'Crunch' by James Withey
A snail, shit, I have trodden on a snail. Its body is crushed, night time has hit it with a thundering hammer. I have made it homeless, maybe killed it, I have left it to snail soup kitchens and stigma. My shoe stops and hovers slightly, maybe if I can hold it above the shell and put no further pressure on it I may save it. Maybe I can give the snail a chance to breath, to move, to collect its thoughts and move away with dignity. I can send it off with a stroke of healing to a hospital bed, visit it with flowers and a new shell, calm its thoughts and offer advice. I can pay for rehabilitation and psychotherapy, I can talk about post traumatic shell disorder and how emotional pain needs to be released to be properly cathartic. I can recommend new social circles who accept the snail for its limitations and injury, that provide non-judgemental support and empathy. I can help it find meaningful activity and voluntary work until it is well enough to look for employment, I can accompany it the benefits advisor and advocate on its behalf.
I shall take my responsibilities to this snail seriously, I will not shirk from my role in its pain, I shall not leave it to the delinquent sea gulls who prowl the back lane in bored indifferent gangs. They will not take advantage of its vulnerability and swallow the snails entrails with rapid ennui. I shall accompany this snail on its journey of enlightenment, say that from great pain comes great happiness, that it can be even happier than it was before, that with some effort and being kind to its self it can live a life of great purpose, inspire others, give motivational talks and write a best-selling book and a blog followed by thousands. It will sends tweets out to the universe about how it overcame its life crisis and followers will re-tweet in their hundreds about the life enhancing teachings and say things like 'It puts my troubles into perspective.' and 'Read this, it will make you a better person.'
I move my shoe to the side of casualty and pause, breathing hard and preparing myself to look down. I see movement in my peripheral vision as I start to look down and a bird flies quietly away.