After every rain we’d take hammers out into the garden. We’d crack snail shells, get sticky film on the hammerheads. The best finds were under long leaf lettuce and at the base of the spinach and chard. Little circles of moving stones in the shade of the tomato plants, beneath the broad leaves of summer squash.
Once we tallied the results we’d fill our palms with table salt. We’d drop one grain at a time on brown slugs and see how many it took before they rolled over and showed us their grey bellies. The big ones fled. The small ones balled.
Sometimes, crows would gather. We’d grab our guns. If we downed a few, we’d tie up their legs with twine and hang them from the awning of the porch to scare the rest. Afternoons, we’d drink and watch them spin in the breeze. Within a few nights, they’d disappear, twine broken. We never found out what took them.
The Longest Part of the Night