Eco-Novel, Bee Quiet! Written to inspire the world to go green!

Chapters 16-18

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 16

 

In preparation for the future quest, most people around the world who could, went home.  A few minutes before the future quest was to begin, airplane flights over oceans or away from a place to land were piggybacked on alien spacecraft and supported stationary in the sky.  Trains stopped on tracks.  Busses and cars pulled over.  Ships and cruse liners anchored in place.  Sidewalks, parks, stores and general public areas were void of people.

 

Families in living rooms huddled together in uncertain anticipation.  Thoughts grappled with the actual presence of other worldly beings.  It was an unreal and surreal experience.  Normally, most people want to know what the future holds for them.  They wish a crystal ball or dependable psychic could lay it all out.  But the interest in knowing about the future had always been in the areas of romance, career or money matters.  This was different.  In the moments to come, the whole world would know what it was in for.  Tomorrow would never be the same.

 

To prepare for a global future quest that involved over five billion people, thousands of beings from Indigo's species manifested their presence around the world.  They were all light beings.  Their hues represented all colors of the rainbow.  The light beings could shrink down to the size of a baseball or expand their light energy to encompass several miles.  Each light being began to expand to maximal capacity.  The Earth was covered with a colorful patchwork of radiant light.

 

Betty was gathered on the sofa with her children.  Outside the window, they saw the atmosphere take on a blue tone.  They were all quiet not knowing what would happen next.  The two youngest children on the couch Birdie and Eric fell asleep.  Noticing that his two siblings were asleep, Sean, Betty and Wave’s fifteen-year-old son got up to sit next to his mother.  The two embraced, and their hearts began to pound in fear of the unknown.  “Mom, I’m scared,” he whispered. 

 

In motherly fashion, Betty held him close to her.  She began to whisper the Lord’s Prayer. “Our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth . . .” and she fell asleep.

 

Every human on the planet was in a deep slumber.  The birds still flew.  The fish still swam.  Rats still ran in the sewers.  The natural world enjoyed a retreat, a parenthesis of time, from the bombardment of man’s, noise, oppressive presence and pattering.  Would this be a permanent happenstance that nature longed for, or was it just a short reprieve from human stressors?  Only time would tell if the 5% of the world’s inhabitants would awaken again and continue their adverse environmental habits.

 

The places visited and the calamities seen would all be the same for each person experiencing the future quest.  Individual involvement would be solitary and unique to the person’s personality, culture and understanding.  At the same time, no two future quest experiences would be alike just as dreams are distinctive to each person.  Questers would be able to ask questions of their hued future-quest-inducer during the vision of Earth’s pending destiny. 

 

Betty was in a place that was smog filled.   She knew that she had begun her future quest.   ‘Where am I?’ She thought. ‘What’s that smell?  The air is so heavy and thick.  Smells like gasoline and sewage, and it feels like it’s getting caught up and stuck in my sinuses.  My eyes are burning and are getting watery.  Oh, man, my throat is burning.  God it stinks!  I’m trying to get a breath.’  She began to cough.  ‘It makes my lungs feel heavy.  There is no air!’ 

 

The chemicals of the smog interacted with the mucus linings of her bronchial tubes.  Betty began to have a spontaneous asthma attack.  She had never had asthma problems before, but the toxic vapor was so chemically assaulting to her lungs that an intense inflammation event was happening.   The delicate air sacs that normally captured oxygen to disseminate it to the body began to spasm and close in protest to the fumes.  Her respiratory system began to swell so dramatically that the airways were closed off.  Even though she tried to draw in a deep breath, the swollen tissues of the lungs were pressed against itself, not allowing airflow.   It was an instant chemically induced suffocation, the tipping point of one toxic molecule too many that shut down the delicate balance of the body’s function.

 

‘I’m getting dizzy.  I can’t breathe!  My throat just closed up completely!’  She began to panic.  ‘I have only been here for five minutes, and that’s all it’s going to take for me to die right here on the spot?  Oh, I don’t like this future quest business!  I need an Epipen or some Benadryl!  No air is able to get into my lungs!  That’s it!  I’m about to die!’

