Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hightailing it back home with a Bakkie full of Bees...

First light brought no good news today. At some point in the late night trip back to the guesthouse we had lost the lids of one of the killer bee hives, and in the quiet of dawn the bees were becoming restless. Getting in to the car involved a few more stings to the face and neck, though by now the swelling was as bad as was it was going to get and the pain was dulled by the lack of sleep. An old-wives' tale ran that sprinkling the hives with water would calm the bees, so Chris set out doing so while I quietly doubted the sanity of the exercise in general.

Once on the road things went as smoothly as could be expected, with stings coming regularly now as the morning sun woke the bees trapped in the cabin. Our first roadside stop though revealed a somewhat larger problem. Two more hives had lost their lids on the dirt roads, and although the bees stayed inside when the car was moving, the moment we stopped they started pouring out in their millions. We frantically tried to throw towels and jackets over the top and strap them down, but the onslaught of killer bees was too much for a decent job and we had to retreat to the car. It looked like we had done enough though: there were thousands rather than millions of little stinging bitches now, and we set out again.

The sinking petrol guage gave us our next cause to stop. I craned my neck out the window and saw some slight gaps in the coverings, but from where I was it looked good enough. We pulled up at the service station and were greeted as always in South African petrol stations by four or five attendants. Quickly they set about washing the windscreen, opening the petrol cap, checking the tyres. And quickly the Killer Bees set about f**king up all and sundry in the area. Pouring out into the petrol station the tiny weapons of death started stinging the attendants and then set out to find anything else that was moving...with dismay I watched a family pull up in 4WD and all hop out into the path of the bees.

Out of the car now and desperately pulling out bee veils on we shouted at them to run, but it had precious little effect. While I must admit the sight of everyone in the entire petrol station swatting at neck and face stings was mildly entertaining, I couldn't help but feel a little responsible. I turned at the sound of our bakkie puling away and saw that Chris had, in his desperation, ripped the petrol pump out and driven away with the fuel door swinging. It seems though, that just before fleeing for dear life, the attendant had set the pump to 'fill', and now, without a tank in which to pour its precious load, the pump was expelling its contents all over the ground. So there I stood, petrol welling around my feet, killer bees buzzing around my head, the entire petrol station deserted, and my co-pilot having disappeared in a puff of smoke. It was 8am and the day hadn't begun well.

Chris had parked the bakkie down the road, as far from people as he could manage, and came back to pay for the fuel. It had stopped free flowing now, and because we couldn't risk opening the door to go inside the shop, we left the money on the bowser and didn't look back. The bee hives were looking worse and worse, now not only were the lids missing, but they had shifted off their bases. We were beyond help now. There was hopefully enough fuel to make it home, and provided we didn't have to stop again we would be alright (or perhaps more importantly, the African public would be alright). Chris had now lost the plot entirely, one moment driving along calmly, the next bursting out with



My reaction to these outbursts was uncontrolled laughter, like when you're in the principal's office and are trying to keep a straight face.


More laughter from my side of the car.

So, all we had to do was not stop, and then no people would fucking die.

No such luck. A man in a council vest waving a red flag could never have known that stopping us for roadwork would bring such a load of kak onto his head. I waved and motioned like an idiot, trying to get him away from the car, and he smiled back. Soon the pain came, and away he ran. Away all the workmen ran. And there we sat, unable to move, hemmed in by cars around us with windows tightly rolled up looking at the cloud of bees now circling our bakkie. More outbursts from Chris. Finally we started moving again.

A few more stops for roadwork, a few more angry workers, a troupe of baboons that sat in the middle of the road until the bees had their way, and we were almost home. We couldn't stop at the toll gates of the expressway because "PEOPLE WILL FUCKING BE KILLED MAN!! THIS IS KAK!!", so we had to risk going the long way around.

About to pass through town, with its traffic lights and crossings, traffic jams and roundabouts, we decided we had to do something about these damn killer bees. It turned out the only way we could tie them down was for me to pull on a rope, jump in the car and slam the door on it, then Chris would tie it back on itself and we would be off. Rope in hand, I was ready to jump inside when I noticed the seat, the windscreen, the windows, and every other surface was covered in bees. Getting in would mean sitting on hundreds of bees that would sting through shirt and pants without trouble. A quick albeit temporary penis enlargement perhaps, but not something that appealed at the time. After a few harsh words between Chris and I, I found myself sitting on a cushion of stingers, trapped inside with thousands of killers, desperately trying to swat them away from sensitive areas. Seconds passed as the stings sunk into my flesh, minutes now, hours? Finally Chris finished and the windows could be opened, the bees were shooed out, my bits were intact and we made it home alive.


Post a Comment

<< Home