This is a piece of microfiction from my upcoming project The Die Decides – which is live on Kickstarter now!
We rolled a ten sided dice and it gave me the directions of 500 words in the category of “On The Allotment”, with the theme of “Acceptance”…
Slugs. Don’t talk to me about slugs.
Last year I had enough broccoli to fix a famine. Finest crop I’ve ever managed. Every plant? Perfect.
Then I was away, and it rained like the dickens. They thrive in the wet, y’see? Come back and it was like someone had taken a strimmer to the plot – the Battle of the Somme but with brassicas. I barely salvaged enough to balance up your standard roast dinner for one.
There’s too many of them, that’s the problem. I’ve heard on fancy vineyards they keep an army of ducks around. Just there to munch on the slimy scumbags. Good work if you can get it.
Don’t think I’d get permission from the General Allotment Committee for that though. Snooty barstools, the whole lot. In it for the power. I can hear them now, all “Against regulations”, and “Your army of ducks ate all my tomatoes”. They wouldn’t know a good crop of broccoli if I dropped it on them. Not that I can, thanks to the slimy criminals on my patch.
Thing is, can’t be much of a life. I mean, I’m retired now – course I am, shuffling around a veg patch, muttering about gastropods – but in my glamorous professional career I was a traffic warden.
No, not even – I was a “Parking Enforcement Officer”, they retitled us, very grand! My job satisfaction went through the roof with that one, no doubt. Would have preferred a pay rise, but you take what you can get. “I’m a P.E.O., you know?” I’d say, to bulldog builders as they swore at me for ticketing them for blocking the ambulance entrance to the hospital whilst they nipped somewhere for an emergency sausage roll. I like to feel there was a new begrudging respect in their eyes as they threatened to physically intrude on my anatomy with the afore-mentioned ticket.
So I suppose I understand the lettuce grubbers more than I let on. I used to step on them, but can’t bring myself to these days. More satisfaction in tossing them onto Mr Chairman’s fancy railway-sleeper raised beds. Few more tomatoes’ll be good for them, I’m sure.
Truth be told, since the wife moved on, company has been somewhat thin on the ground. Say what you like about slugs, but they’re not complainers. “Always on that filthy allotment”, she’d say. Easier to stay quiet about that, but well, there was no one to nag me in the shed. Slimy they might be, but they know how to hold their tongue like no-one’s business.
I’d not admit it publicly, like, but there’s sometimes the day I’ll cook up a cuppa, and perch one of them on the potting table. I’m not mad, I know its just a big mindless worm; but its still nice to sit with someone sometimes, right?
I like to think of ‘em like old rivals, comrades-in-arms, almost. Reminiscing about the battles we’ve fought.
I’d never have eaten that much broccoli anyway.
Thanks for reading! Did you enjoy it? If you’d like to have your say in what the die decides for me to write next, please check out The Die Decides on Kickstarter!