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I Kill Innocent Creatures — And Then They Cry

The 53 stairs leading up to my house are a minefield of slimy, disgusting slugs. Every morning, without fail, I have to dodge, hop, skip, and weave my way down the stairs in an attempt to not step on one of the suckers. I always make sure I have some extra change on hand, though, just in case.  If I squish a slug, I can assure you I will not be the one who scrapes it off the bottom of my Cole Haan's. Mgazi will do it. She'll do almost anything for a quarter.

So far, in the ten years that I have lived in this house, in the thousands of times I have trekked up and down those incredibly annoying stairs, I have never ever stepped on a slug.

I did, however, manage to step on a snail.

Damn! Did I just make it down to the bottom of the stairs, all FIFTY-THREE stairs, violence-free, only to hear (and feel) the dainty shell of a snail crunch under my sneaker?

Please say it isn't so.

Oh, it's so. The children saw it all and they made sure I understood the full impact of my actions.

Zaffron: Mommy! What did you do?

Me: What? Nothing! Get in the car.

Mgazi [bending at the waist, inspecting the sidewalk]: Oh no, Zaffy. She is lying to you. Mommy killed a snail.

Tears immediately spring into Zaffy's eyes. She's by the car, with me. She can't even see what Mgazi is looking at.

Zaffron: Mommy! How could you do that? He was just a baby!

Me: Oh for heaven's sake... I just --I didn't -- for God's sake, just get in the car. The snail is fine. He's going to have to crawl away and find a new shell.

Mgazi [still peering at the glob on the concrete]: Nuh uh, Mommy. He's killed. You killed him.

Me: Gazi, get in the car. Zaffy, you too.

Everyone climbs into the car and I think the episode is over because there is a short stretch of silence (if you don't count Zaffy's whimpering.) What was I thinking? There are never stretches of silence in my car. Short or otherwise.

Mgazi: Zaffy, you know that snail that Mommy killed? (Like Zaffy could have forgotten in the last two minutes.) He was crying too.

Zaffy [now wailing]: What? What?? Why? WHYYYYYY MOMMMMMMMMMMY?

Me: I'm sorry! I am so sorry. It was a total accident. I feel awful, Zaffy. Mgazi, you didn't see the snail crying. Stop trying to rile your sister.

Mgazi: I did. I saw his eyes. And there were tears coming out of them.

Zaffy: WHY MOMMMMY? WHY?

Me: Mgazi, seriously. You need to stop talking. I'm not joking. Not another word.

And we returned to silence... except, of course, for the sound of my oldest child's sniffling  grief.


Recommended wine: Do you know what goes great with snails? A chablis -- chalky, crisp, and flinty, with a hint of earthiness. Try the 2007 Christian Moreau Chablis. You should be able to get it for around $30.


Snail photo: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

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For more, please visit It's Not Wine, It's Mommy Juice!

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Comment by Kristine Castagnaro on October 8, 2012 at 1:37pm
Really? I didn't know that. I'm going to have to convince my 5-year old to pick up the ones already there and move them before I salt the steps. Otherwise there would be serious carnage. Thanks for the tip!
Comment by Eva Wright on October 8, 2012 at 8:55am

You can buy regular table salt and sprinkle it on the way up and down in a salt shaker and it will stop them in their tracks. It kills them on contact so they will not go where there is or has been any salt sprinkled.

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