’ve never seen such a…such an energetic sunflower before. Sunflowers are usually very friendly and mellow, and like to tell lots of stories,” said Ulrick.
“Son of a bitch,” exclaimed the sunflower to herself. “I did it. I really did it. I’m a freaking genius.”
“What?” asked Ulrick
“A GENIUS,” repeated the sunflower loudly, again mostly to herself. “Holy shit. The possibilities are beyond what I could have imagined!”
The sunflower turned to face Ulrick for the first time, standing proudly and tall “I have achieved the greatest feat of Science since, since…well, my feat is perhaps unprecedented in all of history. I have achieved TRANSMOGRIFICATION!” The sunflower paused dramatically, graciously allowing Ulrick the necessary time to gasp aloud with wonder and perhaps pass out from excitement. Ulrick, however, was not quite following along.
“Trans-?”he asked tentatively.
“GAH!” exploded the sunflower in frustration. “Why am I talking to a stupid bee! All you do all day is stick your hoo hoo in ya yas and pollinate them! And then you make honey and let people rob you blind while you sleep! STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!”
This was the most unpleasant flower Ulrick had ever come across.
“Look,” buzzed Ulrick indignantly, “I’m a bee. I collect nectar. We do a lot of dancing and a lot of flying. I have no idea what the heck you’re talking about, so why don’t you explain it to me?”
“Oh, why not,” sulked the sunflower. “It’s not like the seagulls are listening. I don’t know what the frig I’m doing out here in the middle of the ocean either. It’s freaking weird. Are you sure I’m a sunflower, you stupid bee? In your vast experience as a bee, have you ever known a sunflower to grow in the middle of the freakin’ OCEAN?”
Ulrick considered. “No, you are the first one I’ve seen on the ocean.”
“Crap,” muttered the sunflower. “Maybe I’m a new kind of sunflower, one that the transmogrifier somehow conjured up. When I get back to the lab, I’ll have to recalibrate the DNA sequencer and tighten the freakin’ beam phase diffuser so this doesn’t happen again.”The sunflower trailed off, lost deep in thought.
“Bean dip mooser?” interjected Ulrick.
The sunflower sighed heavily, and turned to face Ulrick. “Maybe you will stop asking such stupid questions if I tell you who I am. I am Apollonia De Groot, researcher extraordinaire in matter beam physics and substructural DNA sequencing. I practically INVENTED these fields, and today, I have achieved what many have thought to be impossible: TRANSMOGRIFICATION! The changing of one thing into another, through SCIENCE!”
Ulrick was impressed, much as he had been by Tiffany’s surprise college background. “Wow!” he buzzed.
Apollonia nodded in acknowledgement, pleased to have finally gotten through to her dunderheaded audience. “Yes. A great day, indeed.”
“So what is it that you did?”
Apollonia scowled, her petals scrunching sourly together. “Isn’t it obvious? I’ve transmogrified a genius college student into a sunflower!”
“Oh.” said Ulrick.
“Oh? OH? That’s all you got? OH?” yelled Apollonia in outrage. “Do you think these things happen BY ACCIDENT? One moment, I’m in the our rural research facility setting up for the transmogrification run, and BOOM, I succeed beyond my wildest dreams! I’m a freaking sunflower!”
“Why are you a sunflower in an ocean though? Wouldn’t it have been enough to have been a regular sunflower?”
“Dolt! Imbecile! I didn’t WANT to be a sunflower! I was just testing the sunflower sequence on a daisy, and obviously my genius was such that the matter wave transmogrification field caught ME in it, and…here I am.”
“Cool? COOL?!!!?? THIS IS TERRIBLE!!!” sobbed Apollinia.
“Don’t you like sunflowers? Sunflowers are really awesome.” said Ulrick, feeling bad for Apollonia’s sudden shift in mood. “You’re one of the prettiest ones I’ve ever seen. If I had a hoo hoo, I’d ya ya you in a second.”
Apollonia sniffled, lost in her own sadness, otherwise she would have whacked Ulrick for his indelicate attempt to lift her spirits. “I like sunflowers a lot too…they’re so tall, graceful, and stately…much more so than super-genius human girls. It’s not fair!” She looked up, suddenly self-conscious. “This wasn’t supposed to happen…I was going to transmogrify the daisy, not me. Now I’m stuck, all alone in the ocean talking to a bee.”
“Why don’t you just wish yourself back then?” suggested Ulrick.
“I don’t have any of my equipment. I don’t have any of my notes. I don’t even have HANDS!” growled Apollonia through gritted petals.
“You don’t need any of that. It happens all the time with bees.” said Ulrick.
Apollonia perked up. “It does?”
Ulrick bobbed in assent. “Yes, it’s a well-known fact that when you make a wish three times in the forest, it comes true. Bees turn into flowers, and flowers turn into bees all the time.”
“That sounds like a load of horse shit.” Apollonia said.
“I don’t know about that,” said Ulrick. “But it’s part of our training. Don’t make wishes in the forest that you’re not meant to. Didn’t you say that your lab thing was in the forest? You didn’t happen to wish something three times in a row, did you?”
Apollonia startled. “Uh…yeah…I sort of did.”
“What did you wish for?”
The sunflower turned away sheepishly. “I…I wished I was taller, so I could reach the top of the transmogrification chamber without asking that asshole Jenkins for help. I hate that guy.”
“I’ve always been so short.” continued Apollonia, warming to the subject. “In college, I was like a foot shorter than everyone else. I couldn’t reach things. People couldn’t see me when I raised my hand, and when I sat in the front row so I could see people would sometimes think I was a professor’s visiting kid and give me CANDY. I just want to be taller. Taller. Just want to …”
Ulrick buzzed in alarm, dive-bombing Apollonia’s face before she could complete her sentence. “That’s what I’m talking about!” he buzzed sternly. “Careless whispered wishes in the forest…very bad! I think you wished yourself into a sunflower by accident.”
Apollonia looked doubtful. “The transmogrifier…”
“Never mind the transmogrifier! All you need to do is wish yourself back!”
“Hm. It sounds too simple.”
Ulrick buzzed in exasperation. “Yes, for many years we bees thought that it was a one way trip, but two of our number happened to witness a human girl do precisely the same thing. Poof! She’s a flower. Everyone told her that she was stuck as a flower, and could only wish herself into other forms, but she said “Oh yeah? Why’s that?” and no one knew.” Ulrick paused in reflection. “Though the part we haven’t figured out is why anyone would want to go back to being human. They smell terrible, and you can’t make honey from them or with them.”
Apollonia was silent, thinking about her predicament. She was so tired, and rather unhappy about being a sunflower despite the ramifications her transmogrification had for Science. If indeed, it had been her after all, and not due to the insane claims that the crazy bee had just made. Ulrick waited patiently.
“I wish I was Apollonia again,” said the sunflower.
“I wish I was Apollonia again,” said the sunflower again, a little more earnestly.
“I wish I was Apollonia again…please…” said the sunflower once more.
And Ulrick was suddenly alone in the ocean. He suddenly felt very tired, and wearily bumbled his way back the way he came. This bee dance had led him to one very strange flower, and he wasn’t sure what to make of it. Fortunately, that job belonged to his supervisor, not him. With a flick of his wings, Ulrick reset his bee sense to RETURN mode, and made a bee line back to shore.