Thursday, August 6, 2009

Escape Slug

Slugs leave slime trails.

Everybody knows that. But leave it to a science teacher to come up with the idea of comparing slug slime to different man-made adhesives in a classroom science experiment.

And my husband, science teacher extraordinaire that he is, was quite excited about the possibility of doing this particular gross-factor experiment in his tenth grade biology class.

So, he was thrilled to find a three-inch-long slug on the backyard walkway the other day.

Aaron grabbed a jar and trapped the slug. He covered the jar with aluminum foil, poked some air-holes, and added a few pieces of lettuce.

Then he stuck the jar in Sophie's room (read: the room with Sophie's crib in it where we've stored most of the luggage we haven't cracked opened yet).

The next morning, I was sitting in the living room when Olivia rushed in.

"The slug escaped!" she yelled.

I was calm. "Oh, honey, I'm sure it's just sitting up on the lid."

"Yeah, maybe," Olivia said and departed.

Several moments later she came back. "I don't see it on the lid," she said.

"Oh, honey," I said. "I'm sure it's just kind of camouflaged up there. I'm sure it couldn't have gotten out."

But I dragged myself up and followed her into Sophie's room all the same.

Several seconds later ... "Aaron!"

"What?" He was up in the loft.

"Your slug is gone!"

"What!"

Sure enough, we both checked the jar. Absolutely empty. Except for a few pieces of half-chewed lettuce.

We looked helplessly around the room, littered in boxes and odds and ends.

One of the-other-Amy-Sonnichsen's old purses was lying on the floor. And that's where Aaron found the first slime trail, shiny against the black fabric.

We followed the slime trail across Grandpa's old hat. And that's where we lost it.

With no slug in sight.

I stopped laughing long enough to ask, "Are you going to tell your mom?"

Aaron didn't answer at first. He was too busy checking behind the boxes stacked against the wall. Then he said, "I don't know."

We didn't have too much time to look for the slug right then.

Aaron returned to the job in the afternoon. And I got to tell his mom the slug was loose in Sophie's room.

"Ohhhh!" she wailed, grabbing onto the kitchen counter for support.

I don't blame her. Slugs are nasty. You definitely don't want to wake up and find one on your face in the middle of the night.

I silently vowed that Sophie would not sleep in her crib until the slug was found.

Finally, Aaron got his big break. In a certain slant of light, he saw the slug trail climbing the white painted wall. He followed it onto a shelf where his mom stores her knitting supplies. Sliding out a plastic storage container, he found the slug clinging to the back.

Still alive. Just as slimy.

The slug is back in the jar now. But Aaron's not taking any chances this time. He actually attached the screw lid of the jar and poked tiny holes in it with a nail.

We checked on the slug the next day and it was stuck on the lid, probably cursing the fact that nail-holes in metal aren't as pliable as vents in aluminum foil.

In any case, our escape slug ain't goin' nowhere this time.

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