Evidence that snails and Steinbeck were meant to be together

I stepped on a snail on Monday evening. It must have been a Big Daddy snail because it went 'CRACK' and then 'CRUNCH' under my shoe as though I'd stepped on a pound of nut brittle. I think I even heard it cry, 'Not yet! I haven't been on my Caribbean cruise! Or abseiled down the Shard! Spare me!'

I hate stepping on snails. But this was even more significant, because I had just been to see Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' - a National Theatre production which had been filmed and was showing in my local cinema.

Have you read the novel? I won't completely spoil it for you if you haven't, but let's just say that two people in the novel get bones broken. And this particular production doesn't hold back on the cracking sounds. Think SNAP but not the card game. More, tree trunks being broken in a hurricane.

It was these cracking sounds I was remembering as I walked down the dark alleyway JUST at the moment when the snail and I met, neither of us realising a murder was about to be committed, and the snail went CRACK.

Boy, did I jump!

Unfortunately for the snail, I didn't jump quickly enough, otherwise he might have lived to cruise slash abseil another day.

I kicked my shoes off as soon as I got in the house. There's nothing more disturbing than bits of fresh corpse in a carpet.

I often walk home in the dark alone after a night out. (Should I say this here? Any axe murderers reading this, look away, please, or click on another post about grammar or things that happen to me at bus stops.)

Your imagination goes wild, though, doesn't it, especially after watching a film whose varied and multiple key themes are death, death and death? Not only did I leap on a snail and think someone was behind me having their bones broken, but I also flinched when a group of big guys approached me on an ill-lit road as I neared home, grieving over the snail. The guys weren't hooded, but they were shouting and laughing, pushing each other in play-fight mode. Uh oh, I thought.

Then I caught a snatch of their conversation as they passed me. I thought they'd be saying, 'Are you gonna bash 'er first, or shall I?' .... 'Have you got your baseball bat?'

But, no.

'Nah, I hate Lurpak,' said one. 'I always have that olive oil spread.'

'Are you f******g joking?' said his mate. 'Lurpak every time!'

In fact, in terms of violence, if it were a comparison between me and the big shouty guys, I think my random act of snailocide would make me the guiltier party.

This provides me with an excellent link back to 'Of Mice and Men' in which Lennie, a big guy, can't help killing small animals by accident, because he doesn't know his own strength.

And I couldn't have found a more serendipitous link to finish my ramble of a blog post with if I'd thought of one myself at the start and planned the bloody thing as I should have done.

Cheers, Lennie. RIP all your mice and puppies. And RIP Mr Big Daddy Snail.  I hold you in my heart. And, bits of you, in the sole of my shoe.

Fran was sceptical that googling 'snail in heaven' would yield results. O she of little faith. 


  1. Yes, I have read the book, and it's too sad for me (although I think Tess of the D'Urbervilles is the saddest book ever). I have never watched any of the movie adaptations of Of Mice and Men because I have enough Sorrow. I have seen two adaptation of Tess. I'm always left wanting to beat Angel Clare into a bloody pulp. If he didn't abandon Tess . . . asshole asshat asswipe. Please pardon my language, but I often enter the house with dog poop on my shoe. Your concerns about the young men amuses me because if you came upon my very large and too tattooed son and one or two of his very large and too tattooed friends, you'd think, Steady on, old girl. Heaven will be mine in a few minutes.

    In reality, though, they'd probably be talking about their liberal political views (my son is an Obama lover, as am I), or the most recent documentary they saw about how badly a particular group of people is treated (and wiping the tears from their eyes), or discussing the books they read last week by Hemingway and Styron and Wharton (I swear my son reads Hemingway because he knows I can't stand that man's writing). Then the next day you would need a car repair and go to the garage. The mechanic who comes out to talk to you would be one of them. You'd wonder when mechanics became so intelligent and started going to college. It's okay. Everyone who comes to the garage looks surprised when they find out what large vocabularies and high SAT scores the mechanics have. They fix cars because they want to do so, and I always told my children to follow their passions. You'd never feel safer than you would with my son and his friends. They'd be polite to you, carry your packages, never overcharge you, and frighten away the true bad guys.


    1. Could your son and his friends come and live here, please? I have a spare room. They sound lovely.

    2. I'm sorry, but I can't give them up. I don't want to be here without them. I love Franklin and Penelope, but I need my son and his friends, too. You'd also have to be prepared for the way people stare at you when you're in public with them. It doesn't bother me because I'm a show off, but some people suffer from embarrassment for some reason. I don't understand.

  2. Be careful, Fran. Remember what happened to Lennie.

  3. I think I would have removed my shoes before I got inside the house, just in case. I haven't stepped on any snails in a while, mostly here they stay in the garden, where I find them munching on things they shouldn't, so I throw them on the road. If they can't get off there fast enough, that's not my problem :(
    I checked my kindle list and Of mice and Men is on there, so I'll get to it eventually.

    1. Ha ha! You're not a member of the Compassion for Snails campaign group, then!

  4. I hope the picture of snail in heaven brought some comfort. I agree with Janie about poor Tess.. Bloody Angel Clare, double standards or what !

    1. I was reassured to find that in heaven there would be snails on all the clouds. This appeals to me.

  5. You trod on Brian? How can you live with yourself ?

    1. At least I brought some of him home with me ... I did my best to make up for it!

  6. Tess is bad enough but Jude the Obscure...! argh. Snails, well - I wouldn't deliberately stand on one (ugh) but I'm not too sorry that there's one less snail in the world. Most of Britain's snails live in my back garden, where they instantly consume any lupins, dahlias or delphiniums that raise their heads above the soil.

    1. I love those tragic Hardy novels. I must re-read Jude at some point. Perhaps not at Christmas, though. I might wait for the dark days of Jan and Feb when I'm feeling maudlin anyway and can do the job properly.


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