Flash Fiction Fridays: The Free-for-All Continues


No themes. No word count. Open prompt. The Flash Fiction Fridays Free-for-All is running through September. Hope you enjoy this great piece from Beverly Diehl.

Getting Wet with the Suicidal Bees
By Beverly Diehl

Usually she only had to share the pool with the Suicidal Bees.

Janey dubbed them that, because there were always several struggling in the water. She’d find a leaf and carefully scoop the creatures out of the water, onto the cement... where they’d promptly crawl back into the water.

She decided Suicidal Bees would be a great name for a rock band.

“Hi,” the guy said. She said hi back, checking him out, pretending her attention was elsewhere.

Cute. Probably played in a band, like the kids in the apartment currently getting the full blast of the hot August sun straight in their windows. Janey noticed them loading and unloading at odd hours: huge boxy equipment on rolling wheels; black guitar-shaped bags; milk crates with mysterious wires and cords protruding. The faces all looked the same - earnest, tormented, hopeful, but the tattoos and piercings seem to turn over regularly.

This guy had to be in his forties. Good age to be, she admitted. Little bit of a pot belly. Which Janey had always found oddly attractive, having a bit of one herself. No obvious tats. So, no rocker. And he was at the pool.

This part of SoCal was littered with apartment buildings just like this one, a dozen units with a courtyard pool and a couple of overgrown palm trees. Maybe a scraggly bird of paradise.

Nobody actually went in the pool, though, even on a day like today when it was 100 degrees. Not even the peeps up on Mulholland Drive in their zillion dollar houses.They thought about it, talked about it, like the fabulous books they intended to sit down and write one day. Then they stayed inside, cranked up the A/C and bitched about the heat.

Janey watched him fussing to put down his towel and sunglasses on one of the ancient, barely-functional chaise lounges. “You’re not from around here, are you?”

“How could you tell?”

You’re at the pool. “Just a guess.”

“I’m impressed. You guessed right. So, if you’re a native, can I touch you? Haven’t met one yet.” Midwest accent, Janey decided. Illinois? Possibly Missouri.

“I’m not from around here either,” she laughed. “You getting in the water?”

In answer, he walked to the edge of the deep end, bare feet barely missing the bee victims she’d rescued earlier, and dove in.

He surfaced near where Janey was treading water by the edge of the pool, “Whew! Water’s great.” Close up, she saw his eyes were set just a little too close together, his nose a bit too big, but his mouth, oh, that mouth! Could give a woman endless delight - or trouble.

But she was old enough to have learned, “You don’t piss where you eat.” Work romances, neighbor romances could turn just as sour as any other - and there the ex was, right in your face.

You only needed to have your nose rubbed in that mistake once.

He stuck out a hand, “Fred Hanson. Springfield, Illinois.”

Bingo! Janey accepted the shake. Very nice; not overcompensating, not dying fish. “Janey Brown. Most lately from the San Ferrnando Valley.”

“Ooh, mysterious.”

“Neighbors get to find out way too much about each other, so I’ll stay mysterious for now.”

His laugh was a big, hearty chuckle that beckoned one in. “We’re not neighbors. I’m here housesitting for my college roommate’s kid and his spoiled parrot.”

A bee floated nearby, its wings frantically beating. “Don’t worry, little guy,” Fred said. He put his hand under the bee, letting the creature crawl directly on his fingers, not worrying about getting stung, then gently lowered it to the pavement. “Go on now, fly home to your hive.”

Janey smiled. “Maybe I’ll let you touch me after all.”

Beverly Diehl discarded most early efforts because they weren't good enough. “I thought the words were supposed to drip from my pen as perfect golden pearls," she says. "Then I discovered rewriting." In addition to erotica, Beverly writes short stories, newsletters and, of course, a blog (or two). Born in Wisconsin her teenage years were split between small-town Pennsylvania and Southern California. Beverly now lives in Los Angeles with numerous UFOs (UnFinished craft and writing Objects) and beloved fat cat, Metaphor (aka Stinky). To learn more about Beverly and her work, visit her website.


Marian said…
Well done, Bev!!! And I bet Clover was watching the entire exchange. xoxo
Beverly Diehl said…
Karen, you rock! I can't believe you found a photo of a bee IN a swimming pool! Thanks for having me here. :-)
Marian: Thanks for stopping by.

Beverly: You are very welcome. Glad to have you here.
Sidney said…
Excellent, as usual, Bev. Makes me want to go swimming in the valley. Almost...[tromping to my thermostat, cursing]
Kelly Hashway said…
Karen, I gave you an award on my blog.
I did enjoy this! Great dialogue! Stopping over from Kelly's blog. ***hi***
Kelly, thank you. I will be over to claim it.

Samantha, welcome. Glad you could stop by.
Annie Boreson said…
Way to go, Bev! I really like that...completely drawn right in with your characters! Karen, I love the Free-for-All. Such a fun idea!
Annie, I really enjoyed Bev's story as well. Thanks for reading.

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