Boy meets Slug

By slugfag

It’s often said that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s an understandable idiom that conveys that no matter how drastic a shift in the world on a macro scale, things will keep going in micro. Empires rise and fall, yet a baker in Rome was doing the same job as a baker in 19th century London, who was doing the same job as a baker in 21st century USA. People will never forget those moments that changed the course of history, the watershed moments that affected the entire globe. Not thinking that while these momentous events occurred, someone somewhere woke up and lived his life. December 7th, 1941, is a date that will live in infamy. Yet, while the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, my grandfather played baseball with his pals. It’s just the way of the world.

I guess that’s why everything is so normal here. The familiar county farmer’s market that I’ve known since childhood hasn’t changed much. Ed Stuart still runs the satellite stall for his butcher’s shop. Mrs. Akiyama retired last year, but her daughter Kaede took on running the flower shop and selling bouquets at her stand. Even this little open-air café, which used to be run by a somewhat dour Hungarian man by the name of Szabo, has changed very little in layout or décor. The only significant change I can see is…

“Are you good, Hon, or should I get you another cup?” a voice asks, a hint of an unplaceable accent laced into her words. Turning to face her reveals a rather matronly cow woman with just enough fat on her body to accentuate her curves yet not take away from her beauty. She smiles at me, awaiting my answer.

“I’ll take a refill, please,” I say, not taking my eyes off the milling crowd.

“You know, you keep drinking all that coffee, and you’ll miss your date going to the bathroom.” She cautions, waving a hand in front of my eyes to get my attention.

“Thanks for the concern, but she should be here soon,” I answer.

“So, you’re going to take her with you to the bathroom? How romantic.” The Holstaur jokes, covering her mouth as she chuckles to herself.

“Yeah, yeah, just get my coffee,” I grumble, quickly going back to people watching.

As I was saying, things stay the same, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any change; and in the last seven months there had been more than a bit of difference. It’s hard to think that people believed that Earth was alone in the universe, that mankind was the sole source of intelligent life, just over half a year ago. Centaurs, Minotaurs, Oni, and more were creatures from myths and legends, not things that could exist in real life. Just seven short months ago, all the above was considered the ironclad truth.

Now seven months later, I’m being served coffee by a woman with cow hooves for feet and a paintbrush tail swishing back and forth just above her (admittedly shapely) derriere and the market is teeming with all sorts of strange and fantastic races straight out of mankind’s collective imagination.

If anything, it makes people-watching much more enjoyable. So much so that I nearly forgot the whole reason I was scanning the crowds in the first place.

I’m about halfway through that second cup of coffee when I see a peculiar sight. A woman of rather homespun beauty, not too uncommon since even the plainest among these newcomers never dip lower than a 7 on the attractiveness scale. She didn’t look out of place among the other women (Discounting her bust being at least two sizes bigger than most) milling about the market, her simple sundress and floppy sunhat giving her the look of a gardener done up in her Sunday best, her chartreuse hair gathered into a simple bun near the nape of her neck, the rest piled under her floppy chapeau save for a few errant wisps that fell over her face. On first impression, she seemed a natural fit for a farmer’s market, no more exceptional than any of the other hobby horticulturists who made the market their second home. That would be the case if you ignored the two periscope-like eye stalks that jutted through her sunhat, or more noticeably, the face that she had no legs, her lower half being the body of some enormous slug, with her torso rising from where the creature’s head would usually be.

We lock eyes for mere seconds, and immediately something alights in her eyes. The neutral frown she wears is replaced by a wide grin as she waves at me, slowly sliding across to my table, leaving a trail of slime in her wake.

Is this woman really my date? I can honestly say that when I signed up for extra-dimensional blind dating, I never would have guessed a slug woman would be among the options. I knew there were several species among the newcomers, perhaps too many if I was being honest, but this surprised me.

It takes about a minute before she reaches my table, up close, I can finally see her face, green eyes, and a light dusting of freckles, she’s cuter than I initially thought.

“Howdy, you’re Anon… right?” she says, cocking her head to emphasize the question. Her voice is not what I expected from a slug woman. It is a far cry from the glacial monotone I had prepared myself for. It is instead surprisingly upbeat if still a little slow in delivery.

“I am. Are you Mildred?” I answer, the mention of her name causing her face to twist into momentary embarrassment.

