bridgecity's Diaryland Diary

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Hive pt. 2

My friend (we’ll call him Earl) comes over around 10 am with a 50 foot ladder, a pole saw and a can of Raid. Earl wants the hive very badly. Earl is in his late 70’s, retired, rich and bored. Back in the 80’s, he use to train police horses to not be scared of gun-fire. We became friends after I became a knifemaker. He's also a knifemaker. He collects weird random items and had become fixated on the hive in my neighbors’ tree.
Earl doesn’t think his ladder is tall enough so he pulls his truck up to the tree, fully extends the ladder and rests it against the branch on which the hive is connected. He has a rope in his hand, which he didn’t explain to me why. As he holds the ladder it abruptly comes loose from the middle hitch and comes sliding down gashing his hand wide open. He momentarily ignores this until his hand and arm is completely covered in blood making the ladder too slippery. I get some bandages and we spend some time with the wound. It is a very bad wound but he is completely unfazed. I hold the ladder as he slowly makes his way to the top. The ladder, fully extended and now being held together by a length of rope is gently bobbing against the tree branch.
Earl is rich because he sued a hospital for malpractice after he had a heart attack from quitting drinking too suddenly and died in the ambulance, then again on the operating table. He now has a pacemaker and an internal defibrillator.
Earl sits on the top rung of the ladder and ties the rope to the branch. He starts swatting at his face and yelling about how the hive is full of baby yellow jackets. I tell him to forget this whole thing and come down. He yells something about already going this far and begins sawing the branch as he’s being stung over and over on the face and arms. He stops sawing and climbs back down. My neck is sore from much craning. He’s laughing and really enjoying all this. He’s covered in stings. He says they don’t hurt like adult yellow jacket stings but decided to stop, nonetheless and saw the branch from ground. I do the sawing while Earl holds the rope ready for the branch to fall. The branch falls and the rope catches against a lower branch and he lowers it down and begins dowsing it with Raid. By this time little yellow jackets are flying around like crazy. Earl is laughing and swatting them away.
We let the Raid sink in and wait a few minutes for the insects to dissipate and die. The hive is fully integrated into the branch and it is much larger than it seemed up in the tree. We remove excess branches and preserve the primary branch with the hive. Earl throws it in the back of his truck and rebandages his hand. His blood is all over everything. He is completely unfazed. He says he hopes the drive back home will shake out all the remaining yellow jackets but if it doesn’t, he’ll leave it outside and let the freeze kill them off. We peeled back some of the layers of hive-paper and revealed the myriad cells inside. The thing has to be at least 15 years old we guessed but probably older. Neither of us knows that much about yellow jackets.

11:54 p.m. - 2019-04-09

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