“The Boxwood and The Bees”

(Copyright Jennifer Pendergast)

Set plumb in the middle of my well-manicured knot garden, the dead boxwood has disrupted my sensibilities for months.
Today’s the day. I plunge my shovel into the soft dirt and lift the roots.
A great hum surrounds me as hundreds of bees swarm from the hive nestled in the bush. They settle on my arms, legs, neck, face, and plunge their stingers through my skin.
Mission accomplished.
The faces of my wife and children materialize as I succumb to my deadly allergy, knowing that I can no longer live with my shame—and my family needs the insurance money.

(Written for Friday Fictioneers, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, August 2, 2013.)

This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to “The Boxwood and The Bees”

  1. Dave Higgins says:

    An excellent sting in the tail : )

  2. misskzebra says:

    It’s really devastating that some people feel they’re worth more dead than alive.

  3. Sandra says:

    Grief! That was powerful (and unexpected). Well done vb.

  4. Adam Ickes says:

    I’ve been there… minus the death part of course. Stepped on a nest walking through a field when I was a kid. Ended up with about 28 stings. Not a pleasant experience. Memorable, but not pleasant.

  5. Dee says:

    That was sad, Ididn’t see it coming.
    Well done

  6. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

    That was excellent, darling. Sad, but powerful.

  7. denmother says:

    vb, what an ingenious way to exit. I shouldn’t, but I just loved this story. Well done!

  8. Death by bee sting. Not my choice of a way to go but it worked perfectly for a story with a unique twist.


  9. Joe Owens says:

    It can happen in an instant and for those so allergic can be an end.

  10. Linda Vernon says:

    Oh please don’t tell me he did that on purpose! Oh no! This is a really cool story.

  11. elmowrites says:

    Ooh, a sneaky twist in the tail (stinger?) there – I can’t think this is an easy way to go though

  12. Dear VB,

    Sounds like a horrid way to commit suicide. On the other hand, it would definitely look like an accident and the insurance company would pay. He (and you) has obviously thought this one through. Nice one.



  13. vb holmes says:

    Thanks, Rochelle. I must admit this story line had passed through my head a couple of times in the past–just never had the opportunity to use it.

  14. Lynda says:

    Having recently been stung by my own bees I find this a horrid way to go! However, as Rochelle said it would certainly look like an accident to the insurance company. Great writing!

  15. Unexpected twist and very effective ending. Well done!

  16. Jan Brown says:

    Wow, I did not see that coming. Great story!

  17. rckjones says:

    We had a bush like that in our yard. I wouldn’t go near it – it always hummed to itself from afar! Good twist ending.

  18. Hi V.B.,
    Suicide by bee stings, clever of your protagonist. Not sure what a knot garden is. Must be the barrier of our common language! Ron

  19. JackieP says:

    I’ve known one or two people who thought about doing almost the same thing for the same reasons. Sad, and all too real to some. You got it down right.

  20. Excellent tale, a life in 100 words.
    Very well done.

  21. Ugh, what a way to die. This is both tragic and noble both.

  22. troy P. says:

    So bleak – sooooo damned good!

  23. JKBradley says:

    Taking one for the team, and what a creative yet painful way to go.

  24. wmqcolby says:

    Now THERE’S a concept Hitchcock would have been proud of … except the wife would have had something to do with it! 😀
    Love it!

  25. The saddest tale of them all.

  26. Suicide is a difficult thing to write and read about. Too much of it around. But you’ve done this very well.

  27. Dear VB,

    This was a well written dollop hidden among the honeycombs of this weeks crop of…..stories.

    Good job.



  28. Eric Alagan says:

    The choices we make —-

    Noble that he gave his life for his loved ones —
    But even in death – he dies as a fraud — what is so noble about this, I wonder.


  29. pattisj says:

    What a horrible way to go!

  30. rgayer55 says:

    Great story, VB. I am curious about the knot garden though.

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