Friday, March 26, 2004

Friday time warp……...

I’m 8 years old and I’m just about to invent a whole new game.
I’m in our back garden, with my best pal, Alan. We are mooching around in the borders – they are awash with bugs, creepies and crawlies. We start to turn over some old bricks scattered about. Under one of them, resided the biggest, blackest slug we had ever seen.

We pick him up, put him on the patio and wait for Sluggy’ to do something.

He does nothing.

We chant "Do something, do something, do something, Sluggy"

We invite sluggy to join our game – as if he had a choice. Alan gets the bumper pack of ‘Saxa Salt’ from the kitchen. Sluggy looks petrified. It's like he's frozen with fear, rooted to the spot as we start to draw lines of salt all around him.

The lines join up to form a brilliant maze, with Sluggy right in the middle of it. We invite our little quiet pal to try and find his way out. He seems reluctant to try, so we get some ‘slug prodding’ utensils from the kitchen, to help him on his way and give him a bit of 'incentive'. (Forks from the cutlery drawer, if I remember it right).

We prod. Doink, doink, doink.

Maybe we’ve underestimated his intelligence. Maybe we’ve underestimated his problem solving capacity. Maybe he couldn’t move very fast because he didn’t have any legs …. Or maybe the reason he wasn't doing much, was to increase the dramatic effect. Who knows? Sluggy seems transfixed with something or other. It seems he just cannot grasp the gist of the game. It’s like he doesn’t get it.

Hardly surprising really. Our maze wasn’t that good. Traditional mazes have a way of getting in and out – they have lots of blind alleys, but the basic premise is that eventually a way out can be found. That’s where our maze differed. It had no way in - and definitely no way out. Just concentric squares of salt, the smallest being just big enough to make Sluggy immobile.

Bored with the inactivity, we meander to our supper – and in the days before video games, a bit of telly then bed.

The next day, we come across what’s left of our forgotten playmate. What was once a slug is now a withered dried up shmuck of wrinkled black skin. During the night Sluggy obviously tried to make a break for it. He nobly tried to break free of those saline bonds. He must have taken a bit of a running jump at it though, because he travelled about half an inch before capitulating in a salty heap.

Sluggy, we salute you. We gave our little salt encrusted pal a full state funeral by chucking him over into next door’s garden.

Note: No slugs were actually harmed in this story. A very talented ‘stunt slug’ was employed. He wore a complete, all in one, salt proof body suit at all times….. (obviously).

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