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9th December
posted by amber


Aucapoma knows no English, but he knows all he needs to know for his job – which truck to ride to the fields, which brush to use, when it’s permitted to take a break, how to collect his pay and how to send most of it home to his wife Pilar.

He has heard the word ‘bee,’ naturally. That is what he is. He is a Bee. And sometimes when he’s in town, sending the credit or spending some for himself, people see his black and yellow outfit and they joke in the language he doesn’t understand, saying, “Sting? Sting?” and poking him in the arm or the chest. He never pokes them back.

When the small insect bites him, he doesn’t know the bite is a sting. But he knows it hurts a lot more than a mosquito bite. He runs to tell the supervisor what has happened. He shows the woman the red mark on this neck.

Another worker comes forward and opens his hand to reveal a tiny pile of plastic and electronics, and three red marks on his arm.

“Shit!” she says. “The corporate bees have arrived.”

And she sounds the horn and calls the workers in. They are moved to a distant field, although Aucapoma knows they were less than half finished with that field. In the evening, as they ride the truck back to the camp, he sees men in the first field, destroying the crops with flame-throwers.

The Mexican crew boss breaks out the beer that night, and tells everyone that their jobs will soon be over. “If they don’t pay Mondosanto for the robot bees, the bees leave a fungus spore to contaminate the crop. They’ll move you further north tomorrow, but it’s only a matter of time, boys. Prepare to be obsolete.”

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

Another story inspired by the Discover magazine.

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