Dying in Paradise


Image by Ryunosuke Kikuno

       She danced like none of us had ever experienced before. The timing and precision of every waggle were impeccable. She was ecstatic but not out of control. She was clearly in the zone, radiating sheer joy and delight, unable to contain the blazing excitement that roared within and emanated from every waggle she made. Some of the others took off immediately, but I was too mesmerized to move, pulled to stay by her magnetic performance.        Usually, Jasmine danced like the rest of us, nothing spectacular – just the appropriate movements to convey directions. But this dance promised something special. In the midst of my awe, Rose came and poked me, shattering the spellbound state I was in.

       “What are you waiting for, Lily?” she said. “Come on, let’s fly.”

       As if I had been ruthlessly shaken awake and torn from a pleasant dream, my reaction was unintentionally curt. “What are you doing, Rose?” I hissed. “Can’t you see I’m busy?”

       She looked at me with surprise, taken aback by the harsh response. “Do what you want,” she said, obviously affronted. “Just remember that the map is not the territory.”

       Rose took off. She was right; rather than continuing to admire the dance, I was sure to face something even more spectacular by following the directions. So, what was I waiting for? Jasmine had already mapped out the route and was now simply waggling the finishing touches to complete the dance with bravura.

        Once liberated from the invisible chains in which the dance had held me captured, I could not depart soon enough. Visiting this place that had bestowed Jasmine with the prowess to dance so elegantly and beautifully was a must. Judging from the dance, it was a place unlike any other.

        Her performance roused excited anticipation in the entire colony, and everyone wanted to fly there, even those obligated to stay home and tend to duties in the hive. Without further delay, my wings flapped faster than ever as I darted out of the hive. The sun beamed gracefully; spring was in the air. This was what it was all about – blossoming season had arrived. I passed by all the familiar spots in the forest without halting. Despite temptations looming everywhere, I was determined to follow Jasmine’s directions.

       After a flight that felt like an eternity, I finally arrived. I had reached the edge of the forest and was met by a vast open field that stretched far into the distance. To my astonishment, the place seemed more paradisical than I had dared to imagine. All over the place, colorful and exotic flowers bloomed irresistibly. The air was filled with delectable pollen and lush fragrances of sweet nectar. The place was buzzing.

        A dazzling flower caught my attention and I hastened toward it without thinking twice. Hovering before it, admiring its voluptuous curves and delicate features, I became extremely aroused, and I could tell that the flower was flattered. Subtly relaxing its petals to open wider, it graciously invited me inside. I took a deep breath before entering, soaking up the blissful odors that oozed from it. Then I penetrated. If ever there was a heaven on Earth, this was surely it. I stuck out my tongue and sucked its delicious nectar with voracious lust while bathing in an abundance of golden and glistening pollen. The flower clearly enjoyed it as well. We were beautifully synchronized, completely in tune with one another. The more aroused I became, the more the flower did too. And as the flower’s arousal intensified, so did mine. This positive feedback loop steadily transported us into states of intense orgasmic pleasure. Climactically, excesses of pollen and nectar spurted out wildly from the flower and my entire body vibrated uncontrollably. I felt more alive than ever and buzzed resoundingly as I exited the flower and moved on to the next.

       Completely covered in pollen and intoxicated with bliss, I reluctantly left this paradise as the sun began setting in the West. Returning to the hive, I eagerly unloaded honey and pollen with great satisfaction and a sneer of pride. Job well done. The atmosphere in the hive was simmering with good vibes. Everyone who had returned from paradise was not only exuding positivity and liveliness, but the honey they produced was also off the charts and the pollen was of superior quality.

       Marigold the third, our Queen, was elated and promptly commanded that all future foraging was to be carried out exclusively in paradise. She realized the fruitful potential of the exceptional sources of sustenance to provide the means for expanding the empire. She was ambitious and eyed an opportunity to rule the largest colony in the forest. She summoned all drones to inseminate her and before long the hive was overflowing with eggs and larvae. The population exploded and workers labored hard to keep up with the Queen’s remarkable fertility. I flew to paradise every day, incessantly flying from flower to flower, and although it was exhausting, it was also a thrill. When, during flights home, I felt fatigued by the heavy loads of pollen, feeling as if my wings couldn’t possibly flap any longer, I reminisced on the variety of flowers I had penetrated that day. This instantly gave me a spark of energy to complete the journey home. Indeed, compared to the strenuous work inside the hive – constantly producing wax, building combs, nursing eggs and larvae, tending to the Queen, and guarding the hive -- flying to paradise and mingling with gorgeous flowers was a blessing.

       “Keep working hard,” Queen Marigold told the workers in the hive, “and one day, you will be granted flight to paradise.”

       Using the prospect of flying to paradise as motivation was an ingenious strategy. Every worker labored with all their might, knowing that one day