 

A telepathic voice entered her head.  I am Indigo, and I will be your guide during your future quest experiences.  You can see where you are now.  You are in Linfen*, China* one of the most polluted cities on the planet.  This is a large industrialized area where there are many coal fired factories and power plants.  Breathing the air here is equivalent to smoking three packs of cigarettes a day.

 

The future quest released the ability for Betty to breathe again.  She looked all around, and a thick haze of pollution hung to the ground.  It was so dense that she could barely see one foot in front of her.  She took short steps to walk around a bit.  The advancement of one of her footsteps was met with a soft weighty obstruction on the ground.  She almost tripped because she could not see it for the haze.  She bent down to see what it was, and it was the body of a person who died on the sidewalk.  The future quest mechanism lifted all of the haze out of view to reveal dead bodies scattered all over the sidewalk.

 

Betty was taken back.  “What in the hell is this?!  Why are these people here just dead on the street?!” She shouted.

 

In the distance, Betty saw a large white truck approaching.  A team of people dressed in biohazard suits got out, and began to pick the bodies off of the street and put them into the white truck. 

 

 “I don’t like this situation!  What has happened here!?”  Betty shouted out to Indigo.

 

The heavy concentration of coal burning power stations and factories has causes a dense saturation of pollution.  The incinerated chemicals from the coal-fired plants have merged with toxins released from other manufacturing factories. These vapors have fused together creating a toxic cloud.  The chemical result from the mixing of these vapors has created a gas to which the body is highly allergic.  There was a predisposition for people here to have an allergic reaction to the vapors. Their bodies reached a saturation tolerance for the gaseous chemical mix, and the body said ‘that’s enough.’  The throat closing allergic reaction is a natural response to offensive substances.  It only takes a few minutes without oxygen…you know what happens next.

 

Betty was very upset.  “This is horrible!  Is this all over the world?”

 

 

 

Not yet.  It has happened here first because of the density of coal-fired plants.  But other industrial areas will soon have these deadly inversions.  The atmosphere is reaching a saturation point so that what goes up will no longer neatly stay up. Inversions of pollution are nothing new.  There is a strong history of them.  In Donora, Pennsylvania and London, inversions have killed many people in the same manner.  There is only so much that the atmosphere can take.  Think of the Earth as a big snow globe.  The water in the snow globe is trapped and can’t penetrate outside of the glass.  So what goes up comes back down.  That is now what’s happening.  Earth has reached a saturation point for gases.  What goes up now comes down to the ground level where people have to breathe.  More and more inversions will take place as every day more and more vehicles take to the roads and more factories go on line that burn fossil fuel.  More and more animals are used for food as the world population increases.

 

“What do animals have to do with this?” 

 

Methane.  The animal dung from livestock produces methane which is twenty five times stronger than CO2.  Methane deteriorates the Earth’s atmosphere faster.

 

 “When do these deadly vapors begin to happen?”  Betty hesitantly asked.

 

You can expect this in about a year to begin.  Remember that pollution which happens in one part of the world does not stay in that place exclusively.  Pollution circulates with your weather currents and with the trade winds.  In a couple of decades, this will be a worldwide problem if fossil fuels continue to be burned.

 

We shall move on to our next quest.


 

                                                 Chapter 17

 

 The future quest advanced Betty seven years into the future.  Betty landed in a very hot environment.

 

 ‘It’s blaze’n out here.  God, it must be at least a hundred Degrees.  Where am I? In Death Valley?’  She thought.

 

She looked at her surroundings.  There were tan rocks, boulders, cliffs and valleys all around.  The sun was at high noon and roasting her exposed skin.  The intense heat seemed to bake all of the moisture out of her body.

 

‘Oh, this must be the desert.  Why am I here?  What is the lesson to learn from this landscape?  There’s no doubt that this is harsh and uninhabitable.’

 

Betty walked around and noticed that she was on top of a ledge to a canyon.  She carefully stepped to the edge and looked down.  At the bottom of the canyon, she saw a stream. 

 

‘Oh, I’d love to have a sip of some water already.  OK, I bet that is the trick to this future quest.  I’m super thirsty, and the water is super contaminated.’

