“Yes, I strongly considered the kebab. But just look at that hue: pink chip juice, Gerald. How often do you have the chance to chow down on something like that?”
I knew Keith was right. There was no chilli sauce, no meat, not even a barm. But hell, the coloured liquid could be absolutely anything, and that was undoubtedly the most powerful attraction.
We all piled in and ate our fill, rasping away at the chips with our radulae like there was no tomorrow. The only care we took was to avoid any remaining undiluted salt, warning one another if we saw any sign of a crystal. Bernard still carried the scar from a nasty episode involving a heavily salted chip a few months back.
Afterwards we all agreed that the magenta fluid tasted of nothing at all, and was probably of no nutritional value whatsoever. But if you don’t treat each day like an adventure, what are you left with exactly? The whole affair was a thing of near-perfect beauty.
When you think about life on a day like this – beautifully damp and overcast, both crop and stomach stuffed full of a good meal, surrounded by so many decent gastropods – it’s easy to hold it all in perspective. Living is a damn fine thing, and no mistake.
On days when events are not so fortuitous, (I think, for instance, of the recent Song thrush attack that took the lives of several good friends) I am less inclined to view existence in such an unwaveringly positive light. But whatever the circumstances, every snail can hold fast to one immeasurable comfort: hermaphroditism.
I mean, can you imagine existing as only one gender? The ultimate unbalanced life, for sure! I’ll never forget the day my mother-father and father-mother first told me about species like that.
Quite how anyone would even begin to go about choosing which sex they’d be is completely beyond me.