Deborah Klaassen in Paradiso, Amsterdam, July 3, 2011
Once upon a time, in the damp, dark soil underneath Cardiff Castle, a slender slug called Sulyen shed slimy tears.
“Sulyen,” said his lover Llewellyn, “why art thou crying?” His strong, stripy torso slid through the moist earth towards his sad friend.
“It is for thee that I cry,” replied Sulyen. “My internal organs are twisting with desire to bear you a child. But how can we rear a baby slug under these conditions?”
“Thou art right,” said Llewellyn, quickly retracting his tentacles at this revelation. “It is raining so much, yet there are hardly any fresh leaves or vegetables around. We end up getting wasted every night, and this is only summer! Autumn is yet to come! Much as I am attracted to you, Sulyen, it would be irresponsible to curl our private parts together with a view to laying eggs.”
“Oh Llewellyn, I wish I could control my feelings as well as thou can contain thine,” sighed Sulyen, sliding his slim mantle towards his large, muscular friend.
“Hold off!” said Llewellyn, “What part of 'no' don't thou understand?”
“It's the rain,” sniffed Sulyen, “I love thee dearly and do respect thy opinion... but I've had a bit too much to drink...”
Llewellyn curled his bulging body and pushed against the black, rain-soaked soil to get away from his broody buddy. But, despite his stout constitution, he couldn't escape Sulyen, who was more flexible and fuelled with desire.
“Why don't we leave the Castle and find ourselves a nice garden?” Sulyen asked his fleeing friend. “I hear vegetable growing is very popular these days...”
“But I love the Castle,” protested Llewellyn. “I enjoy getting drunk every night, and all my comrades live here!”
“We can have home-grown cabbage and lettuce ...” Sulyen's sensory tentacles tickled his mate's tail. “Is it not thy dream to sandwich an immature tomato plant with me?”
“I do love thee, Sulyen, but...”
“Then let us get out of here!”
“That's what I'm trying to do...” Llewellyn was panting already. “Promise not to touch me until we've found a good home for our children and I shall give thee all the offspring thou want.”
That night, when the heavenly shower was left on again, two slimy silhouettes crawled along the curbs of Cardiff – a stringy, stressed shape first, with a slim, sensual shadow following it's slime trail. Though slugs aren't known for their speed, they soon reached my back garden.
Llewellyn mounted the first pepper plant and hoped Sulyen would forget about their reproduction plans for the night now that they had reached such an abundance of food. Alas, Sulyen had no eye for the fresh green leaves, and only climbed the thin stem to ravish his friend.
When Llewellyn reached the top of the plant, he realized there was nowhere to go. He bit down hard in the green leaves when he felt Sulyen's silky schlong stroke his pneumostone, and knew he would never be able to enjoy the taste of pepper plant again. It seemed to take all night, and when Sulyen was finally done, it was starting to get light already. Llewellyn tried to seek shelter under an old handbag which, for some reason, had been left in the garden. But Sulyen still wouldn't leave him alone.
“Can I have some space, please,” Llewellyn begged, “I can't sleep like this.”
“I'm not done with thee yet,” said Sulyen. “I've given thee mine, but thou haven't given me thine yet. We are hermaphrodites after all.”
That morning, I was shocked to see how my plants had been abused. I made Freddie an omelet for breakfast, crushed the eggshells and spread them around my plants so that the slugs couldn't reach them again.
“We are in serious trouble now,” said Llewellyn. “A few days from now, I'll be giving birth to thirty little eggs. I'm starving already and now we can't even reach the fresh vegetables any more.”
“Don't worry, my love,” said Sulyen, “We shall go to the neighbours, I'm sure there will be plenty of food there. Follow me, big one.”
Poor Llewellyn felt like he had no choice, and followed the slender slug that had impregnated him.
“Come on, slow poke,” shouted Sulyen over his mantle. He had reached an opening in the wall to the next garden already and poked his head through it. “I think they even have a lawn, and flowers... paradise is this way!”
When Llewellyn finally reached the hole in the wall, half an hour later, all he saw was Sulyen's shiny body at the the end of the tunnel. “What's wrong?” he asked.
“I cannot move,” moaned Sulyen. “I was so hungry after yesterday's activity... I just took a bite of the first thing I saw... it must have been poisoned... I knew it smelled suspicious, but I was so hungry... I think I'm paralysed.”
Startled, Llewellyn began to crawl backwards.
“Don't leave me here!” shouted Sulyen. “It's thy fault I'm here in the first place! Thou made me do all the hard work, and didn't leave any of that pepper plant for me! Greedy cow!”
Though he could feel the sun on his mantle already, Llewellyn crossed my garden as quickly as he could, avoiding the sight of the scraggy pepper plant. He heard Sulyen sling a good deal of further insults at him, and didn't want to be there at noon, when the sun would start to blister his paralysed back.
Llewellyn wanted to go back to Castle, but he was heavy with pregnancy and grief. Though it had taken the two slugs no more than one night to reach my garden, two days later, Llewellyn still hadn't reached his home. He was hungry and thirsty and leaned against a courgette plant to catch his breath, when suddenly, he smelled something that made all of his glands ooze with delight. It was a slightly bitter, refreshing smell, so good that a mere whiff of it made him forget his sorrow.
The saucer of ale attracted the pregnant, dehydrated slug like a magnet. Llewellyn had no say in the matter and didn't even know what was happening to him when he slid head first into the liquid gold. He absorbed it like a sponge, drank more than he'd ever drank before, poisoning his parasitic eggs with alcohol. The next day, a woman with marigold gloves fished Llewellyn's inflated corpse out of the saucer and chucked him in a dustbin.
The other slugs at the castle thought Llewellyn and Sulyen never returned because they'd found themselves a lush garden and had started a happy family.
Video: Leica D-Lux 5, AVCHD Lite, Final Cut Pro X effect: dream
Sound: Marantz PMD620, synchronized automatically using Final Cut Pro X