 

She looked around for shade.  There were no trees.  Maybe she could find a cliff overhang and sit under it to get away from the searing sun.  She began to walk in the direction of the flow of the stream.  The intense heat made every step forward feel very laborious, but she needed shade.  After only five minutes, she felt overwhelmed by the dry heat.

 

‘It is sucking all of my energy away!’

 

The path curved around a small bend, and to her glory, the distant view revealed the top of a tall electric tower.

 

‘Oh, God!  OK.  Maybe there is a road near that tower.  Maybe it’s providing electricity to a small town.  That would be good, and I could sit under some A/C and get a tall glass of ice water.  OK, I can do this.’

 

Betty continued heading in the direction of the tower.  At the same time, she kept her eye peeled for an accessible path down to the stream.  In doing so, she noticed that the canyon wall was two distinct shades.  The top portion was a natural tan brown, but about ten feet below the canyon’s rim the walls were white.

 

‘Maybe that’s a limestone layer?  What do I care what it’s made of.  I just want to get out of here.’

 

She continued to walk towards the tower.  It seemed to be a carrot dangling in front of her, but still not yet close enough to see if there was any sign of civilization near it.  ‘I can’t take much more of this heat.  I hope I can make it.’

 

As Betty continued to follow the stream, it made another turn, exposing the tops of more electrical towers strung with the initial one that she’d been following.

 

‘OK, I’m hopeful now.  Come on girl you can keep going.  You’re in sight of it.  Let’s think positive.  There is going to be a town or a highway with a nice little restaurant attached to it . . .some place to get me out of this heat.  I’m about to pass out. I can’t take any more.’

 

After a half-mile walk, the narrow canyon opened up into a big quarry with the white limestone coating all of its sides.  Betty’s brain was hot, and she began to get loopy in her thinking, as she was in the first stages of heatstroke.  The towers were now in full view with the footed foundations planted on the far end of the rim of the quarry.  No town, road or restaurant was present.  Betty fell to her knees.

 

‘Oh no!  No!  Come on!  What’s the point of this future quest?  I’m a die here.  I need water!  I need to get the hell out of here!  Can this be over now?  I get it!  The Earth is hotter than it should be.’

 

She lay there feeling all of the details of the future quest as if they were real.  She pushed herself up to a sitting position.  Her mind was getting fuzzier by the minute.  Her vision was a bit out of focus, but she began scanning the perimeter of the quarry to see if there were any paths that could lead to the bottom to get at the shallow water below for a cooling dip and a drink of water.  Her thirst was so intense that she didn’t care if the water was contaminated or not.  She just knew that if she did not get her brain’s temperature down, she would die.

 

Betty panned the circumference of the quarry wall and saw an irregularly shaped section.  Her distance vision wasn't good to begin with, but it was worse with a pending heatstroke.  She tried to squint to bring it into better focus. 

 

‘It looks like it’s curved.’

 

She was not sure and thought that her mind was playing tricks on her.  She got up to her feet once again and attempted to continue to put one foot in front of the other to get a better view of this irregular feature.  There were cars moving along it.

 

“It’s a highway!  Oh my God, it’s a highway.  I can hitch a ride and get out of here.  I know I’m not supposed to hitchhike, but I don’t care right now.”

 

A shot of adrenaline fueled Betty’s steps another fifty feet, where she came upon a sign that read, “Lake Mead.”

 

“Lake Mead!?  There is no lake here this is a limestone quarry.”

 

Betty tried to focus her fried eyes onto the highway.  The realization of what she was looking at engulfed her body in sadness.

 

“This is Hoover Dam!  Where?. . .where?. . .what happened to the water?  I don’t believe this!  Lake Mead has dried up!  Oh no!  That stream must have been the Colorado River!  OH!  MY! God!  What has happened to the millions and millions of people who depend on this river and the dam to help them live?”

 

The future quest whisked her to Las Vegas Boulevard in the center of the Las Vegas strip.  It was nighttime, and the hotels and casinos were dark, silent and empty. 

 

“This is unreal!  This one street could be seen from space.  Now it is totally off of the radar.”

