The Beekeeper God

by by Greg Nissan

The Beekeeper God has been visiting me in my dreams. Well, no, he visits me during dream hours, wakes me up with his static, and takes a seat in my burgundy desk chair. He’s always dressed the same—an olive jumpsuit and that medieval mask, out of which his gray mustache bristles. That thorny stick of ash. He looks like Teddy Roosevelt, or my sixth grade girlfriend Helena’s dad, who everyone said looked like Teddy Roosevelt. The Great Compromiser. But, well, was that his nickname? No, no, he was Old Hickory. The Sage of Monticello. The Human Iceberg. Come to think of it, the only Roosevelt I could identify is Franklin, since I did a powerpoint presentation on Polio and Foreign Policy in 8th grade, and I could only recognize him then because of the caption under the picture. But the Beekeeper God, who looks like Helena’s father, he asks me to be his intern. I know his line of work is sticky and burdensome, the hours long and the coworkers mostly of a different species. I tell him no, I want the camaraderie of a real internship, slouching around the coffee shop in untucked beige shirts with massive collars, three and three attractive young men and women, in a big city full of shops with puns for names and rampant crime and poverty. Or is that Friends? They were always getting coffee on Friends. Were they interns? I remember watching the 10,000th episode with Helena, my sixth grade girlfriend, at her dad’s beach house. I turn down the offer to the man with his barbed wire mustache, mesh wire mask. But he says I’ll print your resume on solid gold and send it to all the top dogs at all the biggest firms. Sign me up! As long as I’m not fetching you coffee every minute, as if this weren’t some sort of supernatural albeit low-level position for a very minor deity. I could see him frown through the wires. Apparently, coffee was one of my main duties. Not that the Beekeeper God even drank coffee; it was just to shame me into the stereotypical intern role, an errand that would index my lack of pay. I’m willing to do anything else instead! I swear! He lays his cloth-skin hand on the zipper at his waist, buzzes the zipper down, and hefts out his staggering cock, colored with alternating bands of black and yellow along the pulsing shaft. Like an engorged, rotten candy cane. So I went to Starbucks, no big deal, and returned with a grande beverage. Or was it tall? But, of course, it was tall. Slender and warm, like Helena’s dad, Teddy Roosevelt. I had to ask Old Bull Moose to fetch me a glass from the second-to-top shelf whenever I wanted orange juice, which was, at the time, my favorite juice. Now I partake of more sophisticated juices, ones that leave my face in a sour collapse. Grapefruit juice. Kumquat juice. Something classy. I ask him about the colored bands on his penis and he explains it all, gesturing to the dangling wonder with a salesman’s enthusiasm that puts me at ease. “It’s a tattoo. I’m a Steelers fan. And I don’t mind Wiz Khalifa.” His low laugh buzzes through the partition. I think the reference near dated, but he snaps back through the brillo pad mask. “You’re the one writing about me, Aristaues, God of Beekeepers, an irrelevant God in this modern world of mechanized bee keeping and general agnosticism. As well as my hideous genitals. Don’t pawn off your cultural pedantry on me, you pervert.”