Conversation of a late night:
- Mugggg. I'm hugging a porcupine. And so are you.
-.... That makes no sense. What porcupine?
- The one with sharp feathers.
-.... Are you okay?
- I'm sorry. We should never have hugged that porcupine.
- (logged off)
Out of sinister curiosity, I googled "hug a porcupine", and damn me, it was the name of a book by psychologist John Lund "How to hug a porcupine: Dealing with Toxic and Difficult to Love Personalities." The world is bleeding expressions, seriously.
As I scrambled up the stair home tonight, I saw a snail in the middle of a step. Naked without its shell, the thing looked raw and fleshy, a little disgusting in fact. I poked at it with a leaf, and it startled, quickly withdrew its squishy antennas and rolled up into a ball. A second later, it ventured the antennas out, turned them 180 degrees and I could see, from the very end of the flesh, two tiny black dots peering at me. We looked at each other for a good thirty seconds, I was admiring the vague brown veins under its porcelain skin, and who knows what it found interesting on my humanly face. With the best intention of saving it from careless footsteps, I gently cuddled it up onto the leaf and brought it down to the last step - where, I thought, it might find food easier. But what the hell do snails eat anyway? I thought hard, but had no idea. Meanwhile, the snail angrily rolled down the leaf and mightily stretched its bodice upward. Such great effort. I could see every muscle tensing up and relaxing, rolling flesh and veins, leaving behind a trace of sticky saliva.
My brain slowed down to catch up with its slowness. Then I remembered the porcupine and every neuron dashed again.