No mid-day scheme, no flood relief, no single roof shelter, no health care, no retirement plans, no colour televisions, no new clothes for spring, no drought support; nobody wanted them any more; their broken government was testimony to their cracked present. The old ones, slower by the day, duller by the moment, slept their humble snores inside their snail-made duck-homes, to die in. The amorous few climbed over each other, scale by scale, slipping in their own juices, falling, only to try again and with a vision to procreate into a new populace; one that would be faster than their own generation and before, and would live to see a better tomorrow, made for themselves by themselves and independent of the ludicrous dystopian government that they had lost faith in.
And in a partial success, among their little offspring of tomorrow, with little swirls of shells upon backs and split antennae to feel what was left of their world, there arose many a smart revolutionary, spilling mutinous garble as emphatically as their slug-mobility spittle; “Snails aren’t brainless!” “Slugs have hearts!” “We shall not be broken!” “We demand a new state! Independence!” “And we shall call it our world!” “And our world it shall be!”
Seventeen new babies. Thirteen revolutionaries. Three chewed up for dinner. And one leader. Buzz, they called him, after a favourite bee who had died a gory death in trying to sting a sleeping grandfather into activity; the grandfather lived to tell the tale in a somnambulant narrative. And while the many grandfathers and their fore slept into a dreamy night of intolerable hunger and thirst and dried up and shrivelled in their calcium towers, Buzz crawled to peep into the world and plot an escape. Dextrous and faster than the others, he covered three weeds in a three days. Weed by weed, he left his trail of spittle along, marking what would soon be their path to victory. And as he reached the last weed and peeped his fat antennae into an unknown world, he knew that he had won! There lay the road to their new world! Black and shimmering, it smelt like nothing he had known before! And it looked so inviting and winding, that he could already dream of the momentous journey ahead! Without a second look, he fled back! Two and a half days was all it took! Panting and gargling, he told his friends and people of the new world! Oh how I wish you could have been there to see the snails topple in their dreams! And without ado, they set off! House on back, leaving the sleepy ancestors to their own deaths, they slithered along Buzz’s trail to a hitherto unseen state!
And the air was writ with whispers of the brave Buzz; their leader and visionary! Every passing night, they toasted to him and drank from the rain that washed out his trail in places but never drowned their spirits!
The road streamed out like a slit black adder in front of them. In a heave of cheers, they began their crossing! Hip! Hip! A Hip! A Hurrah! A Hippie Hip!
But the wind dried up like someone blotted it. And the rain vanished, blown with the wind to another nation or state. And the boiling sun steamed their trailing spittle that puffed up in an ill smoke and vanished.
“The government has spies!” “What do we do now?!”
Oh you should have been there to see the sight; A foot away from each other, they formed a bridge of slugs; a bridge from emptiness to the bounties of a new nation.
“Heey!! Move on; you there! Move!” cried someone at the back, still stuck in government land. Buzz, at the fag end of the bloody bridge, struggled to jump territory but he had no juices left.
And in one great trample, the government walked over the bridge. Walked walked. Walkity walk.
And in a row of smashed houses, Buzz’s heart flipped in the first.