Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Beer Trap - a tale of radishes and cuckolding

Some days the snail gets depressed. It closes the door to its house and won't come out. If it had any curtains to draw it would keep them closed. It thinks of why it is there a lot and what is the point of being a snail exactly - all it produces is slime and it eats a lot. It doesn't much help anyone, it doesn't actually produce anything useful that it can think of at the moment, although in its youth, when it was still being formed in its egg, it had big dreams. At that time it thought it could do anything it liked, but now it understands that it can't. It had thought that what it did might make a difference. It was a very able snail after all - it crawled faster than any of the other snails around it and at the time it was proud of its accomplishment but now it understands that there are other animals that move much faster.

There is a beer trap near the radish seedlings. It smells so good the snail feels drawn to it as it is drawn to a juicy radish. It thinks of the final plunge, the last swallow, the sweetness of malt and the comfort of oblivion. Slowly the snail opens its door, sniffs with that part of it that smells, stretches out, one set of antennae and then the eyes, one and then the next. If the snail had eyelids it would blink. In front of the beer trap is its favourite little white snail kissing the snail's best friend, the one that grew next to him in the nest.

I have been cuckolded, it thinks. The beer has lost its allure, but the radish has not. Its friends are locked in a complicated embrace - one part of one reaches into the soft parts of the other. They sway slightly as if they are listening to a particularly melodious and lyrical song and for a few seconds the first snail is mesmerised as it watches them. I need a radish, it thinks. Its foot pulsates wildly as it glides across the earth. The radishes have done well this year - the snail noticed them yesterday. They are large, long and prickly - a new variety from South America. The snail's slime seems to become more slippery as it anticipates reaches them. In fact its slime soon becomes so slippery that the snail realises that it has stopped moving altogether. Instead it seems to be sinking - rapidly. It had forgotten the beer trap. As the foamy liquid closes above its head it reflects dismally that this is not how it thought it would be. The malt has gone sour and there is no comfort.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Escape from the Beer Trap - a Sequel in 101 Words.

When the snail floats back up for air, having the advantage denied mere slugs of a buoyancy chamber, it realises that whilst the malt has gone sour, the alcohol has not. With one mighty thresh of the tail, it reaches the trickily prickly branches of the radish plant, albeit not the one it was aiming at, the alcohol having fuelled the determination but subverted the accuracy.
Temporarily safe and high in its haven, the snail takes stock of its existence.
It realises that the trick is not to crawl faster, but more stylishly. Later, it would do just that. Later.

Wed Jan 25, 12:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Ghez Hu - ' the trick is not to crawl faster, but more stylishly' - an important message to us all, I feel...I particularly like the rest of the ending - satisfying but with that oh-so-fashionable hint that there is more to come...I do hope so.

Wed Jan 25, 02:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I tend to run out of style after 101 words.

Wed Jan 25, 03:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Wed Jan 25, 03:38:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, all right:

The alcohol takes hold further and the radish tree zooms higher and from this new vantage point everything is perfectly visible, albeit diminished; the snail observes the dynamics of the race, with the tortoise being lapped several times by the hare and the sloth being lapped once by the tortoise and the longer the race goes on, the more dishevelled the hare becomes, the more disconcerted the tortoise looks and the more stylish, unconcerned and unencumbered is the sloth's demeanour. From this distance, it has the cool insouciance of a jaguar, as if to say "Go, Slackers, go! (Or rather stay.)"

Fri Jan 27, 12:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like quite a neat subject - thought I'd have a go.

He crawled through the city and it seemed like every accidental arrangement of the fingers of the passed-by was the left-handed gesture of separated index and little finger like a snail's horns in a silhouette show, a series of small disturbances that serrated the air and reddened his ears beneath his muffler hunched against the sea-pushed wind. They all knew, he knew. The water smelled like beer; the streets smelled like radish farts. Everything seemed like a trap, as if invisible filaments of silk were stretched between all of the accusing fingers, slowly ensnaring him. His feet were sliding on slime.

Fri Jan 27, 12:31:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ghez Hu: so many animals! I like the idea of the superior sloth watching the world of so many frantically-moving animals - all chasing their own tails and not actually accomplishing anything - a metaphor for so much of moden life, I feel.

Adrian: Some gorgeous images here - thank you - very STYLISH!

(Although I have noted with some disgust your use of the word 'fart' - which is an utterly disgraceful lowering of tone but shall overlook just this once).

Sat Jan 28, 12:49:00 pm  

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