Nana K. Twumasi, Jared Stanley & Donna de la Perrière

Excerpt from the chapbook The Beekeeper (March 2015)

by Nana K. Twumasi

It’s not a difficult task. The miniscule cameras and microphones are cheap and easily accessible, and, as most men of his generation can do with technological muscle-memory and a good set of instructions, setting up the feed and relaying it to his computer is “no trouble.” In the weeks since their involvement he’s adopted this phrase. Evie has an old-fashioned way about her; even her name is old-timey—he’s sure one of his grandmother’s friends was also an Evie, one of those biddies with fragile hair and false teeth, drinking mimosas in the garden on a Tuesday morning, dropping obscenities and burping like a teenaged boy. His Evie has collected and speaks anachronisms, like “hooray!” when she’s excited, and “certainly not,” or “how dare you;” this last generally said in jest, but Mitchell gets the feeling she’s used it in seriousness, with that old Hollywood vixen emphasis, flashing eyes and mouth drawn into an impenetrable knot, “how dare you?” Maybe less anachronistic and more British, a culture that to him seems antiquated.

“What would you say instead,” Evie asked, when questioned.

“I’d say ‘not a problem,’ or ‘no big deal.”

“Hm. I can’t see how they’re different.”

“They aren’t, I guess. But it’s funny to hear you say things like that.”

“Oh how dare you,” she’d said, and gulped her wine, and scooted a little closer to him, the friction causing the vinyl-wrapped bench they shared to squeal in protest.

In Evie’s apartment he moves quietly and works quickly, having scouted out the most appropriate hiding places before dinner, while she was occupied at the stove or elsewhere. It was their third date, the serious one, she’d said, because she hardly allowed friends into her apartment, let alone a strange man who’d picked her up at the grocery store. And she was cooking for him, on top of all that. She hoped he’d find a good way to show his appreciation. The wine Mitchell had brought was a start, and his backpack, bulky and full. Were there more treats inside it? She hadn’t let him answer. She’d taken his belongings, and the wine, and stashed them away in their appropriate places.

“I’m not a fan of chaos,” she’d said, “ I don’t like things hanging about. I always try to find the order in everything.”

“So you’re not into entropy, then?”

Evie showed him a genuine smile. “Nice ten-cent word.”

*               *               *               *               *               *               *               *               *               *

To do what he does, he has to be good at reading people, and, by extension, gleaning what isn’t on the page to discover what they are hiding, or what they lack. He hadn’t sought Evie out as with the others. She was a surprise, and he feels particularly affectionate towards her because of this. He finds her innocence staggering, the way she looks at him sometimes, hopeless and hopeful at the same time, like he might save her from something she can’t articulate.