One morning I went out back to let out the dog and I nearly stepped on a slug. It actually would have been hard not to step on a slug. Our back deck was covered in slugs. At least half a dozen. And while some people routinely have slugs in their yard, around our house we are typically slug-free. I took this as a sign that slugs were the heretofore unknown eleventh plague, and like any rational suburbanite, I ran screaming into the house.
“It’s the end of the world,” I shouted. “Slugs are raining down upon us.” The kids glanced at me from their usual positions sprawled across the couch, and then went back to watching TV.
“There are slugs all over the back deck,” I said more reasonably.
That got them moving.
The curious thing I always find is that one person’s gross-out is another person’s fascination. This is especially true with kids and parents. Whereas I was completely revolted by the slimy parade of slug-ness oozing across my back deck, the kids thought it was the coolest thing ever.
“Wow! Look at all these slugs! It’s a slug party,” said my daughter.
“No. Not a party. A party is when the guests are invited,” I clarified. “I did not invite slugs to my house. They just showed up.”
“Where did they come from?”
It was a good question. I, myself, was mystified. The deck was several feet off the ground. There was no way on except up the steps, through the back door, or off the roof. Unless the slugs had secret feet or were gastropod paratroopers, I couldn’t figure out how they all got on there.
Still, as far as I was concerned, the question was not so much, how did they get on, but how to get them off. I nudged one of the offending slugs with the toe of my shoe and it stretched a bit but held firm. All I got for my trouble was a shoe full of slime.
Rather than embarrass myself, yet again, and call my husband who A) wouldn’t really care that we had a slug infestation, and B) wouldn’t really care that I cared that we had a slug infestation, I decided to consult the Internet.
This is where I learned that slugs don’t like coffee. Although I, personally, had never stopped to ponder the hot beverage preference of slugs, apparently someone else had, and they determined that coffee is, in a sense, not a slug’s cup of tea.
I did some more research but I couldn’t figure out if I needed to brew regular or decaf, and if the slugs would be more repulsed by Café Verona or Colombian bold. I wondered whether they took their coffee black, with cream and sugar, or perhaps an artificial sweetener. I worried that if I made it too good, they would expect it every time they organized a slug party on my deck, and if they would want a croissant with their coffee, too.
Fresh out of pasteries and down to my last bag of House Blend, I decided to just wing it. I perc’d up a pot and then went to toss the brew at the unsuspecting slugs. But when I got outside, the slugs were gone. Even if they had gotten a whiff of the coffee brewing and had run, er oozed, for their lives, being slugs, they wouldn’t have gotten more than six inches away. Yet, there was no sign of them. Perplexed, I walked back in the house with my coffee.
“Hey Puss,” I said to my daughter, back in position in front of the TV. “Do you know what happened to the slugs?”
“I flicked ‘em.”
“You flicked them?”
“What did you flick them with?” I asked.
“And where did you flick them to?”
“I dunno,” she said.
Having a rudimentary understanding of physics and thinking about the trajectory of a flicked slug, I figured a slug flying into the air would land on the roof where it would stick for awhile and then slime its way across the roof and eventually fall off back onto the deck, which was probably how they all got there in the first place.
I nodded and took my coffee pot into the kitchen.
That night as we cleaned up after dinner, my husband turned to me.
“Are you done with this coffee?” he asked holding up the pot.
“No. I’m saving it for the slugs.”