Friday, January 8, 2010

The Adventures of Mister Sinister : A Trip to the Rainforest

Did you know that apple snails are tropical? They enjoy warmth, such as a nice warm aquarium. I would image that they also enjoy entertainment. And did you know that the bottom muscled part that they crawl upon is called their foot? It is. And that they have a 'shell door' - a hard flat structure they can pull in to seal the shell to survive drought and protect against predators? They do. And your reading pleasure and as evidence of these facts, read on:

(For the first installment in the Mister Sinister adventures, The Adventures of Mister Sinister : Snack Time, read here.)

The fuchsia coral glowed softly in the tank, just as it did every night. The filter motor hummed and the water burbled. The guppies swam lazily back and forth and the ghost shrimp skittered along the bottom. Just like always. Another calm and peaceful night in the aquarium. Just. Like. Every. Other. Night. What's a snail to do?

Mister Sinister's tiny eye stalk peered around the coral at the familiar scene. It was time for something new. Seeing that the coast was clear, Mister Sinister glided quickly across the tank, past Frisky and Whiskers, past the ghost shrimp, Creepy, Crawly and Crud Muffin. He slid up the side of the tank like a melting glob of ice-cream in reverse, dripping up rather than down. The guppies ignored him.

He carefully pushed up the aquarium top and peered around the room. The coast was clear - not a soul in sight. With a faint squelch as he curled himself over the top, and a faint tap as the aquarium lid dropped back in place, he was on the move - down the side of the tank, down the table to the floor. As he reached the floor he paused. He looked left toward the pantry and the potato chips, then straight ahead down the hall, then to the right. He glided forward a few inches, stopped, then turned right, leaving a slight, glistening right angle on the linoleum. After a moment he reached the rug and slid along it and under the arm chair. He was out of sight for several minutes then appeared from underneath, curled up the side and continued up and over the arm, across the seat to the other arm - the arm that held the remote control. He slid up to the top, to the power button and with every muscle usually reserved for holding onto his shell, he depressed the button. The room was bathed in a soft glow and a news announcer's voice broke the silence.

Mister Sinister, as quickly as his foot would allow, slid down to the volume button and lowered it a few clicks. A quick slide and he began flipping through the channels. News, more news, a commercial. He stopped, eye stalks quivering. A child leapt into a sparkling blue swimming pool and water splashed everywhere. The image shifted and a woman baking cookies appeared. Mister Sinister flipped the channel. A music video, a sitcom, a woman crying, a passionate kiss, a tropical rainforest, an infomercial for an ab-roller. He flipped back. A tropical rainforest - dripping water, a river, frogs and the soothing voice of a narrator talking about life in the rainforest. Mister Sinister was motionless, enthralled. His tentacles quivered. His siphon stood straight up. His eyes pointed straight ahead. Every appendage pointed at the TV in rapt attention. The narrator droned on about frogs, fish and wildlife of the rainforest. Mister Sinister was motionless. "Up next," said the narrator, "Tropical predators." A scene flashed - a large snake snapped up a frog swallowing it whole as the creature struggled, feet flapping in the snake's throat.

Mister Sinister's tentacles lurched, his siphon snapped into his shell. He quickly slid up to the power button, depressed it, and then slid down the chair side and across the rug to the floor as fast as his foot would carry him. He slid off the rug onto the linoleum with a jolt, then up the side of the aquarium, over the edge and dropped into the water, sinking to the bottom like a rock. He pulled in his shell door, sealing off the outside world. A slight tremble caused a mirage-like shimmer of water around his shell. Creepy, Crawly and Crud Muffin skittered over, pawing at the quivering shell for a moment before moving on. The familiar always feels safer than the wild, uncertain, unknown. Will he venture out again? Stay tuned.



  1. So that's where this goo on my remote came from.

  2. you have a beautiful way with words. great story!