James A. McLaughlin
James A. McLaughlin, a native of Virginia, lives with his wife and large dog in the Wasatch Range east of Salt Lake City, Utah. He holds law and MFA degrees from the University of Virginia. His essays and fiction have appeared in River Teeth, Camas, Portland Review, Clackamas Literary Review and elsewhere. He’s working on a novel, set in the Southwest. His writing and photography can be found on the Internet at jamesamclaughlin.com. 
Jun 01 2008
The bees in the wall had been flying out in suicide pacts of two, three, five bees at once. They went for Rice’s face and he tried to brush them away with his work gloves, but he’d lost count of the stings. He was removing the last section of paneling when a lone bee stung him dead center on his forehead, which made his eyes water. He blinked hard and kept working, jammed the end of his crowbar under the thin, dusty panels and snapped them away from the studs, then again, moving from floor to ceiling and back down on the other side. When everything was loose he dropped the crowbar and reached back for the sledgehammer,smashed the whole section clattering to the floor.