 

The hotels and casinos that lined the street all had rented fences that surrounded each property’s entire perimeter.  Hired security guards occupied every corner to deter any would be criminals from looting the remains of the adult playground.

 

A handful of gawkers walked the street to leer at how Sin City collectively cashed in all of its karma chips.  Only an occasional car could be seen driving by.  A few blocks over, Betty saw more car activity.  She went over to see where they were headed.  To her surprise, there was a small three-story hotel with lights and plenty of patrons milling around.  She walked to the only lit spot in town and went in to get her burning questions answered.

 

The place was a beehive with the usual Vegas activity.  Betty went to a Blackjack table where a dealer was setting up to start her shift.

 

“Excuse me, Ma’am.  I don’t mean to sound dumb, but what happened to Las Vegas?” 

 

“The Colorado River dried up.  All of these big, fancy, recently built hotels had all the glitz and glamour, but they forgot one crucial element to keep their business running . . .the electricity.  None of ‘em had any renewable electrical infrastructure in place.  Hey, we didn’t either, but we are a small joint, so we were able to install solar panels.  Look there, you can see ‘em in our parking lot,” the lady pointed.

 

“How come the other hotels did not follow and do solar panels, too?”

 

“Those hotels are way too big, and they don’t have the space to install all of the panels that would be needed for them to operate.  They are all working on an energy project to open up and bring the lights back.  They pooled their money and brought a big plot of land just outside of town to create solar panel and wind turbine farms.  It should take another nine months or so before they are back and running again.”

 

“That solves their electricity problem, but what about water for bathing and drinking?  Is there some other water source other than the Colorado River?”

 

“Nope!  We have to truck our water in, and it is rationed.  We are using the majority of our liquor budget now for water.  The up-side to this is there are less drunken fights that we have to deal with.”

 

Betty pondered the amount of trucks that would be needed to supply water for all of the thousands of hotel rooms.  ‘It would be an endless convoy of trucks.  Water trucks would be the only vehicles on the streets.  How could it work?  Heaven forbid there be a fire.  A town has to have a natural flow of water.’ 

 

Her thoughts were interrupted as the future quest progressed Betty to the California/ Nevada border.

 

It was still very, very hot and dry.  The atmosphere continued to suck the moisture out of her body.  The desert vegetation was dryer than usual and brown.  Tumbleweeds and the remnants of dead plants on the ground crunched under Betty’s feet.

 

As she adjusted her eyes to the distant horizon, she saw a black haze in the sky.  She then whiffed in the faint smell of smoke.  She knew what was ahead, although it bothered her to even think about it . . .wildfires.

 

“Indigo, I think I know what you are about to show me next, and I really don’t have the heart to see it.  California is burning, isn’t it?”

 

Yes, Betty, it is. The fire has been burning out of control and spreading for the past three months and has consumed one quarter of the southern part of the state.  Unfortunately, whole towns and cities are gone.  The water supply had dried up from the Colorado River.  Portable pumps were used to siphon water from the ocean to put out fires, but regrettably, those hoses could only go so far.  The military and fire brigades tried to stop the flames with foam, air assaults, flame-retardants and trucked in water, but there are hundreds of miles of fires spreading in all directions.   The fire is just too out of hand for any resemblance of containment.  It’s beyond man’s control.

 

Betty began to cry.  “That’s so horrible!  My God, millions of people live there.  What has happened to them?”

 

It is important to know that most people got away safely.  There was a vast migration of people who began to move away before the fires began because the Hoover Dam stopped providing electricity to the area.  Tens of thousands of homes and businesses were left behind.

 

“That’s so unfathomable!  Nothing is what it once was.  This world is so lost and wasted, and in such a short period of time, and it makes me mad.  It’s a shame that life has come to this.  Indigo, I don’t have to go see California burn do I?  I get what can happen.  No one is immune from tragedy.  I understand the lesson.”

 

Betty, just know that it is not just California that burns, but also parts of Europe, Africa, South America, Mexico and Australia.  The chronic drought conditions on Earth have intensified the wildfires.  Unfortunately, it is a compounded situation because the burning plants and manmade structures release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  This of course facilitates the cycle of the Earth getting hotter. These are desert lands.  A desert is a desert regardless of how man has tried to redesign it to be used otherwise.  Man cannot tame the desert. Nature always prevails.

