Cletus watched the bees head in the direction of the RV so he snatched the ice chest up by the handle and chased after them. The swarm appeared to be gaining some height as they moved along. The ice chest was hard for Cletus to handle so he let it dangle down so that one half of it was being dragged along on the ground. Cletus was still dazed by his fall from the tire stack but he wasn’t about to just give up. His heal caught the ice chest a couple of times as it bounced on the ground behind him.The bees were pulling a head as Cletus trailed behind them. He weaved around several debris piles. He was careful not to step back into any armadillo holes. With his eyes fixed on the swarm, he moved across the landscape like a wild cat in pursuit of its prey. Without even looking down he jumped over an old toilet that had been discarded on the ground long ago.

This pursuit reminded him of his school days when he could run like the wind. It was on the last day of school and he had just finished up the ninth grade and was on his way home when this pit bull took out after him. It was also his birthday and his friends were throwing him a happy 20th birthday party that evening. That pit bull didn’t stand a chance. Cletus threw his legs into high gear and he left that dog way behind.

The underbrush was getting thicker now as Cletus kept the swarm in sight. It was much harder for him to maneuver. The bees were flying over the tree tops and they were picking up speed. Cletus was falling behind and was loosing site of the swarm. He began to realize that he wasn’t 20 years old anymore and could not run as fast as he used to. The underbrush was really tearing into his exposed skin as he desperately tried to keep up with the swarm. Cletus didn’t see the 5 foot drop into the gully until it was too late. His body kept going and his feet kept running as he was air born headed in a downward direction. He landed on his feet at the bottom of the gully. His eyes were still focused on the swarm in the distance. He decided to give it one last ditch effort. He plunged to the top of the gully with the ice chest in tow. He started running as fast as his legs would go. By now the bees were barely visible. Cletus passed between two small elm trees and as his body went between them the ice chest was too wide and got wedged between them. The ice chest suddenly stopped but Cletus’s body kept moving forward. When the slack in his arm ran out, the ice chest handle held firm. His legs kept going. First forward. Then up. Now Cletus was in a horizontal position about 5 feet in the air. His weight tugged on the ice chest handle and it broke off. He cruised through the air for a while and then landed in a clump of bushes.

He felt totally defeated as he laid there in a tight ball. He was bloody and sweaty. His body was in pain and he was out of breath. The swarm was long gone and he came up empty handed. He laid there for an hour or two weighing his options. He really wanted those bees.  Cletus finally picked himself up. He grabbed the one remaining handle on the ice chest and headed for the RV.

Cletus looked at himself in the mirror. He still had the white dots on his face from the fire ants and the oil on his face and beard. Now he had blood dripping down his torn skin from the underbrush. He cleaned himself up the best he could and rubbed some potted meat juice on his wounds. He went outside and grabbed the tarp that he hung up earlier to dry. He made his bed up with the tarp and laid down for a nap. As Cletus was lying there, he suddenly had a thought. “I will go to the book store and find me a book on bees”.

With that thought, Cletus drifted off to sleep.