“I am, but if you could stick with ‘Milly’ or ‘Mil’ that’d be fine.” she replies, extending her hand, “I love my Pa, but I reckon he has more an ear for naming hounds than little girls.”

Being a gentleman, I take her hand as gently as possible, giving a few ginger pumps for a handshake before drawing back. And immediately start dripping slime all over my freshly ironed pants. Milly must notice my displeasure as she returns to that embarrassed face from earlier.

“Ah, sorry about that,” she says, reaching for some napkins… which also quickly become inundated with slime to her chagrin, “I hope you’re not too cross; as much as I’d like to, I can’t turn that stuff off.”

“It’s certainly going to take some getting used to, but let’s not dwell on it. We both came here expecting a date, right?” I say, rising from my seat, “Just let me pay for my coffee and-“

“No need,” the Holstaur shouts from the counter, “Consider it’s a Valentine’s Day special; all drinks are on house if you’re on a date.”

“Well, that’s mighty white of you, Miss,” Milly shouts back, to which the proprietress merely flashes a wink and a thumbs up. I know human women always like to thump their chest about some stupid “sisterhood,” but I don’t think I’d ever seen women cooperate for each other’s benefit to the degree these “mamano” have.

“If that’s all settled, then let’s get going,” I say, beginning to walk at a brisk pace. The market is a big place, and I have a lot of stalls to hit. It’s only once I’ve gone about ten feet that I realize I’ve long since left my date behind.

“Hey, wait up, I’m not that quick.” she huffs, her face red from pushing her slug body to its top speed, which still is just equivalent to a light jog.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I should have realized….” I mutter, rubbing my neck in embarrassment.

“Should have realized the slug girl was slow?” she questions.

“Have I offended you?”

“Haha, Nah, I can’t afford to get SALTY!” she exclaims, fighting back laughter at her own little pun, “But seriously, I can’t get salt on me; things get awkward when that happens.”

That last part sets me to wonder just what she could mean. Would salt kill her like an actual slug? No, that’s highly improbable, but what could be so bad about salt. It ultimately doesn’t matter.

“Here,” I finally say, offering her my arm, “help me keep pace, Ms. Hortensia.”

Her eyes go wide, “How did you? No, wait, the profile had your full name; why shouldn’t it have mine.” It takes a few more seconds, but she gratefully takes my arm, giving a gentle tug every now and then when I start getting too fast for her.

The next few hours see us touring the market, stopping at stalls and gathering supplies for the beautiful dinner we’d both planned for each other, the emails we’d exchanged making it clear we both wanted to show off our cooking skills.

We were stopping by a produce stall when I noticed her hyper-focusing on a head of lettuce, holding it in her hand, and subtly comparing it to other heads in the booth.

“You know your way around veggies, Mil?” I question.

“Yessir, lived most my life on the family farm, kinda hard not to get an eye for crops when it’s your one job.”

“Did you only grow vegetables on your farm?”

“Nope, Ma always liked her sunflowers; she said they were the most inspiring flower she knew, growing out of the dirt to stand so tall. ‘If you feel like dirt; just know someday you’ll be a sunflower, she’d always say.”

“Your mom sounds like a nice woman.”

My mind goes back to our time at the butcher’s stall, “You didn’t seem as interested at the last one.”

“I can eat meat, but I never really had a taste for it,” she shrugs, “Guess you could call me a vegetarian if you really wanted to, but I don’t really hold it against anyone for liking what they like.”

She casts her eyes down to the plain white package I’ve kept snug in my other arm, “And if you’d like me to, say, cook a nice juicy steak, then I wouldn’t be opposed to that either.”

The rest of our time in the market passed well enough; she enjoyed busying herself among the various stalls and booths, examining everything from homemade candles to crocheted scarves. She spent a long time chatting with a woman representing a local microbrewery. In the end, nothing came of it. It was around 5’o clock when she broached the topic of going home, her home, and preparing dinner. I had some reservations about what her slime could do to my car’s seats; luckily, she had bought a tarp just for this situation. (as for how she got here, city transit told her that slug slime is probably the most benign goo they have to clean off bus seats).

I’d often heard about the row houses built near the portal site for recently arrived monsters. Still, I never thought I’d actually be going inside of one. Yet here I am, escorting a slug girl to her apartment like it was just a normal thing to have happen.

