Maurice was a snail. It was no kind of life for a gentleman.

Properly, Maurice was both a gentleman and a lady, an attribute of most land-based gastropods, thus doubly irritating. It offended both his manhood and his feminine sensibilities. From his early years he felt that this was so, that there was a great cock up somewhere in the divestiture of his body. The how or why of it escaped him, but he felt quite sure that some nefarious being had absconded with his true anatomy – prior to his ability to form an opinion on the matter. It was an intuition, lacking sense or proof; a demanding complaint that was simply there, in him, couched inside his rubbery breast.

When it came time to mate, Maurice repaired to the garden wall as a conscientious objector. It was while lounging on the moist bricks after the morning’s rain that he was snatched by a crow and dashed to pieces. His slimy entrails were devoured, parasites and all, and then the crow, matter-of-factly, took to the humid skies. Truly Maurice was too good for this savage Earth, and just right for breakfast.

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