In a pinch, anything will do, Jo thought. She wondered whether she should write the sentence down in the little purple notebook that she carried with her, but decided it wasn’t important enough. She watched a bee climb higher onto a flower. Its furry body was enticing, a stuffed-animal in miniature, and she longed to touch it, to stroke its back gently with a finger and feel the hairs tickle her flesh.
She moved very slowly, trying to position herself so that she could see what the bee was doing inside the flower. She couldn’t remember how they carried pollen; did it stick to their legs or their bodies? If it was to the legs, was it the back or front ones? And what about that thing people always said, that bees weren’t, technically, supposed to be able to fly? She’d heard someone say that if you could convey to a bee that it wasn’t supposed to fly, it would fall right out of the air. A beard and rimless glasses shaped themselves in her mind around a thin-lipped mouth saying the words, trying to explain the concept of conceptual reality to her (and that was an issue in itself: the concept of something conceptual? It was all very confusing.). She thought of whispering softly, in bee-language, “You can’t really fly, you know,” but decided it would be much too cruel.
A shadow fell over her, the bee and the flower. Jo didn’t move, and neither did the flower, but the bee was startled and flew away. “Wait,” Jo called to it. “Come back!” But it was gone. She turned to the possessor of the offending shadow. “Look what you did!”
“What did I do?”
“You scared the bee away.”
“I did no such thing. Come, dear, supper is being served. There’s green jello for dessert today – your favorite!”
Jo sighed, but she allowed herself to be helped up and steered inside. She suddenly had an idea. “Can I have honey with my tea and toast?”
“Honey? Why, of course you may, dear. You never ask for anything special, you’re so good, I’m sure we can give you some honey today as a treat.”
“Good.” Jo pulled the notebook out of her pocket and stopped for a moment to write down the following:
If you can’t watch the bee collecting pollen, at least you can taste a little honey. In a pinch, anything will do.