A disembodied voice in the woods calls out.
“They won’t bother you as long as you don’t panic.”
“Um, okay. . . .”
“Just slowly back up.”
“You said to hold still.”
“You can’t stand there forever, can you?”
“I might surprise you. I hate bees.”
“Everyone says they hate bees, but really, everyone LOVES bees.”
I turn on my hiking booted heel.
Standing before me is a short, Asian, man, roughly in his early thirties. He holds a small, smoking, can.
Yes, I said smoking.
I also look around. How I didn’t notice several apple crate sized boxes SWARMING with bees, I’ll never know.
“It’s called an Apiary.”
“The boxes of bees? Apiary. You know? Bee hives.”
“Why not just call them bee hives?”
He giggles a little.
“They are bee hives. A lot of them in one place is called an Apiary”
He walks past me and makes the can of smoke more, uh, smoky. He aims it at a box of bees that seems a little testy.
They all calm down, immediately.
“You learn something new every day.”
He gets the bees settled and has me follow him into another clearing.
“What brings you out here today?”
Private Investigator Rule #17, never divulge your name or reasons for being somewhere.
Because you never know who or what may impact your investigation.
“Oh, I just LOVE ghost towns.”
“You talking about that old mine up the way?”
“You bet, ever been there?”
“Uh, no, not really. Seen a few folks go up there though.”
He pauses again.
“Hardly, it isn’t a well-used trail.”
“Well, thanks for the ‘rescue’. I should get moving, is it much farther, Mr…?”
He gets really involved with his smoke can for a second. Then he smiles a big smile.
“Um, SURE, don’t mention it. The bees are harmless if you leave them alone. You have a bit of a hike ahead of you, so, yeah, take it easy.”
And that is that.
He never tells me who he is. (mental note)