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

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.

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7 Responses to “STORY – “I KILL SLUGS” – short-short flash-fiction”

  1. Louisa says:

    I say, Vincent, you deserve to be reincarnated as a slug! Never heard of “humane” solutions to simply ward off snails and other beasties from your vegs? Such as covering the soil where they grow with sand or coffee-dregs, or the stuff you pût in the cat’s litter-tray. It is very simple and it works. Incidentally, if you’ve got roses in your garden and they’re covered with aphids, don’t spray them with poison, just stick garlic cloves in the soil around the plants, no more pests on the rose bushes! Get back to nature man, and get some hedgehogs in your garden, they thrive on slugs.

  2. I have over a dozen gardening books, and have tried everything in those books, including some which you mention. Perhaps I have the toughest slugs in town. I’ll try the cat litter thing, though. Thanks.

  3. John Pender says:

    I’ve never had any luck getting any “natural” remedies to work either.

  4. FARfetched says:

    Is this a true story? I can see it. I’ve heard about the coffee grounds trick before — I don’t have a problem with slug-eradication but if it does the job while you’re in bed, then that’s the way to go.

    Good story, I was rooting for you/the MC along the way.

  5. I have to admit to the guilty pleasure I felt while reading this. I remember killing slugs as a kid – before I became politically correct and embraced the “snails are people too” attitude. (not really, I still like to eat snails once in a while – with butter)
    Very entertaining flash 🙂

  6. Craig Smith says:

    True or not I found it quite funny!

    “the lettuce began to believe in themselves again.”

    By far my favourite line. Hilarious :).

  7. Nicole Baillieul says:

    As I’ve shared some of these experiences, dead plants, preferably the one I like the best , I have no remorse whatsoever in spreading blue pellets the slugs love and then, they go in the ground to die and fertilize the soil! Quite ecological!
    You’ve turned the experience into a very good story!

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