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(This happened sometime in 2002, while I was still in Cambridge. I wrote this for AFP, but decided to cross-post it here)

It was a dark and stormy spring day in the calm and peaceful city of Cambridge.

There was a knock at the door.

A word about my method of dress. Generally, I don’t wear socks or shoes while I’m at home. Ever. It just doesn’t occur to me to put them on unless I’m going somewhere, a fact of minor irritation to various house-mates/parents/girlfriends over the years as bare feet are better at tracking things around the house than socks are. One year, for example, my mum put a small shovel-load of smiley-faces glittery things in my birthday card, which obediently fluttered prettily to the floor. Despite hoovering many times thereafter, there was still a small drift of them under my desk when we moved out some four months later. Bare feet make things drift.

Anyway, I digress.

Actually, I digressed away from the initial digression, so I should finish that digression – which was relevant – before I go back to the main thrust of the story. Bare feet then.

There is very few things less pleasant, I have discovered, than stepping on a snail whilst not wearing either shoes nor socks. There is a deeply unpleasant “crunch”, followed by an even less unpleasant squishy sensation, which makes you take a step backwards, leading to another deeply unpleasant crunch. I was in the back garden, either putting up or taking down washing, in our snail-infested garden, on an afternoon after heavy rainfall, when there was a knock at the door.

I carefully “crunch squish ick”-ed my way to the front door (Wiping my feet with relief) and attempted to open it.

I failed.

Snails, you see, can move like lightning when the little buggers feel like it, and several of them (I discovered a minute or two later, after a show of manly force) had managed to crawl inside the door frame in the time it had taken whoever left most recently to open and close it.

I don’t actually know if anyone has ever used snails as a raw ingredient for making glue. I can say, without a doubt, that it would have been incredibly effective, as the three or four snails that had completed their suicide mission to seal the primary means of escape from our house had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Then, with the above thought process, it hit me. It was a kamikaze mission! They had sealed the door deliberately, and the ones crawling slowly up the back garden path were merely a scouting patrol for the huge army of snails that were coming for revenge for their squished brethren!

I got the front door open. The two Asian ladies beyond explained they were looking for people who would like to read the Watchtower. I, in turn, explained that the snails were invading and I had to go and stop them. I closed the door.

The Witnesses have never bothered me since.

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