A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Or, to be more precise, Halifax, my parents bought me a birthday present. It wasn’t books, or games or anything like that. It was a strimmer. Honestly, they bought me a strimmer for my birthday. I know, right. I always wanted a ride-on mower and the best I could get was a strimmer.
But anyway. The reason I got the strimmer was I was going through a phase – like all kids do – but my phase was particularly weird. I was just quite fond of mowing the lawn. I guess, as a kid, it’s quite a grown-up thing to do. There’s spinning blades, there’s electricity, there’s the potential to combine the two into a death sandwich. So I used to do it a lot. I’d dutifully use the circuit breaker thingummy McGuffin, test it and reset it and enjoy the fact that if I did run over the wire that would cut out and I probably wouldn’t die.
I never ran over the wire. Because, it turns out, my life wasn’t an 80s sitcom.
So when it came to my birthday, it was strimmer time.
Other birthday presents – in other years – included a hand-held blender, and a griddle pan. Practical birthdays, not fun. But hey, it’s all good.
Anyway, the strimmer. One of my most vivid memories of using the strimmer is the time I accidentally caught a huge slug with it. It’s quite vivid because as the plastic cord sliced through the slug, it span it all over the place including, but not limited to, my mouth. So you can see why it has stuck with me.
I felt awful. Partly because I’d killed the slug in such a horrendous way, and partly because I had then nearly swallowed a decent chunk of it. I had nightmares – actual nightmares – about a huge slug crawling through my open bedroom window in the night and attacking me. So I was clearly traumatised.
By the death of a slug.
I was a sensitive soul.
It’s all come flooding back tonight. All the feelings. All the horror and the guilt and the taste of slimey plant gunk. I was shutting the kitchen window this evening and it turns out that a snail had crawled partly through the opening. It was in the frame. In the bit where the window shuts into.
It made the most horrific noise when I shut the window. Like someone walking up a gravel path wearing shoes made out of that slime that all the kids are into (why can’t they be into strimmers and griddle pans and stuff? Kids these days…).
None of it went in my mouth, this time. Which is a bonus.
It is, I fear, smeared all over the window seals, however. And no doubt the window will crunch for some days to come, as we grind the shell into nothingness.
You know what, I think the kitchen window can stay shut for a little bit…
It’s weird, though. If I accidentally stand on a snail I don’t feel this level of revulsion. I guess it’s because that’s normal, if that’s even the right word to describe it. Maybe expected would be better. Slug/Snail puree via strimmer, or window, isn’t as expected, I guess. Plus, you know, I nearly ate a bit of it the first time.
Bring on the nightmares.