 

“I think about so many major cities that have burned in the past, Chicago, San Francisco, London, and they all bounced back.  Has that time passed for a Phoenix rising?  How can this cycle of destruction be shut down?” 

 

 You have to shut down the greenhouse gas engine, Indigo firmly stated.

 

“Then that means everything that we know and do would come to an abrupt halt.  We could not function,” Betty exclaimed.

 

You would survive just as people did before the Industrial Revolution.  Pyramids, cathedrals, canals and thriving cities were built without the use of fossil fuels.  You have the technology right now to switch everything over and eliminate fossil fuels.  Your free energy source shines above you daily and has since the dawn of man.  The energy in one hour of sunlight can power your planet for an entire year.

 

Betty had heard that before.  The problem was that energy delivery was a hot, moneymaking commodity.  Electric, gas and coal companies were not going to yield their power hold on energy delivery. 

 

“Indigo, I know that we have everything right now to go green.  We have electric cars, solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal and other sources for renewable clean energy.  But people are stuck in their ways.  I don’t think that anyone will give up what we are using now because it will be too disruptive to people’s lives.”

 

Man will have a disruption in one way or another.  You can plan it, have some control and phase in the green energy sources or you can keep going the fossil fuel course and have endless chains of disruptive climate catastrophes that currently none of you can handle.  Your societies are set up to let the moneymaking corporations decide the fate for the entire world and for the generations to come.  That needs to change if man wants to save the planet from environmental destruction.

 

Betty knew that was right.

 

Indigo informed Betty that they would move on to their next future quest.


 

                                               Chapter 18

 

 

The future quest advanced Betty five years farther into the future.

 

She was soaring over the Midwest’s breadbasket.  Below were the patchwork of fields and crops all in varying shades of brown and tan.   ‘It’s warm out.  It should be summer now.  These fields have no vegetation,’ she thought.

 

Her location abruptly changed to an aerial view of the Hawaiian Islands.  There was an abundance of green below, but no punches of color.  The beautiful tropical flowers normally present were absent everywhere she looked.  All of the papaya, pineapple and guava fields were barren. 

 

The vision of her future quest switched to Betty’s local grocery store where she normally shopped.  The parking lot was empty.  Betty came to the store’s entrance that she had frequented hundreds of times throughout the years of being the household shopper.  As she entered the door, a flash from a wall-mounted camera took her picture.  ‘What’s that all about?’  She wondered.

 

The produce department was the first section to the interior of the stores entrance.  The bins that once held a healthy variety of colorful fruits and vegetables were empty.  Not one piece of fruit or head of lettuce was available.  ‘What in the hell happened to all of the produce?’ 

 

Opposite the produce department was the deli.  The twenty-foot long display case that normally contained a plethora of ready to serve offerings only had a sparse selection of slicing cheeses and deli meats.  Betty walked over to the counter.  There was a bell to ring for service.  She wanted to speak to someone to ask what was going on.  She pressed the battery-operated doorbell and heard it buzz a few yards away towards where the customer service desk was located.

 

The store’s manager dressed in black slacks, white shirt and plain tie came from behind the desk and began to walk towards the deli section.

 

“Hi.  May I help you, ma’am?”  He said.

 

“What’s going on here?  Where is everybody?  Why is there no food here in the grocery store?”  Betty asked.

 

 “The Earth ran out of bees,” he responded.

 

“Oh my god!  No!  No!  Please tell me that did not happen!” 

 

He took the time to explain.  “They died out about a year ago at least the ones in the wild.  There are a few hives that are sequestered in laboratories and in special habitats while scientists try to help save and multiply what’s left.  But the average honeybee for all intense and purposes has gone extinct.”

 

Betty’s heart sank, and she felt nauseous.  “So, it really happened, huh?  We really did it.  Even I didn’t really believe that they would disappear.”

