Damn. Maybe they learned it from cobalt. Bela hunts snails for his
cobalt-derived fowl, too. Mind-controlling chickens, haw haw!
So, I found 20 last night even though it wasn't particularly wet. That somehow didn't seem enough, though. I remembered that last night, I had found a single slug, and also a couple of baby snails, which weren't in the bucket when I lifted its cover this morning, presumably having escaped because the cover I used was an old dustpan, which didn't quite occlude the bucket's mouth; a narrow slot was left open. The chickens' favorite items - a slug and tiny snails - lost, through my criminal stupidity!
In penance, I spent quite a while hunting (before my morning coffee, even; no mere drug addiction could compare to my desire to redeem myself). I found another 10, and delivered them with appropriate contrition. I watched them eat the small ones posthaste, and then the feeling intruded upon my consciousness that I would feel a great sense of satisfaction if I were to enter the coop and crush the shells of the larger snails with a stick. The chickens stood back and watched while I did this. It seemed so very right.
Once I had completed this task, I started to leave, but the expected sense of fulfillment did not come. I turned and found one of the chickens critically eyeing a large snail that I had overlooked. As we gazed upon the snail together, I was suddenly struck by how utterly objectionable snail shells are. In my mind's eye, a beautiful vision presented itself, clear as day: I saw the snail as it would appear without its shell. Tender… succulent… a delicious, soft morsel of gastropod goodness. To pluck it from the earth with my powerful, bone-hard lips, lift it into the air, and with a jerk of my head, draw it into my crop and feel it slide down my gullet without even a speck of shell remnant; to crush it within my gizzard, that it might nourish the unending chain of ova forming within me: now, that would be heavenly. I could actually taste it.
In my euphoria, I entirely lost the sense of revulsion I had formerly felt toward snails. I plucked the remaining intact mollusk from the ground, interrupting its slow, futile crawl to sanctuary. I cracked the shell carefully, extracted its sluglike contents (heedless of the slime that coated my fingers), and so thick with desire was my mind, I almost ate it. Fortunately, as I tipped my head back and laid the snail upon my tongue, I felt a blinding pain behind my eyeballs, which drew me from my rapture and alerted me to the selfish deed I was engaged in. Shocked, I removed the snail (still, allowing myself to sinfully savor the latent flavor of its ooze) and set it carefully upon a barren patch of dirt. The beneficent aviatrix before me gobbled it up greedily, as well she should, for did not all good things descend from her?
I departed the coop with my mind in turmoil: Which project should I embark upon first - an effective snail deshelling mechanism, a genetic engineering program for shellless snails, or a slug farm?
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