Monday, August 23, 2004

Sluggy Mecca

Slugs are nicer than human beings.

No slug has ever played a practical joke on another slug, then emitted a braying laugh, spraying wet specks of salt and vinegar crisps onto a formica table. Drunken slug couples have never fought over a suitcase outside my window at 3.40 am, or if they have, they kept the noise down. No slug, in the history of ever, has actively chosen to wear a baseball cup.

So, it is empirically provable that slugs are nicer than human beings. Unfortunately, slugs do regularly insinuate themselves into my bathroom, and that is why it is their fate to be picked up in bits of toilet paper and flushed into oblivion.

I am starting to believe that my bathroom is some kind of religious centre for slugs, a holy site that at some point in its life, each religiously-observant slug must visit. (to be fair, there is quite a nice wood-framed mirror with a sort of wave motif, so perhaps that's it). I like to imagine slugs of varying professions banding together for safety, telling each other slow, moist stories as they travel down the hedgerows and across the back gardens to my flat. Where the chosen few (i.e. those slugs unfortunate enough to be at prayer when I'm just about to have my bath), are plucked by a mighty hand and dispatched to a watery doom.

If you're religious, there must be worse times to be killed by a mysterious omnipotent force than when you're praying. At least you're in the right mindset. If it turns out you're right about your chosen deity, I bet you go to the top of the queue.

I used to carefully pick up the slugs in a piece of toilet paper and shake them out of the window, where I always imagined a fat hedgehog sitting with its mouth open. But the only hedgehog in my garden sat outside for the shed for a week until I realized it was dead and let weeds grow over its body until I didn't have to look any more.

There was even a snail in my bathroom the other day. I can understand slugs creeping in through the gaps in the ventilation system, but how did a snail manage it? He/She (snails are all hermaphrodite) must have lowered him/herself down from the ceiling, like Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible, only with bits of spiderweb.

Flushing the snail down the toilet seemed overly dramatic somehow (and could have have caused a blockage), so I reverted to my older, kinder disposal method and dropped him out of the window instead. Sadly, I heard the small, sad 'crunch' that can only mean fatal shell damage. I considered getting dressed and going outside to put him/her out of his/her hermaphroditic misery, but I had run the bath too hot. A terrible sleepiness crept over and I slid slowly into the steaming water, feeling it rise up above chest, and then my chin, and from then on, the only life I was trying to preserve was my own.