 

“Well, they are gone.  Normally we would get food shipments in several times a day.  Now it’s down to once or twice a week.  People usually camp out and line up 2-3 days ahead of when the trucks are due, to have a chance to buy some food.  It’s a crapshoot for what may be on the trucks.  We never know.  It depends on what farmers can produce and the demands from other stores.  The National Guards are always present when the lines form and until the shelves are picked nearly clean.  It can get a bit chaotic around here on delivery day.  I’m Jay the store manager.  I’m kind of a one-man show for customer service, deli service, check out, bagging you name it.  Was there something you’d like for me to get for you from the deli?”

 

Betty looked near the door and saw two security guards. “So I’ll guess people are fighting to get a place in line and even to get into the store, huh?”

 

“Yes, food is the most valued possession that people now strive to get.  We try to have some security here at the store, but people are on their own when they leave the parking lot.  Half of the people are ambushed before they can make it home with their groceries.  Home invasions for food are epidemic.”

 

Betty glanced at the price of the American cheese and was shocked.  “$20.00 dollars for a pound of American cheese!?  $35.00 dollars for a pound of picnic ham!?” 

 

“Supply and demand.  Dairy farmers and ranchers can’t feed their animals because of food scarcity, and there has been a wheat virus that has plagued farmers all around the world for several years now.  Hay is at a premium.  So, the meat and dairy that is produced costs an arm and a leg,” Jay explained.

 

“So, what are people eating?  Algae?”

 

“There are some vegetables that don’t require bee pollination.  There are usually a few vegetable selections on the supply trucks, but the fresh produce is gone in ten minutes after the lines are let in.”

 

 “I’ll guess the vegetables are ridiculously expensive too.”

 

“Yes ma’am.  Security services, operation costs and the struggle to keep the store open all contribute to the expense of the groceries.  We can’t even hire a full time staff with just a two-day a week food delivery schedule.  That is why I’m a do-it-all guy.”

 

“I can only imagine that many stores have gone out of business if the supply is way off,” Betty queried.

 

“It’s not just grocery stores, but the problem has trickled down to restaurants, hotels, school lunch programs, pet food stores you name it.  The majority of fast food chains have closed down 90% of their operations.  No food.  No business.”  He shrugged his shoulders and flipped his hands up in the air in despair.  He continued.  “The bee was almost a ‘no see-em.’   We took them for granted and most people were unaware of the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  It all went down very quickly.” 

 

“I knew that we were loosing 30-80% of beehives each year.  How did the bottom fall out?”

 

“The bee’s extinction was in direct correlation to our increased pollution.  Scientists warned and some tried to breed hybrid bees hardy enough to deal with the fumes, but in the end our polluted world was too much for the bee to survive.  The CCD got the best of the bees, and now our food supply is dwindling all over the world.  It’s not just here in the United States.”

 

Betty felt helpless.  “I’m supposed to be able to feed my children.  Are there canned goods?  Maybe I could stock up on those.”

 

“That’s what everyone wants to do.  A few families could wipe out entire shelves by stockpiling and there would not be anything left for other people to have.  Most municipalities have an ordinance to prevent hoarding.  Only three cans per item, per person in your household are allowed for each visit.”

 

“Rations.”

 

“Yes, rations.”

 

“How do they know how many people are in your home?  How can they monitor that?”

 

“The entire family has to go to a food control facility.  Birth certificates and I.D.  are required during that visit.  The family is photographed together and is given a Ration Count Card that indicates the number of people in the household.  The card has to be presented and scanned each time at checkout.  If your rations are above your allotted amount, then the excess is denied.”

 

“If I can afford it, I should be able to buy as much food as I want.”

 

“Well that’s how things used to be before the bees died.  To tell you the truth, most people can’t even afford a fraction of the rations that they are allowed to buy.  Food prices have quadrupled.  A can of beans that you brought a couple of years ago for $1.95 will now cost you about $8.00.”

 

Betty’s mood was as low as it could go. “Damn it!  This is unreal!  People could starve to death.”

 

 “In many poorer countries, starvation has already started a million times over because they relied on the “developed world” to provide them with food.  We no longer have the surplus to give and can barely feed ourselves,” the manager solemnly stated.

