When I am not hunting for head lice or hiding from massive spiders, I am cursing the slugs. They slither in through gaps somewhere in the skirting board or the ventilation brick thing at the front of the house and leave their sparkly trails all over everything in the middle of the night. I see them when I’m up late writing. Once I got in from a night out and stood on one in the living room and had to clear up its guts afterwards. They get around everywhere and I hate them, all yellow and speckly and fat. If reincarnation was real, the world’s worst would come back as slugs. At least snails have little houses on their backs and don’t invade mine. Slugs have their horrible corkscrew slug sex somewhere and repoduce and never really go away. There are more of them when it’s been raining, which is frequent – this being Manchester and all.
I don’t like doing the salt thing. It seems horribly cruel and leaves behind a right mess afterwards. I don’t want to do the beer thing because it would seem a complete waste. I am not using pellets because they kill hedgehogs. I love them, they’re getting rare and once we found one in the alley when I was putting out the bin.
We’re not the only ones on the street with slugs. Our neighbour is keener on us than he used to be (now that we have been living here four years and he’s realised we’re alright.) Before he started being civil towards us, he shook a giant white line of salt (I think it was salt, anyway) in front of three houses on the terrace, neatly stopping when he got to our doorstep.
Anyway, Tom’s got a new habit of getting up at six in the morning, taking himself downstairs and drawing loads of pictures. He keeps shouting up to me when I am asleep that he has seen a slug slithering in the house and I tell him, half asleep, to leave it alone.
This morning, he said
“Mum I have made you an amazing invention.”
“Ugh,” I said.
“You’re gonna love this Mum,” He came into my room and shook me.
It was this:
“What is it?”
“It’s a slug catcher.”
“What you do is you use it to scoop up the slug and take him away.”
“It seems like it might be a bit messy.”
“No it isn’t, I made one like it for myself and tried it and it worked.”
“What did you do with the slug?”
“Well.. don’t shout at me..”
“What?!” I thought he was going to tell me he had put it in the fridge or his bed, or fed it to the gerbil.
“I flushed him down the loo Mum. But don’t worry, he’ll have a happy life at the sewage works.”
I don’t reckon that slug is smiling like the one on the slug catcher now. I was though, even though it was six in the morning.