While living and working in Edinburgh in 2008 I set out to write one million words in 366 days... but only managed 800,737.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Six Sick Snails (children's fiction)

A go at a picture book without actually drawing the pictures...

Six Sick Snails

Once there were six snails that lived together in an old, forgotten gumboot at the end of the McAllister’s property. Their names were Ricky, Nicky, Micky, Vicky, Dicky and George.

*picture of six snails standing outside a child’s red gumboot, one wearing a scarf, one with lipstick, one with a thin teenage moustache, one with a pearl necklace, one with bug eyes, and one wearing a black-rimmed monocle on each eye (due to the fact snail eyes come at the end of their antennae so glasses would be impractical)*

The six snails were all friends from school. After graduation they decided that it would be a laugh to all live together.

And it was a laugh, until George came home one day from the McAllister’s cabbage patch with a bit of a sniffle.

*picture of snail wearing monocles leaving cabbage patch and wiping nose-area with the middle part of an antenna*

“I think I’m coming down with a cold,” George said, then sneezed. He tried to cover his mouth with his antennae, snails not having any hands of course, but could not stop showering Ricky, Nicky, Micky, Vicky and Dicky with sneeze.

*picture of George sneezing on the other snails*

“Gross,” said Ricky.

“Thanks George,” said Nicky, “now we’re all going to get sick.”

And Nicky was right. The next morning, the gumboot was shaking to the sound of snail sneezes.

*picture of gumboot with motion lines and ‘achoo’ speech bubbles*

“I can’t face going outside,” said Micky, and pulled his head and tail inside his shell.

“I feel like I’m slimy on the inside rather than the outside,” said Vicky.

When George went to the bathroom to take another cold and flu tablet, someone had written, “Blame George,” on the mirror in snail slime.

*picture of George looking into bathroom mirror, his own reflection covered by the words Blame George*

George felt terrible for getting everyone else sick, but he was sick too. He didn’t have the energy to make them all chicken soup and ensure they had enough blankets.

“I’m sorry,” George told Dicky, who was a silent snail. It’s a well known snail fact that one in every six snails doesn’t talk. Dicky just gave George a mean face.

*picture of Dicky pulling a mean face to George, the floor covered in used tissues*

It is a lesser known snail fact that the common cold can be deadly for snails. Indeed, none of the six sick snails quite knew what kind of trouble they were in until George looked up “the common cold” on the snail internet.

*picture of George surfing the web, perhaps using the mouse with an antenna*

George immediately called all of the other snails into the toe of the gumboot for an important meeting.

“You mean we could all die?” Nicky asked when George explained what he had read on the internet.

*picture of the important meeting, with George standing in front of a white board and the other snails looking surprised, confused, disbelieving, angry and just-about-to-sneeze-y*

The six sick snails appeared to be in grave danger, and they all reacted differently to the news.

George went back onto the computer to see if he could find a cure.

Ricky took a double dose of cold and flu tablets.

Nicky rang her mother to ask for help and say, “I love you mum.”

Micky put on his headphones and listened to heavy metal.

Vicky put on all her jewellery so she would look good at her funeral.

And Dicky started drawing something on the whiteboard.

*montage: page divided into six squares, each containing a picture of the above*

But then a loud trumpeting sound came from the toe of the gumboot. Everyone stopped what they were doing. Well, everyone except Micky, who hadn’t heard the trumpeting sound over his heavy metal, but Vicky tapped him on the shoulder, and they all slithered back to the toe of the gumboot.

*picture of five snails re-entering the toe of the gumboot, Dicky, with the end of a cornetto cone/snail trumpet by his side, standing by the blank white board looking like Harrison Ford in one of those movies based on Tom Clancy novels*

“What is it Dicky?” Vicky asked.

Dicky turned the whiteboard around to reveal his plan.

*picture of Dicky turning whiteboard around, with plan almost decipherable, but not*

*white page, with the words ONE WEEK LATER in the middle*

*sombre, funereal picture of the red child’s gumboot with six empty snail shells stacked outside*

*picture of a tissue box with a door cut into it and large sign across the top reading, “The Cabbage and Cauli” and a smaller sign by the door saying, “Slugs Only”*

*picture of six slugs sitting at the bar, one with a scarf and another with a necklace, but aside from that, they are identical from the back, with a speech bubble containing the words, “I propose a toast”*

Ricky, Nicky, Micky, Vicky and George all raised their glasses and toasted Dicky and his ingenious plan to take off their shells and become slugs. After all, it is a well known slug fact that slugs can’t die from the common cold!

*picture of the six slugs from the front, one wearing a scarf, one wearing lipstick, one with a thin teenage moustache, one with a pearl necklace, one wearing black-rimmed monocles and one with bug eyes and a huge cheesy smile, and a speech bubble from five of the slugs saying, “TO DICKY!”, and, if you look closely you’ll notice that George is paying for the round*


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