Decades ago, I lived in the south for about fifteen months while attending college. I rented this cute little two-story house that opened at ground level on both levels because it was built into a hill. It was small, but cozy, and sufficient for my needs. My two daughters took the bedrooms upstairs and I bunked in the living-room downstairs.
But, it was also a buggy house. Now, maybe it’s normal in the south to deal with a lot of really big bugs. I don’t know. I’m from Minnesota where spiders and grasshoppers and cockroaches are normal sized, not monsters that attack your face or skitter across the linoleum so loudly you think it’s a rat. To me, that house was abnormally infested and it was a constant battle to keep the creatures out. In fact, my youngest daughter, just two at the time, was bitten by a brown recluse while we lived there.
One night, I dozed off while watching TV. Hours later, I awoke groggy and bleary-eyed, and noticed a blob on the kitchen floor across the room. It was a blob because I wasn’t wearing my glasses and the only light came from the flickering TV screen. Peering through the darkness, I tried to discern what it was. A sock? A clump of mud? A toy?
Heart racing, I crawled out of bed and crept toward the kitchen. I squinted, but it just wouldn’t take form into something identifiable. I took a step toward the wall and reached for the fly swatter on the hook—just in case it decided to charge at me—and promptly fell on my tush. I had stepped on a trail of slippery slime unlike anything I’d ever encountered before. I scrambled to my feet, waving the fly swatter like a sword.
Well, okay, it waved because my hands were shaking. I admit it.
Anyhoo, I made my way past it and flipped the switch, flooding the room with light and illuminating the biggest most disgusting slug I’ve ever seen…and the long slimy trail it’d left across my kitchen floor. Suddenly, the fly-swatter was the wrong weapon because I wasn’t about to squash the thing and then have to clean it up.
My gaze cast about the room, in search of a solution. No way was I going back to bed with that thing creeping across the floor just a few feet away. And then I remembered something one of my fellow students had said: Salt melts slugs. They just dissolve into water, she’d said. Perfect, I thought. I’ll kill it with salt and then mop it up with paper towels.
I reached for the salt shaker. No. That wasn’t going to be enough to dissolve the beastie on my floor. This thing was as big as my fist. I needed the whole box of salt, the one with the little girl and the umbrella. She was going to save the day. I slid the little metal chute open and tip-toed across the room—careful to avoid the slime that had already put me on my back-side once—and poured. I buried that thing under a mountain of salt. And yep—It dissolved…into a pile of sticky gooey slime. Not a nice puddle of salt water I’d be able to mop up. Oh no, this stuff was like stretchy snot made of super-glue.
I spent the next hour gagging while I tried to clean it up. First paper towels. Then the metal dust-pan used as a scraper. Then half a bottle of dish-soap. Eventually, I scooped dirt from outside and covered the whole thing, trail and all, and decided I’ll just have to deal with it tomorrow…after I acquire some expert advice from one of the locals who must surely know the secret to cleaning up slug slime.
Now that slug got into my house somehow and crept across my kitchen floor toward the bathroom. A distance of about ten feet by the time I saw him. I shudder to think of that going on while I was snoozing just a few feet away. But that really isn’t the point I’m trying to make. Yes, I have a point. My point is, that slug moved snail’s pace slow and yet it traveled quite a distance before I saw it. If I hadn’t awakened, it likely would have found its way down the shower drain and I never would have known the difference (that would have been preferable, really). I have to admire its determination and perseverance. I just wish it’d chosen someone else’s kitchen to invade.
Lately, I feel a lot like that slug. I have a goal. Multiple goals, in fact. And yet, life keeps pouring salt on me. But I’m not a slug. I don’t dissolve in the salt. It just burns a bit and slows me down. Sometimes it stops me in my tracks and forces me to contend with it for awhile. But eventually, I return to my goals and keep creeping toward them, one millimeter, or in this case; one word at a time.
I haven’t given up. I won’t give up. The Quest series WILL be completed. I promise. No matter how much salt the world dumps on my head, I will persevere. Like that nasty blob of sticky snot on my kitchen floor, I am not going to let go until the job is finished. But I might gross everyone out from time to time along the way, just for giggles… 😀
Current word count for Gust of Wind: 61,190. So close to my minimum goal of 80,000. It’s getting there. One sluggish word at a time.
You’ll forgive the pun, won’t you?