My lovely hubby is trying to help me get my mojo back. Just lately, my confidence has dissipated. I think confidence is dependent upon you mental state, isn’t it? So, yeah, mine has kind of gone right now. But, my husband has said he will give me a prompt every morning for me to write 500 words or so about. Just so that I’m writing prose, which is where I want to be.
So, I agreed, Sounds like a good idea. Then, he gave me my first prompt: write about a snail that is trying to stop someone from eating it. (Did I say my hubby is a little odd? No? I probably should have!).
This is my effort:
The Saga of Serge The Snail
“Oh, monsieur, monsieur. Arrêtez-vous, s’il vous plait!”
The fat man hovered his pudgy hand between the plate and his mouth. “Huh? What?”
“This is a little delicate, monsieur. I need you to put me down.”
“What? Put you down? Who said that?”
Sweat beaded across the man’s forehead. Flicking his dark eyes around the room, he shook his head and continued raising his hand.
“Non, non, monsieur. I ‘ave asked you nicely. You must forget this treacherous path you are on. It will not end well. Bof!”
Claude yelped as the realisation hit him: the snail was speaking. “Non, this is not possible. I must have drunk too many Cabernets. Or, maybe those truffles were poisonous. I told Chef they did not taste as they should. Garcon! Garcon!” He tried to click his fingers, but the garlic butter dripping from them made the sound fall flat.
“Oui, monsieur? ‘Ow can I ‘elp you?” The waiter blew a strand of russet hair from his face.
“Those truffles you fed me. Where did you get them?” His eyes narrowed, and the boy took a step back. “Find out! Now. Allez!”
Bowing as he backed away, the boy scurried through the kitchen doors.
“Oh, monsieur. You do not understand. Those truffles came from the finest source. They have not made you ill. I am speaking. And there is a reason. My name is Serge. You must not eat me. Must not. I implore you, monsieur.”
A rash of panic shot through the snail’s body when Claude lifted him to his face once more. This time, though, he brought him to his eyes. As he turned the gastropod and examined his under-carriage, Serge’s head became woolly and light.
The kitchen doors crashed open, and the chef strode over to Claude’s table. Red-faced and covered in a film of sweat, he nodded at his patron. “Monsieur, I can assure you those truffles have not upset anyone else. It must be something else.”
Looking from Serge to the chef, Claude took a deep breath. “Okay, bon. Then, why can I hear this snail talking?”
“My name’s Serge. I told you that.”
Claude and the chef snapped their heads in unison to the plate where Serge sat alone.
“Wait, you heard that, too?” Claude studied the chef’s face as it contorted in an attempt to understand.
“Of course he heard me. Why wouldn’t he? Look, I do not wish to cause distress. I simply need you to set me free. Please.”
Pulling out a free chair, the chef took a seat and poured himself a large Cabernet. “But, but, you are escargot. You do not speak.”
“And yet, here I am, speaking with you. I understand it is slightly irregular, but if you just set me free, we can forget all about this.”
The men gawped at each other. Claude tried to speak, but the words got lost behind the hysteria filling his thoughts.
“Okay. I take that as agreement. Bien. Your forager ventured to a part of the woods where permission is not granted. Protected animals and plants live there. Some of us—well—let’s just say, you do not wish to consume us. A price must be paid for those who do. A dark magic spell will be cast over all who sink their teeth into our flesh. A curse upon your home, monsieur. Un malediction!”
A heartbeat passed before either man spoke. Eventually, the chef lifted Serge and looked directly at him. “Hmm. Un malediction, you say? Bon. The only problem with this tall tale is I forage my own food and plants. So I know you are not a special snail of magical properties. You lie, and I shall eat you to prove it.”
Despite his brave words, Claude couldn’t help but notice the tremor in Chef’s hand as brought the snail right up to his teeth.
“Non! Arrêtez-Vous! I beg you. I implore you. Ne mangez-moi pas. I will tell the truth. Okay. The truth. My wife—‘er name is Celine—needs me to help with the babies. Ten babies, and they are so badly behaved. If you don’t keep your wits about you, they run riot. The stories they tell, especially the youngest. Oh, monsieur. My Celine will go crazy without me. Please, spare my life for her.”
The two men looked from Serge, to each other. “Well . . . ” Claude no longer wished to eat the escargot. How can you eat a creature with whom you’ve had a conversation?
“Well, nothing,” said the chef as he pushed the little snail into his mouthed and swallowed. As he licked his fingers, he proclaimed, “Mmm. Delicieux!”
“Garcon, l’addition, s’il vous plait. Bring me the bill!” Retrieving his wallet from his jacket pocket, Claude left a pile of bills on the table and, as he fled the restaurant, shouted over his shoulder, “Never mind. These should more than cover it.”
The moment the door closed, the chef and waiter descended on the money. “Oh, dear me,” the chef said through a barrage of laughs. “It worked again. I don’t know how you do that, Michel. You throw your voice so well. Today, a snail. Tomorrow, a shrimp. Oh, so clever.”
The smile vanished from Michel’s face. “But that wasn’t me. Monsieur Claude always tips well. I saw no point in conning him.”
“What?” The air grew cold. “Say, what?”
“Honestly, monsieur. I thought you had mastered the art.”
Clutching his stomach, he ran to the restroom. As he entered a stall, a tiny voice from deep within said, “I told you, monsieur. I am special!”