Sunday, December 2, 2012
The Secret Life of the Slug.
The Slug locked his apartment door behind him and headed straight for the refrigerator. It had been a long day. He could hear his roommate in the bathroom, as the moist heat of the little flat hit him like a wave.
Cracking open a tall, cold Carlsberg, he took a long pull at it and gratefully contemplated the fact that tomorrow was his day off. His life was dedicated to untruth, injustice, and lobbying for the Canadian military-industrial complex, but sometimes a slug got tired. Defending the rich corporations from the law, protecting the bloated and morally degenerate bourgeoisie from the consequences of their own ignorance, was a tough job, but one he loved. Still, everyone needs a day off once in awhile.
Tomorrow, he would take little Jimmy to the zoo, buy a bag of peanuts and eat them in front of the elephant enclosure. The elephants were not going to get a single peanut, he resolved. God damn them all to hell! But if they didn’t like it, they could break out, take the zookeepers hostage, hijack a river barge and sail home to Africa if they didn’t like it. He never worried about little Jimmy, the progeny of a previous opposite-sex-same-species-marriage being seized, abducted, and adopted by some insane old lady. The fact is, little Jimmy, dumped on him by an ungrateful spouse, was a royal pain in the ass. He was always asking for money, got sick about once a month, and couldn’t seem to do his homework in quadratic equations, without The Slug’s help.
The Slug hated mopping up fresh or even slightly-dried kid puke, and wasn’t much good at math, although integers and vector theory were okay. Hopefully Jimmy was having a long walk home from school in the rain. Lately he seemed to be taking his time coming home. This behavior should be positively reinforced in some way. Perhaps a nice plate of liver, and some broccoli; maybe even some eggplant for the boy. That would get the message across.
Tapping on the bathroom door, he received no response, so he put the beer down on the end table in the living room, and picked up the remote control device for the big screen television. His rubbery, prehensile lips were agile in their quest to find the worst show on TV. You could say The Slug was a bit of a self-abuser, a real intellectual masochist. They say TV rots the brain. So far, no joy, but he kept trying, and kept hoping.
Clicking on the power button, he was rewarded with the usual Canadian journalist, spewing out the official party line, which was about the farthest thing from truth you could get.
Apparently the government was doing a good job of bailing out extremely-profitable Canadian banks, and another poor motherfucker on disability had starved to death, being unable to pay rent and eat on the same monthly cheque. The newscaster kept that insane grin, jolly and fatuous, for people loved bad news.
His fluffy-headed blonde fellow newscaster was smiling her perfect smile while reporting on an earthquake in Istanbul, where apparently two hundred and twenty-five thousand people had just been killed by falling debris. He hoped the professional charity workers would come to his door and ask for a donation. He would tell them off! Yes, he was quite looking forward to it.
“Same shit, different day,” he murmured in contentment and with a sense of social injustice flooding through his tired body. His hero, Steve Wilkos, was not on at this hour. No Maury Povich. No CTV Newsnet; i.e. no dogs on Harleys, no dogs on skates or dogs on surfboards. No dogs on skis. No dogs in parachutes or dogs flying fighter jets, or running the quarter mile in a blown, nitro-burning funny car. It was disappointing, and he was not a philosopher. He hated the world at that moment, a love-hate-love-hate-hate-hate relationship.
What would Darwin have done differently? If they can’t take a joke then fuck them, and in his opinion life was a joke indeed. It could even be hilariously funny—to an objective observer, one not involved in the outcome.
Just then a loud knocking came at the door.
The Slug undulated over to the door, expanding and retracting his body length in his hazy, lazy, crazy form of locomotion, and looked out the peephole. His landlord, Miss Kitty Johansen, was to be seen out in the hallway, standing there with a cross look on her face.
He stared at her in a kind of tired amusement. Every evening, the same old routine, both grating to the nerves, and yet also kind of reassuring. For a moment, he considered shifting into human form, going out there with a baseball bat, and smashing her head in. But he was just too much of a dead-beat. And who would he torment tomorrow evening?