 

 “So, the extinction of man has begun.”  Betty realized.

 

Betty searched for some hopeful scenario to grasp onto.

 

“Don’t people have back yard gardens to grow their own food?  Most leafy and root vegetables don’t need bee pollination to grow.  So, we’ll all grow our own food.  We’ll be healthier.  So, maybe all is not lost.”

 

“In a perfect world, you would be right.  Problem is, thieves are notorious for coming in the middle of the night and stealing a families harvest right from the ground.  A homeowner would have to sleep outside and stand guard every night to protect the crops.  And on a grander scale, farmers have to hire roving security detail to ensure crops and animals aren’t stolen.  In some areas, military convoys escort food supply trucks to stores so that the trucks don’t get ambushed.  This too adds to the high cost of food.”

 

“My God, things have not been the same.  Everything is off kilter and on the verge of being out of control.”

 

“Yeah, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.  Listen, I need to go back to the office.  Is there anything else that I can help you with?”

 

“No, I guess I just have to digest what has happened.  Do you mind if I look around the store?”

 

“Go ahead.  No problem.”

 

Betty knew every nook and cranny of the store.  She walked up and down the isles and noticed that the majority of the shelves were empty except for the sundry sections, which were full of medications, paper towels, laundry detergent and other non-edible items.  In the meat case, the undesirable parts remained.  The pig’s feet, cow stomachs; neck bones and the like were outrageously priced.  She passed a locked cabinet that contained cans of baby formula and could not believe how much a can of powdered formula cost.  The milk and dairy coolers were turned off as well as the majority of the frozen food freezers as they were empty.  There were a few pints of ice cream in a locked freezer case near the front of the store.  A big bright encouraging sign beckoned buyers to celebrate their birthday or special occasion with ice cream.  Betty looked at the price tag and a pint went for $25.00.  She felt really, really sad.

 

‘No wonder it’s for special occasions,’ she thought.  ‘So, many kids are going to be cheated out of birthday parties or even just the simple pleasure of having an ice cream cone on a hot summer day.  Worse than that, they won’t be able to eat apples, grapes, watermelon or cherries anymore.  Nothing that requires a bee’s delicate touch.  The absence of one little species has turned our world upside down.  The world is not the same.  Such a real crying shame.’

 

After perusing around the nearly empty store, Betty ended up near the cash register.  The store manager was ringing up a customer who had spent nearly $50.00 dollars for about seven items of picked over food.  The manager saw the despair in Betty’s face.  When he completed the transaction with the shopper, he came over to see if she had any questions.

 

“So, you see now what it’s all come down to, huh?”

 

Betty numbly shook her head.  “How do we get it back?  The bottom has just fallen completely out of everything that we’ve known.  All the constants that allowed for our daily routines . . .don’t exist any more.  It’s just mind-boggling.”

 

Jay tried to offer more information.  “Most people did not know about the CCD, and just went on with life as usual while this little known, yet disastrous condition existed.  And it’s all due to the pollution that we have spewed out.  We created this mess.

 

“Farmers are trying to grow more crops that don’t require bee pollination, but with the dramatic climate changes over the past few years, many farmers have suffered from drought conditions too.  It’s like we’re socked twice.  The world population has continued to grow and resources now are really strained.  So, it has come full circle to where we’ve done ourselves in.”

 

“We have taken so much for granted.”  Betty shrugged her shoulders and shook her head.  She had enough of this future quest.  She called to Indigo.  “I’m done with this.  I’m ready to leave this nightmare.”

 

Indigo responded.  The everyday privilege of going to the grocery store to buy an abundant variety of food will be an event of the past.  The honeybee is the hardest working being on your planet.  The bee has been the essential backbone for the nourishment for the evolution of man.  Man is literally on the verge of snuffing out the bee.  If man continues to neglect the balance to the Earth's delicate ecosystems, then the bee’s stinger will be the nail in man’s coffin.  Man’s self-appointed importance has placed himself lord of the food chain.  In reality, the bee is at the top of the food chain; for bees can definitely live without man, but man cannot live without bees!

 

On to our next future quest vision.