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Fiction  •  26 July 2021  •  Fiction

I've Been Feeling A Little Sluggish Lately

By Tania Sutino
I've Been Feeling A Little Sluggish Lately

I found a bowl full of slugs when I went outside last night. They were eating the food that we set aside for our cats earlier that day, gleaming almost translucent in the darkness. Shiny. Globular. Porous. They put their mouths to the dry masses, their bodies sticking to the plastic, their shapes like bloated fingers, all the while oozing slime and waving their eyes around on flimsy stalks.

These days, I sleep a lot. Then, I wake at night to head to the back of the house and stare out the window. Sometimes there are bats in the guava tree, rustling the leaves and chittering.

When I step outside, I startle them. They shake off the branches and the pulp they were chewing falls wetly to the ground. Tiny round seeds scatter in the hard dirt. The fruit smells sweet. I often think about what it might feel like under my fingers, how the flesh might squash beneath my nails. 

How has uni been? Ask my relatives. Are you adjusting well? How are your classes?

The concrete at UTS heats up really nicely around midday, I tell them. The stairwells smell cold. I sleep on the train. Don’t worry; I’ve never missed my stop before. 

I always wake up just in time.

And that’s the sum of my knowledge: my eyes catch on the corners of buildings and my hands catch on the railings, then my head forgets all their shapes. 

I could tell you more about the things I’ve picked up. 

On a Sunday walk, I dug my thumb into the stem of a stray vine and pulled its fruit away. And when I tore it gently apart, its sap sank into my skin. On a Tuesday night, I found a lanyard on the streetside and now it’s where I put my ID cards. This man I met in an empty parking lot one sunny afternoon with the clouds overhead, well, he told me that over near the racecourse, there were shaded benches where it would be pleasant to sit, more so than the dusty ground.

I could tell you about the rot laying in the creek bed near my house, the way it smells when it’s dry; the index cards on the floor beside my bed, their empty spaces stacking up; the broken statue on my shelf; 

my basket of unfinished crochet pieces; the glue-clogged paintbrush sitting in a mug right next door.

Once, barefoot in the rain, I stepped on a slug. It came apart like wet dough under my heel, smearing into grey pulp on the concrete. Its innards mixed with the water. 

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