The Volkswagen-sized Hornets’ Nest and other Misunderstandings, by Steven Scott Wallace

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and Steven Scott Wallace for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

The curious and adventure-filled time that childhood provides is like no other, something Steven Scott Wallace proves in this short story. Apparently a tale pulled from the recesses of his mind and teenage life, Wallace tells of a summer where a freak accident left him in search of a hobby. This hobby may have been dangerous, but also proved fruitful and left him with drams of stardom. A piece many will be able to finish in one sitting, Wallace shows how youth and a little ingenuity bring forth the best stories to tell for generations.

While most of America was fixated on something else in the summer of 1974, southern Oregon’s Josephine County had an issue they could not ignore. Hornets were all over the place and nothing was going to stop them. Steve ‘Wally’ Wallace knew this all too well, as he tried to come up with a solution.

It was only after a freak accident while helping his uncle that Wally found himself with lots of time on his hands (pardon the pun) and a mind running on thirteen-year-old overload. He gave the hornet issue some thought and used the library to devise a plan that could not fail. All summer, Wally found and handled hornets’ nest around town and had made quite the name for himself.

Once school started, he was full of stories, only the discover a new and massive nest that needed his attention. While he had handled angry hornets before, this would be the ultimate battle. Wally and his friend devised a plan to kill the hornets and preserve the nest for their science teacher. While it seemed to work, on the day the nest was to be brought to school, Wally learned that things went horribly wrong and he might find himself in a load of trouble. Could his stardom be drowned out by wanting to brag one time too many?

This quaint story appears to reflect on some of the actual experiences by Steven Scott Wallace during his youth, though that is entirely unclear. Whatever its providence, it reads easily and proves to be a nice means of entertaining the reader who wishes to put a pause on all things chaotic in their life. The narrative keeps the reader curious and wondering as the plot appears to thicken, or at least as much as it can for one eager teenage boy. With a nice twist at the end, Wallace allows the reader a ‘wink and a nudge’ moment while they wonder if this is one of many stories that might be published before long.

Kudos, Mr. Wallace, for a nice little reprieve from what I usually read. I would love to get my hands on more of these stories, should they exist.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: