May 1, 2011*
The winter of 2011 was Portland’s wettest in 116 years. El Nino had invaded the West Coast and the sun retreated to the east. After months of rain and overcast my inner happy voice screamed, “It’s May Day, go plant flowers!”
“Jeez, you don’t have to yell,” I said. “Where?”
“In the pot of ferns by the front door!”
“There’s no space for flowers in that pot.”
“What an Eeyore. Go check it out!” (She’s bossy when she’s angry.)
I shuffled out the door and kneeled beside the pot. I spread apart the lacy green shrubs and peered in. “Eeeewwww!” I screamed, recoiled and lost my balance banging my head on the door knob behind me. I leaned against the door and peeked back into the pot. On top of the dirt, between the ferns, a humungous, slimy, spotted varmint waved its tentacles at me.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
It retracted its tentacles and contracted into a compact capsule.
I’d seen numerous slugs in quiet meetings on rainy sidewalks around the neighborhood plotting their nightly forays of tagging patios and decks with slime graffiti. It was none of my business. They left me alone and I left them alone.
“It’ll be gone tomorrow. Then you can plant flowers,” said Happy Voice.
What the Slug Says!
The first half of 2011 was the moist glorious time of my life. During the fall of 2010 I spent weeks house hunting. One night, on a routine slide-about, I happened upon a delightful pot of ferns. I prayed it wasn’t occupied as I climbed inside to take a closer look. I saw no one. No slugs, no bugs, no worms. It was MINE.
I spent the rest of that night and the next day in the crock assessing its livability. In addition to a view of the street, sidewalk and the entire neighborhood, its shady location made it my perfect home.
Every night I roamed the neighborhood, grabbed a bite with friends and hit the cool wet spots. By four every morning I arrived back at the pot so I’d have two hours to read the newspaper before one of the ugly pink giant creatures took it away.
During the day I snoozed under the ferns and watched the comings and goings of the “pinkies.” Sometimes they left boxes on the doorstep that other pinkies fed to four legged rolling monsters.
Everyone in Slugdom envied me. I was euphoric. Then one day my life changed forever. Instead of walking by, the red-topped pinkie stooped down beside my home. Oh, crap, I thought. I held my breath and waited.
Its ten little tentacles touched my ferns and the big round eyes on its enormous head looked directly at me.
I rolled into a little ball and made myself invisible. That big ugly pink monster would NOT scare me away from my mansion.
*Note to readers: We’re catching up on the pet slug history. When we reach current time we’ll post a daily slug pot report – read on — it gets better. )