Written by Dugi Sol
Dark fog stretches from floor to sky. Fresh dew still latches onto crisp blades of grass. Silhouettes are approaching from opposing sides of a grassy field. A steady rumble of war drums begins. The fog dissipates just enough to reveal a fearsome snail with a matte green shell. He is General Gran, behind him stands a horde of snails with green shells. Across from them approaches an equally intimidating snail, his shell is a glossy blue with a deep scar across ets surface. He is Benny The Boss, followed by a mob of blue shells. They exchange cold and serious stares. Both groups halt within a stone’s toss distance.
Gran shouts out, “Show these no good blue shells no mercy! Secure the fence post by any means necessary!”
Benny shouts back, “Crush these green shells like the worms they are! Defend the fence post! Et is ours!”
A worm overhears this statement and yells, “Hey! Leave us out of your petty drama!”
The snail armies charge towards each other. Well, they crawl towards each other at a painful pace. If they had teeth they would be gritting them. If they had arms they would be flailing them in rage. Instead they just make odd sounds which I imagine to be their greatest attempt at war cries.
In a garden bed to the right there are two young snails observing the commotion. Their shells are natural earth tones unlike the adult’s. They were born after “The Great Painting”, as the adults call et. The youngest of the two is named Clarissa.
Clarissa turns to the older and says, “Hey Franky, what are they fighting about?”
Franky shouts to the snails on the battlefield, “What are you idiots fighting about!?”
Benny The Boss yells back, “Shut yer yap you little squirt! This is war, you wouldn’t understand!”
Franky says to Clarissa, “I don’t think they even know themselves.”
The two waves of snails are nearly at impact. Anger scorches the ground in trails behind them. The explosive moment of combat approaches. The fuse of battle is growing short. The raging mobs meet at the center of the field. Their squishy bodies collide.
Benny, who’s face is straining from anger, yells, “Take no survivors!”
Gran, who’s body is trembling with rage, replies, “Full force attack!”
The fight becomes a stalemate as soon as their weak bodies make contact. They huff and puff but no damage is done. Shoving and yelling ensues but there is no substance to their efforts. At worst, they are just nudging against each other, wasting their energy. They push and scream for hours, but no snail budges or even gets a minor bruise.
Benny yells, “Don’t quit now! We’ve nearly won!”
Gran shouts, “Just a few more moments till victory! They're shaking with fear!”
Two human children are watching from up above. They are brother and sister named Phil and Susan.
Phil says, “Hey look at those snails we painted, what the heck are they doing?”
Susan replies, “I don’t know, dancing?”
Still down below the war is in full throttle but eventually the snails become drained and are forced to retire.
Benny says out of breath, “This isn’t over. We will finish this tomorrow!”
Gran replies, “You can bet your life on et!”
Meanwhile the young snails are laughing in the garden bed. Clarissa was born into the clan of blue shells and Franky the green shells. Obviously, they were not born with painted shells but somehow the adults can’t quite wrap their heads around that fact. The adults fight every day but the young snails don’t pay much mind to their quarrels. As soon as they met they became instant buddies. The adult’s “wars” serve as something to laugh at so they watch every so often from the garden and make jokes.
Gran shouts to Franky, “Get away from that blue shell! We are going to rest to prepare for tomorrow’s battle!”
Franky begins to say, “Her shell isn’t even-“, but decides to save himself the trouble.
The young snails depart as they do every day. They know they can just meet up again tomorrow while the adults are “battling”.
While all the snails are sleeping, there is a mighty storm brewing high up above. Thunder cracks and rain pours down. The water washes away the paint from their shells, leaving only the intricate tan swirls that they were born with.
The snail “warriors” awake the following day. Without skipping a beat, both factions rush to the battlefield to continue their dispute. By this time of day, the heavy gray fog is still limiting their vision. Once they reach the grassy plane they realize something is amiss, they do not see their enemies anywhere.
Gran shouts, “Benny you think your disguises could’ve fooled me?! What a coward!”
Benny yells back, “You’re the one with the disguises, not us! You must be afraid!”
Franky the young snail says from the garden bed, “The rain from last night washed the paint away. By the way, there is more than enough room for all of you on the fence post.”
The snails in the grass mumble and grumble, hoping what the child says is not true. They look for their enemies but do not see them. They crawl through the fog desperately seeking a rival but the opposing colors they seek are nowhere to be found. The wandering mixes up their battle formations. They forget which sides they started on. Some don’t even remember what color their shells were painted to begin with. The search ends when the sun melts away the fog, revealing their unpainted shells in clear light. The snails now just stand amongst each other in silence, unsure what to do next.
Benny says, “Gran… remember the times before The Great Painting? We used to be brothers, we still are in fact! I remember back when we were just pups! Remember that old red brick wall we used to live on?”
Gran says, “Oh yea… Those were good times, back when Mama and Papa were still around. Imagine what they’d think of us now, doing all this senseless fighting! Truce?”
Benny says, “Yes brother. Truce.”
The snails all inch towards the fence post and reintroduce themselves. They share good laughs and discuss how beautiful the fence post is in the sunlight. Once at the fence they all find a comfortable spot to rest and just sit there as snails often do.
Phil and Susan step outside their home and see the snails collected on the fence.
Phil says, “Aww, the paint washed off. They look awesome all bunched up like that on the fence though. Let’s paint them all together on a canvas!”
Susan says, “That’s a great idea! Maybe they don’t like the paint on their shell anyway. If only we could ask them!”
The children go inside to get their Aura Art Supply™ painting utensils. They set up their easel and begin creating a brilliant painting of all the snails in unity. Glowing with excitement, the snails are absolutely honored to be the inspiration for the children’s art.
Gran says, “Look Benny! Those children noticed how awesome we are!”
Benny replies, “Well good for them! They must be very bright. Hopefully they show us that painting once they're done!”
Franky and Clarissa are still watching everything unfold from the garden bed.
Franky says, “Want to race to the fence post!?”
Clarissa replies, “Yea! I’ll be waiting for you there slow poke.”