Slug Pet

Posted on Oct 6, 2011 in life | 5 comments

I’ve discovered the presence of a fat slug in the weird hallway between the front door and the kitchen.

This slug is a creature of habit. The first night I noticed it, I picked it up (squeamishly) and set it on a flowerpot outside the door, thinking I should probably move it before the dogs get to it. But it came back around the same time the next night, and the next. I didn’t know slugs could be so punctual, but alas, I’ve watched the little squisher come and go at the same hour for 9 nights and have since changed my tune.

It comes in at twilight, as the sun casts its goodbye shadows on Dunoon. It squishes its way along the linoleum, the door, the walls of the hallway. It is gone by morning.

I’ve stopped rescuing it–the dogs don’t seem to care about it. It has become a part of their nightly routine, another living being in a menagerie of animals.

I decided at some point that I’m not appalled by the slug because the hallway is really an extension of the outdoors, just as the kitchen is an extension of the hallway. They are all dirty. No one really knows where they’ve been. I just prefer the outdoor spaces to the indoor ones here. They’re a fresher, more natural sort of dirtiness, even if they are drowning in rain.

In truth, I have become quite fond of the slug. I think it is fascinating that it turns up in the same hour and then leaves after its wanderings. What is it searching for?

It is kind of cute, in a leathery, mucus-y kind of way, with its beady little eyes taking in the room on their tall stalks.

It’s an animal that has voluntarily made itself available to us humans, like any other pet, and yet it takes care of itself. Besides washing away its tracks on occasion, I don’t have to feed it goopey pet food, change its urine-soaked bedding, or pretend to like it. It does its thing; I do mine. We don’t get in each other’s way; we just acknowledge the other’s presence. We have a healthy relationship, the slug and I.

Late last night, I was headed to the laundry room directly off the hallway to switch out another load of clothes. I was distracted, full of trepidation for my task, because the laundry room makes my skin crawl. I stepped on the poo-brown rug, preparing to weasel my way in through another clutter portal, when I felt a squish then a rush, as with a release of pressure.

And I knew.

I stepped on the slug.

I felt the sadness even before I looked down and saw the dull yellow mess oozing from the slug’s head. (At least I think that was its head.)

I was hoping maybe slugs were resilient, like worms. You know, when you cut worms into pieces, they still live, and the pieces become other worms. (At least, that was the rumor going around growing up. I guess I never confirmed the accuracy of it.) But the slug looked very damaged, and I couldn’t take the sight of it anymore. I escaped to the one place I’d never imagine I’d escape to. But I had a job to do, and the claustophiliac washer was mocking me.

I bundled damp clothes into my arms, prepared to sacrifice body parts to keep the dangling sleeves and pant legs from touching the floor. And I thought over the moments before the fatal step. The slug blended into the wet, mud-soaked rug so well. How could I have known it was there? Who knows how long it has frequented the hallway off the kitchen. The slug’s story had ended, and I felt the weight of it heavy in my chest.

It was such a meaningless creature, a pest, but it had slimed its way into my life, my routine, in such an unobtrusive way. There is still a hope that it has indeed survived–that it sucked its brains back into its tissue skull and made its journey out the door like every other night. But I’m guessing I shouldn’t have a hope, because I’m facing the real possibility that I’ll have to clean it up this morning, if the dogs haven’t already eaten it.

Ryan and I leave the house at 3pm, never to return. If the slug has disappeared and makes an appearance tonight, I shall never know.

photo by ecstaticist, under a creative commons license

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  1. Oh my!, What gobs of laughter have slimed into my heart! The squishiest of sympathies to you on so many levels.

  2. Haha! Love the comment. Thanks, Robin!

  3. Noooo! He trusted you! Did he even have a name?

    What a sad yet funny story. I think my favorite sentence was “We have a healthy relationship, the slug and I.” It’s so refreshing to read well written blog posts! Thanks for sharing your talent with us, and may your heart be mended with time.

  4. Ah, shucks. Thanks, Becca, for the nice comment. :)

  5. .”I didn’t know slugs could be so punctual, but alas, I’ve watched the little squisher come and go at the same hour for 9 nights . . . “. I busted a seam when I read this.

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