Ronald Jones, June 2024 Highly Commended

The Bee

by Ronald Jones

The bee that will kill John Smith rises from a flower. To this flower and the next, the bee is an angel, a miracle.

Had today been a Friday, John Smith would have stayed in, poured a small sherry, listened to Radio Four. He might have thought about various chores, admin, accounts…

But today is magnificent, and so will be John’s death. But John does not know this or understand. He does not hear angels or that distant buzz, for he is but a man, and when angels speak, man is deaf and blind.

Once, when John was barely twenty-one he dreamed of Alice, the girl then who is now the woman of the house. Alice sits inside, vaguely hearing the radio, the hum of the sun.

Through their engagement, they pretended they would never tire of each other, and that almost came to pass, even if both strayed the once, each pausing on a petal that seemed so lovely. In hindsight, two mistakes.

Hindsight says, “I told you so”, but hindsight lies. It is not hindsight that John lacked or Alice lacks, but vision, understanding a larger picture.

John’s son languishes in Maidstone Prison and this tiny prick will release him. And John and Alice have a daughter, Jennifer, a thin girl with certain difficulties who thinks of naked clowns and weeps constantly, but this insect kiss, the bee’s soft touch, will change every thing, the clowns will leave her and Jennifer will come home.

To the flower the bee is impossible, a droning 747, carrying a kiss of love. Now comes its greatest happy, auspicious moment.

Alice drifts; light glints on the Harveys. John opens the shed, the lawnmower gleams, the bee enters the garden.

About the Author

Born Wales, Irish-Welsh, RV Jones wrote full time from 1992 to 2015, edited judged and ran an on-line writing group. He published six books and “far too many” creative writing articles and stories – then spent eight years caring for asylum-seeing refugees, fighting Long Covid and burning out. He recently returned to writing. He lives in southern England, ten minutes from Salisbury Cathedral and twenty-five miles from Stonehenge.

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