The drugs were started to take hold. My consciousness was evolving into a bit of water glistening on a tidal wave. I glanced around at my surroundings. The walls of the central mall were beginning to ripple and breath with me. The colors of the storefronts splashed and blurred like droplets of water on a fresh painting. My friend, John, who was sitting next to me on the bench had dreamy snake eyes and his mouth was gapped open. The darkness in the holes in his face struck me. They appeared to be infinitely deep. He burst out laughing.
“This stuff is crazy,” he said through a laugh.
“Oh my god, dude your face,” I said with an expression of utter amazement.
“What about my face?”
“It’s, its.” I couldn’t finish the thought. I couldn’t help but marvel at the penetrating darkness that surrounded his eyes. It looked utterly fascinating and ridiculous. I burst out laughing.
“What’s wrong with my face?” John asked his eyes showing the beginning signs of panic.
“Dude, I’m so high,” I replied stuck in hysterics.
“What’s wrong with my face?”
“This stuff is crazy.”
“Zach, what’s wrong with my face?”
“I feel like I’m in another dimension right now”
“ZACH” John yelled. “What’s wrong with my face?”
“Nothing’s wrong with your face, calm down I’m just high. Calm down”
“Oh,” John's face relaxed. “I’m so high, oh my god”
“Dude I’m high too,” I said through a grin. We both stared at each other’s eyes for a moment and then burst out laughing again.
“Zach we're in public!” John whisper shouted at me as his new face grew quickly serious.
“Oh right” We quickly masked our amusement, but after a few moments our lips began to quiver, and we burst out laughing again.
“What was this stuff again?” John asked as his eyes began to droop down towards his mouth. “Like molly and acid or something like that, there was something else right? Like it sounded like Manama namama mana Manama mama…” John’s words slowly seemed to dissolve into the air as I lost my focus on his speech. I looked back out at the mall around me. I had never seen so much chaos in my life. I felt like I was watching a beehive. The little humans were walking from each little store. Creating their honey and trading it to other humans. We're just bees, this is just a hive. The thought felt profound. Like the greatest scientific discovery ever. Humans are bees. The excitement building inside of me seemed to speed up the slight rippling of the colors and shapes around me. Everything buzzed. Little bees, buzzing. I stood up and glanced back at John. His face felt a mile away. I had to tell him. I had to tell him that we're all just bees.
“Were just bees.” John paused for a moment then burst out laughing. His laughing was manic, almost barbaric. Little bee, laughing.
“Were so high bro” he said in between convulsive laughs.
“Listen, John,” I said, my voice a half-whisper and my face stern. “Were bees, this mall is a hive. John, we’re bees.”
“Are you good bro?” John asked peering at me through squinty eyes.
“Were bees John, were little bees, buzzing around. Were just pretending. John.”
“Hey, Jack, your just high, okay, you're just high.”
“No, no John. This is real, holy shit, holy shit.” I began to bounce up and down on the bench with my hands gripping the bottom.
“Bro, I’m so high right now,” John replied his head swaying back and forth.
“Bees, John, Bees,” I said while jumping.
“Listen, I’m too high, to like, I don’t know, we’re, I’m too high. Holy fuck.” John finished with his eyes staring blankly at the mall behind me. I stared into his eyes and watched them get lost in the world around him. Little bee, dreaming. I faced out to the mall and saw all the bees fluttering to their little honeycomb rooms. I stood up from the bench and began to walk forward. The bees were buzzing and chirping all around me. They walked in lines, in patterns following each other. Mindless bees. I walked along the hall glancing at each store and studying the bees. Little human, watching. They were so cute but so dumb. I wanted to hug them all. I wanted to cover their faces with kisses. I wanted to love them forever. Keep them in a little jar. Tell them stories. Make them feel safe. I wanted them to know they were so cute and precious. I wanted them all to live happily ever after. I felt a sudden stab in my stomach as the bee’s expressions changed. Little bees, sting. I cringed at the word. Sting, these bees sting you, you can’t hug these bees, or cover them with kisses, they don’t like that. They will sting you and you’ll be hurt. These bees don’t like humans. I don’t belong here. I’m not a bee. Little human, leave. I began scouring the walls looking for a way out. I had to get out. I don’t belong here. These bees were looking at me. They were going to sting me. I swung my head around violently. I needed to find an exit. The image of a sign popped in my head. A red sign. I needed to find the sign. My feet stomped down the hall. My eyes darted from one color to the next. The bees were angry, their buzzing had turned violent. They were going to sting me. I quickened my pace avoiding the eyes of the little bees. Little bees, please don’t hurt me. I sped past the little nests. Little bees, leave me alone. I was just a human among bees. Bees sting humans. Bees hurt humans. Bees yell at you. Bees think you're worthless. Bees judge everything you do. Bees sting the moment you make a mistake. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve made lots of mistakes. Little bees, I’m sorry. My stomping sent ripples into the nest. I disturbed everything I touched. The bees were watching me as I messed everything up. I was ruining their perfect mess. I was a horrible human destroying them. Stomping all over their homes. Little bees, it’s my fault. Red. Little bees, I’m sorry. A red sign appeared on the side of the nest. I ran to it. My footsteps crashed against the ground. Destroying the nest. The bees were chasing me. Little bees, let me go. The last of the nest dissolved into oblivion behind me as I reached the door and pushed it open. Brightness blinded my eyes. Everything was white. I kept running. I heard a bee shouting behind me. I turned around. A bee was flying right at me. It was getting closer. I couldn’t move. I prepared for its sting. The bee collided and wrapped itself around me. I waited for the sting. I felt no sting, only an embrace. The bee wasn’t stinging me. The bee was hugging me.
“Zach, it's John, I’m here, your just high, okay, be with me, I’m, I’m trying to stay grounded here okay, be with me. It’s going to be okay.” The warmth of the bee spread through me. This bee was friendly. Everything was going to be okay. This friendly bee was here. Everything would turn out okay. The world around me relaxed. The sun stirred the breeze. I felt my consciousness drifting back to shore. John’s hug was tight around me. I returned the hug even tighter. Little humans, love. The thought struck me. I let it go. I watched as it drifted peacefully across my brain. The real world solidified around me. I sighed into John’s shoulder. We pulled apart and I stared at his face and its familiar darkness. We burst out laughing. I threw my head to the side in laughter and caught a glimpse of someone in a yellow coat leaving the mall. It reminded me of a bee leaving a beehive, then a thought struck me.