by Brandon Eckerd
Sometimes you don’t know what to write about. Sometimes you have to think of something on the fly. Sometimes you have to just break the mold and try something new.
Sometimes you have to to write about a snail.
Linus was small, cream-colored snail. He lived in a carved-out mushroom in Gastropolis, the largest city in the Kingdom Inside the Stump. Linus spent most of his days writing romance poem inside his mushroom. There are very few snail writers in Gastropolis. This is mostly due to the fact they lack hands, which makes writing a momentous task. Linus was not a snail to be swayed from his passion. With his pen stuck to an eyestalk, his methodical strokes of slime and ink created a story of imperiled lovers and dashing escapes.
Several years after he started his literary masterpiece (or so he claims,) Linus finished his seven-page love poem. As he proofread his work, he felt his eyes grow teary. His ballad had finally come to fruition. Ever since he was a snailing, shell still soft and pliable with youth, he had dreamed of this day. His creative pursuits were ready to be shared with the kingdom. Ants and springtails from the towering city of Rotwood to the small hamlet of Pebble Lane would know his name! Oozing with excitement, and slime, Linus packed his poem into his satchel and set off to the greatest publicist in Gastropolis: Midge and Gnat.
Linus crawled out of his mushroom, standing at the stop closest to his house. A large millipede came crawling up to the stop and Linus slowly climbed up on the diplopod’s back. He sat next to a an isopod. The tiny crustacean gave him a sideways glance before going back to reading his newspaper. Linus looked away as the millipede shuttled its way through the fungal city. He had considered journalism, but found it generally unsatisfactory. Linus pursued more creative endeavors than reporting and blogs.
The millipede stopped in front of a towering toadstool. Linus craned his head, looking at the large, bulbous top of the fungus that contained the offices of Midge and Gnat. He got off the millipede and slithered to the toadstool.
As he entered the fungus, he was amazed by the bustling atmosphere. Ants argued in one corner of the room; in another, two fleas were exchanging business cards. A pseudoscorpion was writing furiously on its notepad as a cricket gave it instructions before going back into its office. Linus gazed despondently at the stairs: a formidable challenge for an animal with no legs. A spider approached him, offering him a lift to the top floor. Graciously accepting, Linus let the spider grab him with her legs and pull him upward on a silk thread. She placed him outside the office of the publicists and bid him good luck.
Linus knocked on the door with an eyeball. He felt himself slime in nervousness. After a few tense seconds, he was invited inside. Linus was surprised to see neither a midge or a gnat, but a mosquito behind the desk. She gestured him inside while sipping her red drink from a flask. Linus approached and introduced himself. He slowly pulled his poem out of his satchel and subtly, but not subtle enough for her not to notice, begged her to read his work. Raising an antenna, she reached across her desk and grabbed the papers. She read it once. She read it twice. Linus was practically a puddle of slime as he waited her response. Finally, she put the papers down on the desk and stared at him straight in the eye.
“Snails can’t write,” was all she said. She pushed his papers back towards him.
Linus couldn’t believe it. He had spent years on this! Years! Granted, he was not the fastest writer in the stump, but his work was good. Controlling his outburst, he thanked her for her time and stuffed his papers back into his satchel. He stormed out of the office, albeit slowly, and closed the door behind him. He felt tears well up in his eyes, but quickly shook them away. The spider approached him, her chelicerae quivering and eye bright.
“You know, there is another publicist in Rotwood,” she told him. Linus looked straight into her eight eyes and blinked. When his eyes opened, they were aflame with newfound determination.