Gary arched his back in triumph. He'd completed the notes for the Minister's 10am meeting. A slow breath in and he realises how tired he is. He feels the fog of exhaustion sweep across his mind. He's exhausted all the adrenaline that had fueled his all-nighter. That, and copious amounts of coffee, donuts and chocolate.
He opened the blinds, relieved to see the dawn light creep over rose bushes. The pink hues highlighting the clouds, making them look like giant floating fairy floss.
He calculated that he'd have time to go for a five km run before needing to brief the Minister. Maybe, just maybe, he'd be able to go home and sleep while the Minister bumbled her way through the delegation meetings.
The first few kilometres were comical. All he could think about were the thudding sounds his feet were making as he ran along the path around the lake. It wasn't until the final kay that the runner's buzz clicked in. Who needed sleep when you could run yourself to wakefulness?
Gary returned to his office, opened the window to sweep away the smells of donuts and lack of oxygen. He was feeling as fresh after his showers at the gym.
He sipped his latte while proofing his notes. They needed to be pithy. And no big unnecessary words. An acceptable number of corrections. He again arched his back, put on his jacket when he heard his phone buzzing.
Gary tapped the screen only to find no call or message. He turned off silent mode, only to find it wasn't on. He cocked his head as he tried to find the source of the mildly annoying sound.
Julia poked her head in. "Morning. I think your phone is vibrating."
He held up his phone. "So, you hear it too?"
"It's louder in here. I already checked the Minister's office and we are the only two here."
Gary turned to the open window. The sound was definitely coming from outside. In the growing light of morning, he saw the bees flittering from one rose to another.
"Are they bees?" Julia asked.
Before he could answer, one solitary bee flew into the gap. Gary was quick to close it before there was a bee party.
He leaned forward and peered out the window. On the grass were white boxes that he recognised as hives.
From his vantage point, he could see over a dozen hives. He felt Julia beside him as she craned her neck to see what was outside. "Are they bee hives?"
"I think so," Gary said.
"Why are there bee hives here?"
Gary turned to his desk and rifled through his the notes he'd taken. One delegate was an apiarist. He'd overlooked the sole non-grower. The other reps all harvested fruit, almond, stone fruit, grapes.
He skimmed the apiarist's submission. Complaints against the use of pesticides, killing entire hives, no compensation.
While the other delegates all wanted rule changes to water allocations, the apiarist knew his submission would get drowned out.
"They are here to send a message to the Minister."