by Story Fischer
...I hadn’t been drinking champagne at noon on Friday, I would have been over at the honey house with Manny Chapman, my beekeeping mentor and owner of Queen Bee Honey, and possibly, just possibly, I might have saved him from what must have been a very painful death. Instead, oblivious to his pending demise and feeling slightly tipsy, I popped open bottle number three, filled more flutes, and passed them around to my guests.
I’d been intrigued by honeybees as long as I could remember, so last spring when Manny Chapman taught a beginning course in beekeeping, I’d signed right up. Before long, my fascination had become a passion. When the class ended, I hung around to keep absorbing knowledge.
All of last year I helped Manny in his beeyard, extracting and bottling honey, learning every single thing I could from him about beekeeping. This spring, Manny gave me two strong hives of my own as payment for helping him out.
In fact, we worked so well as a team, he’d started talking about a partnership down the line, expanding the honey business with more aggressive marketing and higher honey yields. At last count, Manny had eighty-one hives, each one producing approximately one hundred and fifty pounds of honey, depending on the year. If he wanted to expand his business, he needed help. And I was right there, ready to go.
Except now that was all on hold, because Hunter Wallace, my old boyfriend and a local cop, came in to find me.
“Manny’s on the ground in his beeyard,” he said to me. “I need your help, Story. He’s covered with bees and we can’t get near him.”
And that’s when everything started going wrong.