And the English thought being beaten in war by thirteen colonies was “the world turned upside down.”

“Well, here it is, it’s not much, but it’s home.” She says, extending an arm through the threshold.

Walking in, I can tell that Mildred couldn’t have done most of the decorating. For one, everything is entirely byzantine regarding theming, beyond a general focus on playing cards. Lots of loud colors, reds, purples, and lime greens that seem utterly out of place in the decorating of a country girl.

“Do you, uh, have a roommate?”

“Yeah, Cassie, she does the decorating even though she has zero taste. But it’s a Trumpart thing, not much I can do.”

The playing card girls, that would explain the theming.

“Is Cassie going to be eating with us?”

“Nope, she’s out for the night; we’ve got the place to ourselves,” I feel that same lukewarm slickness on my arm as she pulls me toward the kitchen, “That being said, I’m starving; I’ll show you the kitchen, and you can show me how you rustle up a salad.”

The next hour consisted of us packed into the apartment’s rather cramped kitchen, weaving around each other as we helped prepare the night’s repast. I honestly never knew there were so many ways to prepare a salad. Yet, Mil offered me advice on fixing nearly a dozen before settling on a modest garden salad. For her, however, she took to pan-frying steak like a pro, marinating the meat with more than a novice’s level of skill. Of course, it didn’t escape my notice that she wore gloves to avoid getting excess slime on the food; this likely isn’t the first time she’s had to cook for someone else. It takes a while, but the beautiful smells of the kitchen eventually translate into a lovely meal.

We talked as we ate, about our childhoods, about our lives, our hopes, and our dreams.

“I always wanted to live out in the country; the city is too cold, there’s no life to it at all.” I sighed, perhaps a little swayed to sharing by the disarming atmosphere.

“Oh yeah, there’s no comparing it, the big buildings are impressive, but you don’t get that soul; you can’t wake up before dawn and her the cicadas, or the cows mooing,” Mildred herself was looking even more melancholic, undoubtedly helped along by the four or five bottles of Guinness stout arrayed around her plate. “One of these days, I’d love to have a little homestead of my own, few dozen acres to seed and watch things grow, start a family...”

“I guess that’s the only time I’d want more slugs in my garden.”

“Ha, I guess it does sound weird when you think about it; slugs are supposed to be pests, not helpful.” She slowly slides across the living room floor, ostensibly to collect the plates, but before she does, she comes face to face with me.

“Do you think I’m a pest, Anon?” she says with a pout.

I reach up to cup her cheek, “No, and if every slug was as cute as you, then I’m sure people would stop thinking of them as pests.”

She takes my plate without a word, but somehow, I feel she’s smiling.

“You don’t know how happy I am to hear someone say that.”

It’s not long before I feel Mildred’s presence in the small kitchen, though curiously, she does not join me. I join her in washing the dishes, again with her wearing rubber gloves, so her slime doesn’t render it an exercise in futility. She leaves to get more dish soap from the closet in the hall, and I’m left alone to rinse what flatware has been sufficiently soaped.

“Hey, this may just be the beer talking, but I need to ask you something, Anon.” she says, her words slightly slurred.

“Okay, shoot,” I answer, keeping my back to her as I busy myself soaping another dish.

“You know we monsters… our libidos are a bit higher than humans.”

“So I’ve heard.”

“What I’m trying to say is that I’m feeling in the mood if you know what I mean. Care to join me?”

I can’t help but sigh; I’d been told the newcomers were a bit more sexually forward than what most cultures were used to, but Milly didn’t seem like the kind of girl who’d be that horny, but it shouldn’t hurt to play along.

“Not that I don’t think you’re hot, but you have to understand that I wouldn’t even know the first thing about doing the deed with a giant slug, I don’t even know where your vagina is on your body.”

“Oh, that’s fine, we can cover that later; you just let me worry about the particulars.”

I chuckle at her cavalier response until I feel something uncomfortably phallic poke me in the back.

“What, uh, what is that?”

I can feel her getting uncomfortably close to my ear, so close that I can feel her breath move my hair.

“I’m a slug, silly; what do you think it is?”

My face pales, about a million thoughts run through my head, most of the prayers to whatever deity that will listen or plans on how to escape with my innocence intact.

