Flash Literature, Poetry, Art and Photography!


Nancy Smith



The Sting




On honey bees: The drone does not have a father. He is expelled from the hive before winter unable to forage, produce honey or take care of himself.


Some people find Sam’s grief therapy to be cruel and unusual. In his defense, I think he has heard somewhere that one should work through their grief and keep busy. He just may be taking the advice too literally.


Sam is propelling his mother, Nellie, through her grief. I saw him take her for a reckless golf cart ride the other night, going fast like he couldn’t stop. Her face slanted in depression; she acknowledged my wave with a half smile and I blew her a kiss.


Sam has temporarily moved in with his mother so she doesn’t have to face the nights alone. He rises at 3:45 a.m. to make it to his job on time and he is certain his mother is out of bed and dressed before he leaves. She is in the kitchen by 4:15 a.m. cooking his breakfast.


During his lunch hour, Sam returns and demands a hot cooked lunch. “She needs to do this,” he says, and he may be right. He has brought her his laundry to fill her afternoon. After his shift, he is back from a long day and of course he is famished.  Nellie goes through the motions in her kitchen, puts food on the table.    


Meanwhile, the bees have taken up residence underneath the screened porch. They swarmed the house the day Charles, Nellie’s husband, came home from work with that terrible headache. The monophyletic group established a new colony, right there, under the spot where Charlie took his last breath.


I stop by with a plate full of brownies. I ring the doorbell and the guard bees hum in response to the disturbance. They hang close to the bottom board that closes in the porch. Nellie moves to the door in slow motion and invites me in.


“I understand that Sam has you in the kitchen, maybe this will help,” I say, presenting the plate. “We are all so very sorry.”

Nellie’s eyes loom behind her tear drop glasses as she contemplates the aluminum foil stretched over the dish. She nods and takes the offering of sweets.


“It happened so fast. Charlie worked on Wednesday, went to the doctor on Thursday, started using a walker by Saturday and was in a wheelchair by Monday. He had surgery and it was all downhill from there.” She places the plate on a table in anticipation of a hug and I fold her into my arms.


“When I cry, I just can’t stop,” Nellie says, wiping her eyes with a worn tissue. “This all happened so fast. We were together as a family on the fourth of July. Here I go again.” Nellie’s shoulders convulse and her tears flow.


“That’s okay,” I say. Nellie she sniffs and moves away from the subject and peers through the screen door.     


“These bees are carrying on so. Sam tried to get something to kill them at the Home Depot and the girl told him, ‘I wouldn’t sell you anything that would harm honey bees.’ Can you imagine that?”


I stare through the door and watch the bees take short flights and gather nervously at the foundation of the porch. They are surrounded by plants in full bloom, flowers they can use for nectar, I presume.


Later, in the heat of the afternoon, my thoughts turn to Nellie and I can picture her folding socks and placing a pot roast in the oven. The bees below her are also working and checking tasks off their lists of responsibilities.


I know Sam will return by evening hungry and worn. He will compliment his mother on a fine meal. He will gather his laundry and watch a little TV before he retires for the evening, before the cycle begins all over again.


I wonder, in his flurry of activity if he has had time to grieve the loss of his father. I am not sure how long he intends to stay with his mother; I suppose he will be back in his own home by winter. I just hope he will be able to take care of himself by then.


©Nancy Smith


Bio: A writer/artist balancing several projects at once, Nancy Aldersmith's greatest joy is knowing her border collie Storm is nearby, ready for a walk or play session. Nancy resides in Vicksburg, Michigan on beautiful Indian Lake. Her art may be viewed at Writing and art are featured on

Motivation : This story is based on a true encounter with a woman who lost her husband suddenly to a brain tumor. Her son attempted to help her through her grief the  only way he knew how.

Elie Wiesel: "Write only if you cannot live without writing. Write only what you alone can write."


F. Scott Fitzgerald: "You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you've got something to say."


Jean-Luc Godard: "Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self."


Pablo Picasso: "Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life."


George Carlin: " When cheese gets its picture taken, what does it say? " & "Where do forest rangers go to get away from it all?"