“Soliloquy of a Mad Rousseau” by Jay Coral

It felt better kicking a snail on its rump. I did not want to step over it so I kicked and watched it bounce and roll under the begonias. This was my first vengeful act after they fired me on my job.

“I thought I poisoned the whole colony”, a sunburned gardener said as he stomped his muddy boots on a fragile shell. As soon as he turned, I rammed my foot on his butt and he fell face down on the chrysanthemums. I ran like hell and looked back a distance away to make sure he was not chasing me with a shovel.

It’s snail season. I picked one out of fetishness and felt sacrilegious plucking a helpless gastropod on the sidewalk. It was like interrupting a coitus of rubber belly and cold cement. Their squirmy legs moved in lubricated exertions – those juices of ooze kissed the ground in primordial respect.

I remembered eating them with butter in the only French restaurant I’d ever been to and was struck by its semblance to Linda Lovelace’s clitoris in Deep Throat. Dirty thoughts like these made me hate myself. I wished my anger would simmer down. I decided to lay the poor creature down in the tulip beds and waited to see its tiny tracks on the dirt. This was a timid snail.

I contemplated that no one in his caring mind would disturb a snail’s lesson of humility so I let it be. Someone might poke a dog going at it with another dog but that someone would leave a shy and hardworking snail at peace.

Feeling calmer with every step, I walked absently among the flowers leading to the park. I carried these lofty thoughts till I rested on a bench. Under a tree, I wondered if snails dreamt of climbing the double hump of a Bactrian camel, and at its summit, if it dreams of an even bigger dream like sunbathing on the belly of an expecting mother. Do they give themselves enough credit for being ambitious all the time?

My shoes felt like caked earth on the ground. I was already beginning to think about the endless meals of beef ramen during my unemployment. There was a cloudless sky overhead. I began to feel thirsty and nappy, maybe because I was rarefied by too much crap in my head. Before my eyelids dropped, I stared blankly on a white rose, happy as a drunken butterfly.

Profile: Jay Coral

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