art by Tim Stewart
by Alter S. Reiss
So, this is your place," said Susan, looking around.
I smiled, looked at her, and hoped that I hadn't left anything inappropriate anywhere visible. "Pretty much," I said. "It's kinda small, but with the rent---"
"No, it's great," she said, taking off her coat. The dress underneath it made my heart stop, same as it did when I had picked her up. Worse. "What's this?" she asked, looking at my hive.
"Oh, this is terrific," I said. "I got it from work. It's a memory hive."
"Here," I said, "I'll show you." I had brought two-dozen bugs with me that morning; I had used four for work, and six for the date. I took out one of the ones I had used for the date, a green beetle-looking thing, and put it on the top blank hive disc. The hive mites swarmed it, and it was gone within about two seconds.
Susan wrinkled her nose. "Gross," she said.
"A little," I agreed. "But here," I flipped through the side, called up the sub-hive of our first date. This would be a little more gross, if she thought it through. But it didn't look as gross. It looked like a glass disc, with a transparent lid, and a joint where the sugar-water tube went. I dabbed up a mite from the cover slide, swallowed it, and put the sub-hive back into the matrix.
"Okay," I said. "You know how you were wearing that bead necklace thing on our first date?"
"Um," said Susan. "I guess?"
"Right. It has," I closed my eyes, enjoyed the memory, as it rolled around my head. "Four small red crystals, two purple swirly things, and eighteen smooth green beads."
"You remembered that?" she asked.
"Not exactly," I said. "The hive did. Now I do again. It's a memory--"
"You recorded our date?" she asked. Her feet moved closer together; perhaps explaining the hive had been a tactical error.