Saturday, November 19, 2011

Did I Mention the Mollusks?

Every morning when Boo claws my eyes open and leads me, bleeding and blind, to his empty bowl, I take a moment before pouring his Friskies to see if he has any houseguests.

The reason I check is I don’t want to step on them, and the reason I don’t want to step on them is not that they're dead (like the crusty mouse Boo left in our bedroom which I finally threw out the window) but that they’re alive.  Maybe not vivaciously so, but technically so: alive and vile and squishy to boot.

Yes, Dear Reader, these houseguests are slugs. Tiny slugs (praise the powers that be) but slugs nonetheless. And while they never show up in my part of the house, this is small comfort when I see them sitting--unless they are standing—let's say occupying--Boo’s private space.

As small as they are, I loathe them and fear them and have done so acutely for all of my life. Indeed, next to The Priest and The Barbie Doll, you could say The Slug was the baniest bane of my childhood. Back when there used to be regular rain (and not one long heat wave interspersed now and then with a festive tornado), hordes of huge slugs seemed to rule the whole world, or at least every sidewalk I had to travel to get from my house to my school.

To keep from making even the slightest physical contact with one, I had to suffer looking at them, which was almost worse but not quite. My one solace came when I realized that slugs didn’t run. Later I drew even more solace from murdering them with Morton’s Iodized Salt.

Since I’m way too evolved to salt a slug now, I use a paper towel (and I fully admit I could not live without them) to escort them outside and hurl them back into what they call Nature. And then I pray they’ll never return.

But oy! Answered prayers! Why don’t I have those? The horrid creatures always return and I have no idea how or where they get in. Through the floor? Through the wall? Through the mollusky mail? (And why do they come? They don’t touch Boo’s Friskies. With what would they touch them? Have they mouths? Have they heads? Aren’t they really just tentacled feet?)  Moreover, when they’re not there displaying their actual selves (which, praise god, is most of the time), they leave their calling cards in long silver trails to make sure Boo knows that they have dropped by.

But wait a minute—aren’t silver trails exclusive to snails? Do they visit too? How do they get inside with those houses?  And if snails do come, what can be next except Puppy Dog Tails? And then, what? Little Boys? Why not grown boys?  

By which, Dear Reader, you know I mean cowboys. Elderly cowboys in freshly- pressed Wranglers. One who might know how to get rid of slugs. Now that’s a guest I’d be happy to see. And thankful as well, as in Happy Thanksgiving.  And may you all have one, with nary a mollusk, just fabulous turkey with succulent stuffing, and friends (if you have them, more wine if you don't) and always forever the best pumpkin pie!


  1. This is a lovely post, _ _ _ _ _ and all.

    (I can't even type that particular "s" word.)

  2. Eeeeeew! Reminds me of a home I showed once - opened the door and across the living room were all these shiny, silver trails across the living room carpet. Followed the trails to the source - an aquarium WITHOUT a single snail in it!!!

  3. Oh, squish! Fear and loathing is the ONLY correct response. And why is it that freshly-pressed Wranglers are positively orgasmic?

  4. And a happy T-Day to you, dear Ms. Gonick!! (I'm always thankful to see a new post from you ...)

  5. Just thinking of you this holiday, Jean. You are on my start page and looking forward to a new entry. Happiness and health to you now and throughout the New Year!