A Bupkis in Gary’s Bonnet by Walter Bjorkman
This time Gary the Beekeeper decided he was gonna listen to his customer. His last shipment of raw Eucalyptus honey from Santa Cruz to the Bronx didn’t work out so well, because he didn’t listen to his customer. It was packed shabbily because he didn’t listen to his customer, put in the big 5 gallon glass jar that said “fragile” right there etched into it. Wrapped in a shabby carboard box that had no corrugation, left devoid of packing peanuts because he didn’t listen to the customer, tied with no twine, because he didn’t listen to the customer. The 60 lb container rose to the top of the carousel in the baggage area at JFK last, alone, uncushioned by the underwear and inflatable party dolls packed in the suitcases that now circled below, waiting for the Sad Men on Vacation Society of Kamloops to retrieve. It took a plunge down the ramp, smashed rather unsweetly into the overpacked suitcase of Barry Breathholder, Grand HooHaa of the Society, burst open and spilled its gooey insides over all the bags. As they continued to go round, the honey acted like a paste, until they all came together in a pile that looked like a beehive, because Gary didn’t listen to his customer.
Gary the Beekeeper grew up in a home where he had to listen to and do whatever anyone else told him to do, and throughout his childhood and adolescence, he complied, not wanting to upset his one-armed Momsy, who threatened him by saying “If I only had two arms, I’d crush your head in them like a vise until your brains oozed out your ears”. As a result, as an adult he developed an averse reaction to doing whatever any one else told him to do. The shrinks never saw such an extreme case before, publishing their work in the psychiatry journals with the diagnosis of “bupkisitis”, so named because they could do nothing about it.
Gary the Beekeper learned to adapt. When he opened his one man beekeeping business he put up signs all over the place “Do not tell proprietor to wash hands after using” in the bathroom; “Do not tell proprietor what you want, point” over the counter; “Do not tell proprietor how you want your change” on the cash register. This worked out well for the most part, and since his was a local business, and people got to know him, he did pretty good.
But then this New York Man came in and bossed him around, pack it good, put it in a sturdy box with plenty of packing, tie it tight. Bupkisitis kicked in, and he didn’t do any of it. Now look at the mess he was in, probably have to pay to replace all the damaged suitcases, the New York Man might sue him, he would have to replace the lost honey, all because he didn’t listen to the customer.
Momsy was right, Gary the Beekeeper concluded. The sweet dreams at night of him crushing her head in his two arms until her brains came out her ears were inverted to the nightmare of her crushing his head in her legs, her one arm waving in the air like a bronco buster as she screamed “The customer is always right”.
So when the New Man came in, Gary the Beekeeper fought all his instincts to do the opposite. The New Man had with a him a hive of bees of his own, placed them on the counter and said “Two months”. “Pardon me, Mr. New Man, what do you mean?” “Two months. I want you to keep them for me for two months.” “I don’t do that, this is a shop where I sell honey.” “What do you mean? The sign out front says ‘Gary the Beekeeper’, so I fully expect you to keep my bees for me for two months. But whatever you do, don’t let them out to collect pollen and produce honey, it will be too heavy when I pick it up.”
Gary the Beekeeper fought all his instincts, and in a return to the womb, complied. Besides, his old bees had been taken from him by the Sacramento Bee police as a result of the JFK incident, he was running out of honey to sell, and maybe Momsy was right, after all. Letting the bees produce honey sent him onto a huge guilt trip, but he had no choice if he were to eat, oh I am such a baddie afterall, he thought over and over.
Two months came and went, the New Man never returned. Officer Opium came by that day and told Gary the Beekeeper that the New Man crashed on the winding Santa Cruz Hills road on his way back, tumbling into the ocean. As they couldn’t find him, no way of identifying him, Gary the Beekeeper might as well keep the bees.
Then the letter, and the check, came in the mail. Pan Cram decided they were at fault for the JFK incident, settled with the Kamloops Sad Men on Vacation Society for the damages to their possesions, and are enclosing a check for $10,000 for Gary the Beekeeper’s pain and suffering. With this, Gary the Beekeeper expanded his enterprise, it took off from there, and today he is known as “The Bee King of the West”.
Momsy was wrong, Gary the Beekeeper was free at last.
Originally seen on metazen, October 29, 2009