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THE DRONES

    Once drones lawyered up by the thousands.
    It was just a precaution, they responded, when questions about the large number of them feeling the need to seek legal representation began to arise. Unaccustomed to queries regarding what role drones actually played in the day-to-day workings of a bee colony or whether the burgeoning increase in their numbers and correspondingly mounting demands for special consideration might ultimately prove a drain upon the resources of the hive, possibly triggering a catastrophic collapse, the drones preferred to leave to counsel any defense of their place of privilege and the life of luxury they’d come to expect. Plus any decisions on filing multiple suits for defamation of character if all else failed.
    “Our clients take deep offense at the suggestion their behavior poses any danger whatsoever to the hive!” the lawyers declared in unison. “On the contrary, without the benevolence of drones, none of the lesser bees would prosper.”
    To the overwhelming majority of these “lesser bees,” toiling to meet the hive’s every physical need and to safeguard its very survival, such a claim might have been laughable, were they not too busy at their tasks to laugh. And few found the strength at the end of a long day of struggle maintaining the entire system that allowed the drones to live the life they did to find anything at all about the situation amusing. The strain of holding an entire life system together as ever more insistent demands for sacrifice came down to them from the likes of the drones rendered sleep a brief yet welcome respite.
    In their dreams, not a few worker bees built a different hive. One where their communal efforts were more appreciated in their own right and not treated as a sign of personal limitation or low ambition. A world of cooperation where sacrifice by equal for equal far outshone competition like that between queen bee types engaged in lethal attacks upon other queen bee types in their struggle to be first. A world free as well of pampered drones with their incessant calls for more and more productivity from worker bees, or else.
    “Or else what?” a slumbering worker bee might now and then wonder.
    “Or else the hive is doomed! Doomed!” lawyers to the drones would immediately chant in chorus as if the answer were self-evident.  
    “Really?” the worker bee might roll over with a shrug.
    “Without fail! Absent the drones, there’d be no production of golden honey.”
    “Oh, that old story,” the worker bee might then mutter to itself while falling back into a snooze for a precious minute or two more. “As if they don’t owe everything to us. As if they create much themselves beyond more self-promotion, more prima donna queens, and more of us to deal with the consequences.”
    And then it was time for the worker bees to rise and get back to the real business of the hive.