Monday, April 6, 2009

The Slug Story

"Our story," began the slug through his squimonk designed box, "is a sad, sordid odyssey full of regret, betrayal, and fart jokes."

"Hey," I said from my slimy cocoon, "those are three of my favorite things in stories. Plus, since you got me stuck here, I ain't got nothin but time to listen to how y'all ended up in the back of a 99 cent store sellin meth. So, basically, you got yerself a captive audience here."

"Are you sure you really want to use that joke, Pat?" asked Alistair. "It seems to me that one's a bit overdone."

"You're right, you're right," I conceded, "How about, 'you've got my rapt attention'? Does that one work for you?"

"Nah," he scoffed, "you can do better than that."

"Fine!" I rolled my eyes. "How's about...lessee here..'Lay a trail and I will follow'...nah, that's weak. How about we try, 'I hope the humor's not too salty'? Oh, wait, I got it! 'Hurry up because I'm feelin a little...lethargic.' See, then you're playin on expectations."

"It's not great," Alistair announced, "but it will have to do for now."

The slug wobbled, "Now that you two have that settled, can we move on?"

"Yeah, sure, go right ahead," I woulda waved my arm in a welcoming manner if I coulda.

"There was a time," he began, "of which we cannot speak. It was before the change. We were not we. We were, but we were not what we are now. Some of us remember nothing of this time and some remember little. There was wetness, hardness and algae. We ate freely of the algae. We were not happy, nor were we sad. We just were. We seek to return to this, but we can not.

"Then came the change. The hardness broke, the wetness surged out, there was heat and then we were conscious. Because we were conscious, some were happy but some were unhappy. Those who were happy were happy to be happy. Those who were unhappy were unhappy to be unhappy. But we were all what we were, and we were incapable of being other than that.

"We began to know ourselves, and to know others of our kind. From this we learned of self and other. We began to know separation. From separation, we learned loss. We learned to want what we'd had and had no longer. We began to yearn. Then, we began to question. We discovered location. We began to ask where we were and why we were.

"The first question was difficult, the second was impossible. We do not attempt to answer impossible questions. We may sit with the questions, but we seek only depth, not answers. We were on a hardness. Yet the hardness was not the same hardness as existed in the time of not knowing. Some were on a hardness that remained, while others were on hardness that moved. We did not know which was which. To all, they were on the hardness that stayed, while others were on the hardness that moved.

"We began to explore. Everywhere we went was the hardness. In some places, there was gas. At one end of the hardness, the gas smelled unpleasant. We were later to learn that we were on a lobster-man named McClawenstein. Some were on his arms, some on his thorax and some near his pooter, from which he would expel mass quantities of gas.

"Upon finding out he was not the whole world, we began to communicate with our host. We learned his written language and drew words upon him while he slept. He did not take well to this. We did not know at the time that he, unaware we were sentient beings, thought he was simply growing algae in unusual patterns. We learned more of his language. We learned how to write sentences. Finally, to get through to him, we wrote, 'We can help you' on his torso. Finally, he became convinced that we, his lowly shell cleaners, were indeed trying to communicate with him.

"Slow rumbles came from McClawenstein. It was the first time we'd heard spoken language and we did not recognize it as such. He rumbled again and we felt we'd incited his wrath. But then he wrote and showed us one word only, 'How?'

"We had planned for this day and everyone was in position. We began to move in soft spirals around his shell, leaving our trails behind us. McClawenstein became inpatient and so slept. In his sleep, we covered him with our intricate patterns, making him beautiful. When he awoke, McClawenstein was covered with perfect spirals that reflected the light of heaven. He was so overcome that salty water began to leak from his eyes in a process we later learned was, 'crying'.

"We now know that McClawenstein was new to his position in the carnival at the time and was locked in heated competition with the bearded woman to see who would remain and who would go. With our help, McClawenstein began to draw larger crowds. With practice, we drew more and more intricate patterns. People were lured by the combination of beauty and revulsion they felt looking at this lobster-man with his glowing shell.

"After much time, the bearded lady was asked to leave. She came to McClawenstein crying after having much drink. She knew not where to go or what to do. Our host comforted her through the night, whispering sweetness to her. They locked in an embrace of love, which lacks the competition of slug love and so seemed uninteresting to us.

"As the large, hirsute woman lay sleeping, McClawenstein plotted his evil. He defoliated her face as she lay unconscious, thereby assuring that she could not possibly threaten his position in the carnival. Then, as she awoke, he sealed his victory in the only way he knew how, by giving her a dutch oven."

"Wait," broke in Alistair, "he gave her a pot specially designed to bake bread over a fire? How is that a victory?"

"You know," I told him, "for bein smart, you're pretty dumb. It ain't that kinda dutch oven."

"Then what is it?" he asked.

"Well," I explained, "a dutch oven is when you're in bed with a girl and you fart, then you push her head under the covers and make her take in your stink. Usually, they're fightin ya, so you gotta hold 'em down pretty good. It's generally best only to do that when you're plannin on breakin up with her anyway."

"That sounds horrendous," Alistair looked shocked.

"Oh, yeah, well it is that," I admitted, "for her! For you, it's downright hilarious."

"The bearded woman thought not," interrupted the slug, "McClawenstein discovered then that his pooty poots can be deadly when inhaled in massive quantities."

"You mean...?" I started.

"Yes, he killed her. He killed her with his flatulence."

And it only got stranger from there.

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