Stalking the Wily Slug

An Open-Season Blood Sport

By Ron McFarland

This late June rain has really brought out the slugs in our Idaho Panhandle yard. Armed with my deadly saltshaker, I nailed 115 last night. Noticing a couple on the sidewalk this morning, I made another round and salted down an additional fifty-two. Great hunting! The thrill of the chase, bloody good sport. If Hemingway were still among us, I should be proud to take him on safari in our damp and shady yard. I ran through the whole saltshaker last night. Note to self: must invest in an extended-capacity magazine.

For our tenth anniversary, I think it was, Georgia bought me a state-of-the-art saltshaker, clear glass so that one could tell whether it was sufficiently loaded, and equipped with a little handle. Unfortunately, after several years of good service, this fine piece broke, and I was compelled to replace it. At a Good Will outlet, I bought a pair of shakers (providing a useful backup piece), in the form of Mark Twain souvenirs from Hannibal, Missouri. These fine arms (Made in USA) have lower capacity than my previous saltshaker, and I cannot tell when they are about to run out of ammo, but they have the advantage of high muzzle velocity, as the salt pours from a single hole.

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Ron McFarland

About Ron McFarland

Ron McFarland is professor emeritus at the University of Idaho, where he started teaching literature and creative writing in 1970. Pecan Grove Press published his fourth full-length book of poems, Subtle Thieves, in 2012. His critical books include Appropriating Hemingway (2015) and Edward J. Steptoe and the Indian Wars (2016).