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A sting in the tail - a wasp's story

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posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 08:08 PM
Harry was a wasp. There was nothing about him to distinguish him from his peers and so he led a pretty ordinary life by wasp standards......... until the day of the wedding.

Harry found himself in a large garden containing a marquee, chairs, tables and the thing that had attracted him there – food. He flew about a bit, tasting this and that and generally making a nuisance of himself. A very ordinary afternoon by wasp standards. He got swatted away a few times, but such was his nature that he didn't let it bother him too much. A few of his friends had come to join the party and generally speaking they were having about as good a time as a wasp could expect at a wedding.

Harry found himself attracted to a nearly empty glass of something strong smelling and flew in and took a couple of small slurps and promptly wished he hadn't. He coughed and spluttered as he felt as if his throat had caught fire. Wasps just aren't used to whisky. Poor Harry flew around in a fever
of misery and finally found somewhere to land.

Just Percy's luck that Harry chose to land on his bare arm. Percy was a not-very-favoured wedding guest. He had been invited with great politeness and equally great reluctance. He'd made a fool of himself at weddings before, and several parties, and a family christening and practically every social event he'd ever been invited to, actually.

On this occasion Percy was 'on the wagon' and was under no illusions as to his fate if he chose to disgrace himself again. Hard as it was, Percy was stone cold sober and had been for a couple of months – in training for the great day. He had wandered over to find something to eat and thought he'd found a safe table with only plates of food on it. And of course, the nearly empty glass that Harry had visited with such regrettable results. Percy hadn't seen that.

So there he was munching on a cocktail sausage when a slightly nauseous (and still afire) Harry landed on his arm. Percy tried to wave Harry away, but Harry was stubborn – he couldn't fly away in his condition and even Percy's wildly gesticulating arm seemed a better option than making the attempt. So there he stayed with Percy getting more and more animated and nervous – fearing he would be stung.

This little tableau attracted the attention of Harry's mates. They weren't used to seeing one of their own kind 'bronco riding' a human being and it was beginning to look like fun. Not to say a little impressive. One or two even cheered him on.

Harry, in the meantime had decided enough was enough. Even impressing his friends wasn't enough compensation for staying put, feeling as queasy as he did. In fact, being a wasp, Harry had a bit of a short fuse and in the end muttered the wasp equivalent of “Bugger it” and stung Percy before retreating to the trees to brag to the others.

Now, unfortunately for Percy, Harry's sting had absorbed all the alcohol in his system before it was projected into Percy – a recovering alcoholic. And the alcohol in the sting got absorbed into Percy's blood stream.

To his credit he tried to fight it, but it was just too much. Percy went in search of a bottle. By the time he found one Harry and his little gang were just thinking of leaving the party. Harry'd had his moment of glory and his mates were getting a little tired of his boasting. But then, just as Harry was about to give him one final 'buzz' for being so unsupportive when he was sick, Percy let out a loud, drunken roar having fallen over a chair. All the guests stopped whatever they were doing and looked towards him in disgust, disappointment, glee, or a general air of 'what did we expect?'

Harry and his little troop stopped to watch too. Percy got up using the sort of language that sounded unseemly even to a wasp. A couple of guests came over to try and placate Percy and made the mistake of taking either arm – one of which was extremely sore from Harry's sting. Indeed, the soreness and pain of the sting provided Percy with his excuse for seeking a drink.

Percy did what he could to shake off his 'restrainers'. They did what they could to restrain him more firmly. The bride came over full of remonstrations and accusations of having had her day ruined. Worse, Percy's wife, showing none of the sympathy an injured man could expect from her, chose now to complain about every last little thing that Percy had ever done to show her up throughout thirty years of marriage. The smallest of the bridesmaids burst into tears, traumatised by what she was witnessing and suffered teasing from both page-boys for being a cry-baby. Well, they were utterly fed-up of being dressed up like Little Lord Fauntleroy and needed to do something to re-establish their masculinity.

The wasps had never been so well entertained by a group of humans or by anything else. Entertainment was pretty much of a novelty in wasp society, and yet here it was – and of the very top order too. By the time the fuss had all subsided they were tired from laughing and went back to their nest with little aching ribs.

Harry had been the hero of the hour and spent the next couple of weeks telling his story to all the other wasps, who liked to hear it over and over again. Their nest buzzed with great merriment throughout the summer until it attracted the attention of neighbouring wasps.