“Look, Mildred, you’re a nice girl, but I’m not really into that.” I hurriedly explain, hoping to God that she backs off.

“Not into what? Zucchini?”

“Well, you have to understand, I thought. Wait, what?”

I turn to face her; she has the most innocent expression on her face and in her hand… a zucchini. I have to hold myself back from breathing a sigh of relief, which Mildred seems to have caught on to as she suddenly burst out laughing.

“HAHAHAHAHA! You should have seen your face! Oh, gods, I haven’t laughed that hard in a while; you really thought I had a penis!”

She steadies herself against the counter, her laughter causing her to nearly double over, “since day one, we’ve been clear that we mamono are an all-female race. Did you think we had a different definition of ‘female’ or something?”

I have a million comebacks, but none of them seem appropriate at this moment. Right now, the one thing I can do to preserve my pride is leave.

“Good night, Ms. Hortensia.”

“Oh, come on, Anon, don’t be like that; it was just a little joke.”

“I know, and it made me realize that I should leave, or else my boss will really fuck me in the ass tomorrow for sleeping in so late. Again, good night, Milly.”

I stride towards the door, intent on heading home. Maybe giving her a call tomorrow letting her know I have no hard feelings and would love to schedule another date.

“Wait a minute, I have something to give you!” She shouts from the kitchen, accompanied by the sound of cabinets and glassware being shuffled, “I bought some wine before our date; I wanted to give it to you before you leave.”

“Do you need any help?”

“No, no, I’m fine, it’s just, ugh, just on the top shelf is all.”

“If it’s on the top shelf, then let me he-“

A loud crash and the sound of breaking glass let me know that things are most certainly not okay. As resolved as I was to leave, I find myself rushing to the kitchen.

“Are you alright? Did anything fall on you?” I shout, quickly scanning the kitchen floor, not littered with shards of glass (none of which seem to have hit her, thankfully), wine, and various cardboard boxes. What stands out the most is the blue cardboard tube that lays on the ground closest to her. A cardboard tube with a simple illustration of a girl walking in the rain.

Salt, she had salt fall on her.

My panic reaches its peak as I rush to her side; she hasn’t screamed once, but the salt could have done its work quicker than I anticipated. I fully expect to find nothing but a desiccated corpse. Especially when all I see is a pile of clothes, no doubt concealing a withered husk, dried out like mummy or a raisin, a true horror show-

“Anon, is that you?” Mildred says, her voice shockingly… childlike?

Before I can answer, two eye stalks pop up through the crumpled sundress like periscopes from a submarine, regarding me for a moment before a familiar shock of chartreuse hair follows after it. Before I know it, I’m face to face with a child version of my date, trying her best to preserve her modesty from my eyes, her face a bright red, her breaths coming in heavy and ragged, and her eyes staring at me with a look of shame, reproachment, and blatant lust.

“Hey, you okay, Mil?”

Her heavy breathing does not diminish; if anything it gets faster as her piercing gaze zeros in on my own.

“Is this, uh, gonna wear off?”

She starts coming forward, swiping away pieces of broken glass as she does; I respond by scooting back as quickly as I can. That look in her eyes is nothing good; I’m sure to a man of… particular tastes, this would be a dream come true, but it is a nightmare for me.

“Well, it’s been a day; if you’re okay, then I best get home, work and all, but I think you’re a lovely woman, Mildred, and I guess I’ll give you a ca-“

The diminutive slug finally makes her move, pouncing on me with lewd intent. It takes most of the night leading her on a wild Benny Hill chase around her apartment, and by then, thankfully, the salt’s effects seem to have worn off. Still, as I lie here in a bed with rubber sheets, being held in the slimy embrace of a woman I only met yesterday, I can only think to myself how… good it feels. I’ll certainly be avoiding excess salt for the foreseeable future, but other than that, pure bliss. Before I drift off to sleep, my mind’s eye conjures a picture of a sprawling homestead. Of rows of beans, peas, cabbage, potatoes, and yes, even a patch of gently swaying sunflowers. As I nuzzle myself deeper in my lover’s near amniotic embrace, I finally feel that my little world, while staying essentially the same, has changed for the better.

{For all of you, this Valentine’s Day}

310 Hits