The Loud One


Kat bit bees back.  Beau learned his memories like facts every time they came at him.  He didn't dodge.  Kat bit bees back, and wore the kind of out-of-date skirts that billowed as she ran down the tobogganing hill in summer, fast, with her eyes shut tight, screaming with joy and not fear.
      And, she:
a)  cheated on him a thousand times;
b)  neglected her plants and doted on her cats;
c)  tickled his arm while he napped (or so she told him);
d)  died when she was twenty-two years old.
      And, he:
a)  was still in shock thirteen years later;
b)  only slept with women who had her long wavy hair and her toes that looked like people peeping out of sandals;
c)  worked at The Shack, a greasy spoon/bar in the middle of nowhere;
d)  liked to watch the sun set in the truck where Kat had first put her lips on his ear and said, not whispering, "You interest me."
(This is not multiple choice.  This is all true.)

The day Kat bit the bee back, they were on a picnic.  Lazily they ate the lunch she had packed, salami sandwiches, overkill on the mustard, and grape pop.  Swallowing her last sopping yellow bite, Kat cracked a can open and guzzled.  Beau lay half-asleep on the blanket, the impression of wet stale bread on his tongue, the heat pricking his thighs underneath his jeans.  The open field was windless.  Neither of them noticed the bee making a play for the sweet drink.  It landed on Kat's ring finger and stung.
      "The fucker bit me!"  she shouted, and Beau opened one eye.  Kat yanked the stinger out the wrong way.
      "It didn't bite you, it stung you, and you just made it worse.  It's going to hurt more now," Beau told her, reasonable and then incredulous as Kat snapped up the bee hovering in the sugary air, and clamped her front teeth down on its back end.  Spitting and scowling, she hurled it in her weak overhand into the grass.
      "Kat, it was going to die anyway.  You're such a weirdo," Beau laughed, scanning for soothing mud to put on her finger.  Kat let out a characteristic caw and tackled him, squirming around on top, kissing his face in drawn-out smacks.  
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