The neighbours, in truth, were a bit jealous. Even though they secretly enjoyed the story they would never admit it to Harry. They started to taunt him and suggest that he couldn't do it again.
Hearing the taunts of the neighbours, Harry's friends started to encourage him to repeat the performance. Some of them were a bit jealous too, and many others wanted to see such fun for themselves.

Harry, with his reputation to keep up, went looking for another party. A party would not be a hard
thing to find in the summer. Of course, a 'dry' alcoholic would be another matter. And Harry had no idea how he had elicited such a reaction from Percy. But, not appreciating the depths of his ignorance he went blithely on his quest.

He succeeded one hot, sunny afternoon and flew off at top speed to alert the other wasps. There was quite a gathering what with the members of the neighbouring nest, and the guests at the targeted party could hardly believe what they were seeing. They all dived for cover until they
noticed that the great swarm had settled in the trees around the garden and didn't seem to be doing anything other than watching them.

As all the food and drink was outside, they gradually ventured out. They were all hungry, definitely thirsty and didn't want to see good food and drink go to waste.

Harry, therefore, found himself with plenty of potential victims and a garden full of food all to himself. He flew about, nibbling and slurping and making a nuisance of himself, just as he always did.

Some of his audience thought he was taking too much time before getting on with the act. They could see how much he was taking advantage of having the food to himself and were losing patience. A few started jeering and expressing doubts as to his ability to entertain them. Harry thought that perhaps he had better get on with it and landed on some-one's arm.

The arm belonged to Stuart who was very aware of all the wasps settled in the trees. He was a bit less drunk than some of the others and guessed that if he started to swat one wasp he could aggravate the others, who might decide to invade the garden and threaten everyone. Stuart kept very still, Harry started to buzz about trying to get a reaction. The audience got impatient. The party guests started to laugh at Stuart for being the only one who was being bothered by a wasp. In disgust, he swatted Harry away and retreated into the house.

Harry hung his head and decided that he needed to sting someone although usually he would need to be provoked. As had been the case when he stung Percy. It was a bit of an effort to sting someone and Harry was a bit bloated and didn't really feel like it. Until he heard the wasp equivalent of the word 'fraud' yelled at him from somewhere in the audience. That just about made him mad enough and he went off to find a victim. Anyone would do. He landed on the back of the neck of the nearest human and stung away. Then he flew off to the trees and settled back to watch the fun.

Well, all that happened was that a drunken man cursed a bit and got carted off by his friends to get treatment for the sting. Big anti-climax. Harry was hooted at and trailed back to his nest in abject disgrace.

It took a long time for Harry to live down the shame. He'd disappointed everyone and he and his nest were laughing stocks. Harry was a broken wasp.

Autumn came and the wasps started to die off, some of them would survive the winter, but not all.

Harry survived. He saw the following summer. By then most of the wasps who knew of his notoriety had perished and a new generation were up and about. The younger wasps were a bit bolshie, even by wasp standards, and liked to take the mickey out of old-timers like Harry.

Harry still had some of his pride and the memory of his tormentors from last year was starting to fade. The memory of Percy and his antics was still fresh though.

One day Harry came across a group of younger wasps, sitting in the trees, idling about and decided to tell them his story. He told it with great flourish and only a little exaggeration. Such had been the event that exaggeration wasn't really necessary. Although it never hurt to describe his feelings and heroism in the minutest detail.

The young wasps were impressed and asked many questions. Some of them could hardly wait to tell their friends. Others couldn't wait to ask the older wasps about the event and get corroboration.

By the end of the day Harry had regained some of his notoriety and prepared himself to live on it for the rest of the summer. His old mates snorted in derision and sarcastically reminded him that he could never repeat the feat. Of course Harry should have know better than to brag, if he'd had an ounce of sense he would have realised that the young wasps would want to see a similar event for themselves. But Harry wasn't very bright, by wasp standards.

So, Harry spent the second and last summer of his life hawking his story around to less and less impressed younger wasps. His old friends started to avoid him, although they felt sorry for him.

Percy spent the rest of his life recounting the story of the shame and embarrassment he had suffered at a wedding party. The one where he had got stung by a wasp and been pushed back into the bottle because of it. If it hadn't been for that one incident he would be sober now. His wife and family and all his old friends started to avoid him. None of them felt sorry for him.


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