The Wasp and the Canary

by Artie Knapp


Hello, Dexter here. I’m just your average ordinary neighborhood wasp. Before you go swatting me though, I think you should know that like everyone else, I too have a story to tell. At least afford me the opportunity to get something off my wings before you swat me with your flyswatter. Please?

It’s late October in Ohio, and the first frost was a couple of weeks ago. The fact that I am still alive is lucky in itself. If it hadn’t been for Mom building her nest in the Miller’s garage, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now.

The nectar is long gone on every flower in the region, and the warm weather neighborhood social gatherings have long subsided. Those are usually great because of the pop cans. A drop of sugar from a can of soda is to us wasps, what Hershey’s Kisses are to you humans.

Things were going well for a while, but then my usual stomping ground for feasting was taken away from me. Charlie Richards finally started putting the lid on his trash can. Times were tough.

One day a lucky situation came my way though, when Mrs. Jordan on Bexley Street left a freshly baked apple pie sitting on her kitchen table with the window open. I was beside myself with excitement.

Just as I was ready to take my first bite of pie, a voice yelled out, “What do you think you’re doing?”

The voice scared me so bad I thought I was going to lose my stinger. I looked over my wing but didn’t see anybody.

“I said, what do you think you’re doing,” the voice said again.

This time I looked straight up and there before me was the strangest looking canary you ever laid your eyes on. His entire body was brown and yellow except for his head which was dark green. Humans get teased if they accidentally put on two different colored socks in the morning; given that, maybe that’s why he’s in a cage in the first place I thought.

I suddenly felt a sense of compassion for this multi-colored bird. I collected myself and said to the canary, “I was just going to have a little taste of this pie.”

“It’s not yours to taste,” said the canary.

“I’m sorry but I couldn’t help myself,” I said.

“Don’t you have any food?”

“No sir,” I replied. “The flowers are all dried up and it’s slim pickings out there.”

“There is no shortage of food here for me,” said the canary. “But every day it’s the same old thing: nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, herbs... After a while the nuts and fruits can make you feel a little nutty and fruity.

“To make matters worse, every Tuesday my owners have relatives over for pizza. One of them is a little girl, and when I ask for pizza, she always says back to me, ‘Polly want a cracker?’ Every time I get asked that, I cringe. When they bring you home from the store you expect it for the first couple of months. But day after day after day makes me want to wear earplugs.”

“Well,” I said, “it sounds like we both have our problems.”

“Wait a second,” said the canary. “I have an idea.”

“What is it?”

“Why don’t we each have some of the pie?”

“Fair enough. But you’re in a cage. What’s stopping me from just eating this all by myself?”

“Hmp. I might be in this cage, but I know a lot of other birds on the outside that would just fancy a nice little wasp like yourself.”

I swallowed so hard it shook the canary’s cage. “I see your point. Do you have napkins?”

“No, but I have fresh water in my cage you can help yourself to.”

We ate, and we ate, and then we ate some more. The canary and I nearly stuffed ourselves silly with apple pie. A life-long friendship was formed that day, and I’ll always be thankful to my friend. I plan on stopping by around Thanksgiving to say hi. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorites.


Copyright © 2006 by Artie Knapp

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