If anyone knew chapstick it was my friend Mike Hamil. That’s because Mike made artisanal chapstick on his secluded bee ranch up in the Sierra Mountains. He claimed that bees at higher elevations produced a subtler, breezier wax. For my birthday, he once gave me a large wax sculpture of a woman’s face which I could kiss, thereby dechaping my lips. But Mike was troubled by loneliness.

“The honey from my bees is simply not enough,” he would write to me in letters, and I felt for him but also hoped that he was not doing anything weird to the honey as he had given me a large jar of it for Christmas. So he set himself to finding a Mrs. Hamil. At first his strategy involved approaching lone female hikers up in the Sierra’s where he would nervously blurt out, “A NICE DAY FOR HIKING. A BETTER DAY FOR BEES.” And then would perform a trick where bees would come flying out of his sleeves, Mike having read that girls are impressed by magic. Needless to say this scared off more than a couple of women and accidentally sent one into anaphylactic shock whom Mike then chivalrously carried to a nearby ranger’s station.

After the ensuing legal troubles in which Mike was labeled “The Bee Mountain Maniac” he had even more trouble finding a girl. He tried everything, even dating online but found that very few women were interested in his cute e-mail signatures such as “bee mine” or “let’s get buzzed” or “you’ve stung me and now my heart is swollen with bee venom.” Eventually, he went crazy and filled the corpse of a grizzly bear with honey.

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