“Mister Wilson! Mister Wilson,” she bellowed at the closed door.
“There’s no one here but us darkies,” he bellowed right back.
He knew it was wrong, somehow, but he did it anyway. One of the many benefits of narcissism.
“How many times have I asked you to mop up the hallway after you come in?” she shrieked.
He tried not to stifle a giggle, and enough leaked out for her to hear.
“You’re not fooling me, you lousy fuck, you son of a bitch,” she yelled, then headed down the hallway out of his sight, presumably to get the mop.
She was always complaining about his slime trail. But what could he do? No one could help who they really were, in the final analysis. If she didn’t like it, she shouldn’t have rented the place to him and The Centipede. He giggled again at the sight of her, swiping the mop angrily back and forth, cussing him out pretty good, too, by the sound of her muttered threats and imprecations.
It was a good question. He thought about it for a while, staring out the little peephole with one of his stalked, simple eyes. The Slug had no answer for her. He had lived here for two years, three months, nine days and a few hours in total. Last year had been a leap year. Some months had thirty days, some had thirty one. February had twenty-eight. Thoughtlessly, he moved away from the door, wondering when he would get a crack at the bathroom. A rising sense of impatience crept over him. His sidekick was quickly outliving his uselessness. It would be wise not to misunderestimate The Centipede.
Besides, The Earwig has been making eyes at me lately, he thought inconsequentially, and I’ve had the hots for it for years…then his thoughts characteristically drifted onwards.
The Slug wasn’t big on mathematics, in fact education of any type just tired him, and caused him to resent what the world was becoming. Why couldn’t they just freeze time at about 1958 and have done with it? He would have been a fucking genius, by 1958 standards. If it was good enough for the Prime Minister, it was good enough for anybody.
“I don’t fucking know,” he bellowed towards the thick wooden panels of the door, with its jambs cracked and nailed back together after being kicked in one too many times on drug raids. How often had his little sister, The Bitch, kicked that door in looking for a fix while he was away on a job?
Too many times to count, he reckoned lazily. Some days it just didn’t pay to be a bigoted, verbally abusive, child-neglecting drug addict, he thought with some small resentment. That was the first time in a long time he had had that thought, so perhaps things weren’t so bad after all. Speaking of drugs, it was high time he had his injection.
That crawling sensation in the neck and shoulders, or what passed for neck and shoulders in one built like a segmented barrel, told him that the last one, which he had taken a half hour ago in a bus station, with little old ladies, nuns, and children under five years old watching, was wearing off. He suddenly realized with apathy that he had left his pants, or pant, there at the bus station.
He also realized that he was showing some patience. That simply wouldn’t do.
The Slug slithered down the tiled portion of the spacious, airy, one-room bachelor apartment, and knocked in no uncertain terms on the bathroom door.
“What the hell is taking so long?” he shouted with no regard to the blind man who lived in the next pad. “I got to take a shit, you lousy fuck.”
“I’m sorry,” he heard the thin, high, lisping voice of his life-partner. “I’m shaving my legs, and I’m only halfway down the left side.”
“You fucking faggot, get the fuck out of there, or I’ll shit on your side of the bed,” howled The Slug, in false bitterness and resentment.
The truth is, he really didn’t have to go, but lately he had become increasingly abusive to his same-sex-but-different-species sexual partner. The Slug was a ‘top,’ and The Centipede was a ‘bottom,’ and that was a choice that had been made long ago. The Slug pounded back the remains of his beer, and headed for the refrigerator to get another one. All in all, life was tolerable, and he wouldn’t change a God-damned thing if he didn’t have to.
Later, if he felt ambitious, he could swap five-star reviews with some folks who couldn’t write their way out of a wet paper bag.
That always made him feel better.
(Jesus Christ, Louis, some day maybe you could tell us how you really feel. -ed.)