Posts Tagged ‘night of the living dead’

STORY – “I KILL SLUGS” – short-short flash-fiction

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I kill slugs. At night, in the beginning, I placed little bowls of beer embedded in the earth to tempt them to come, like wary animals arriving to sip in the savannah during the depths of darkness. But like unreconstructed AA members, they could not resist as they came to sip, and then sip some more, then more still, until they waded right in, and literally drown in their beer. Next morning, the little pools of beer held a number of floating and semi-sunk oblong corpses.

Snails, too, a couple of them were in there. Not a one of them could hold their liquor.

Still every morning I see my salad gets munched, holes appearing in the leaves. So another plan is formed, more sinister, more immediate. I waited until midnight approached to go hunting. I got my flashlight out but found it held dead batteries, damn, went around the house unloading batteries from remotes and cameras and suchlike discovering I had a house full of half-dead or utterly dead batteries. The flashlight kept its single eye closed. So I got a candle, lit it, not enough power, then a second candle, lit them both, and went into the night.

When I held the candles up to view the immediate territory, weird bendy shadows were cast over the land. But they were there. A transient city of snails and slugs, poking along slimeily, seeking their midnight snacks. I had filled a can deep with water and put it down near my feet. With carefully gloved hand I picked them from the ground, plucked them from the plants, one by one, and plopped them into my bucket to drown, and kept culling, and they kept acoming.

After a bit of capturing and tossing them into my mini-well, I had a look to see how many I had taken care of. Six or eight or an army of them were crawling up back to the rim, wanting life, or more free food. I pulled back three inches, as though under a surprise mini-attack. Naively, had I thought they’d just drown if there was enough water. I lowered a single finger into this world and pushed each one back down and each one was no match for my finger and fell with a tiny splash and a bob but still, still they still came up, crawling back with a zombie’s determination. This midnight raid was turning into something like night the living fucking dead.

So I put a second thought into the matter and and dumped in a dash of chlorine, swished it around in the water, then again poked those slime-balls back in. Again they went plop into the water but this time they curled and met their maker. Each released a little bit of distressed foam.

Pick ‘n’ plop was the main movement and sound thereafter out there in the garden when reasonable men were asleep. I tried pouring some salt on a couple of them and saw their innards sort of catch fire as some different but more raging sort of foam came bubbling up from under their bodies, their inner fluids flushing out.

I killed many during the next three midnights, decimating the local population. Then the following four nights there were no attacks on my small vegetable patch. The lettuce leafs thrived. No nibbles. One never foolishly declares victory in such matters, but the lettuce began to believe in themselves again. Courgette plants spread their leafy wings. Rhubarb went rhubbarbing.

But for those three nights running, with candles and evil intent, I sought and killed slugs and snails which dared assail with mucus mouths my struggling salads. Those nights were like my own little intense slasher-horror film out there in the dead of night. The foam and the bubbling. The single sound of a snail plopping into chlorinated water, that midnight plop a full one-note sound, masking the terminal.