Once upon a time there was a fat orange slug called Trumpity. He was a very naughty slug who lived in Mr. Magoon’s vegetable garden among the shady bracken. The garden had one time been the envy of all the village but was now a pitiful sight indeed.
Trumpity passed his days clinging to the underside of a discarded political tract. It was titled “The Truth About ‘Black Flies Matter’” and contained the most horrible falsehoods. Trumpity declared he had never read the pamphlet, though he boasted that no slug had ever read so well as he.
Trumpity’s most treasured possession was a bright red tie. The tie was much too big for Trumpity, nor was he able to tie it round his blubbery neck, for Trumpity had the tiniest of hands, even for a slug.
Trumpity Slug was the loudest, most simple-minded of all the slugs in Mr. Magoon’s garden. Because of this, the other slugs easily fooled him into believing what they wanted him to believe. This satisfied Trumpity tremendously, for it meant he must do very little in the way of actual thinking.
During the cool, damp evenings, the slugs would persuade Trumpity that he should lead them into the garden rows to feast on tender lettuce sprouts, delicious Swiss chard and the sweetest pea shoots. Filling their bellies to bursting, the slugs left behind many gaping holes in the plants.
Mr. Magoon was not concerned about the holes, for he told himself the plants were now perfectly aerated as to allow the winds of prosperity to easily pass through his garden. He hoped too that the winds might blow away the many weeds, which were an inconvenience he was not willing to address.
When the other insects complained to Trumpity that all the best plants were being devoured, Trumpity informed them they were mistaken, and if the plants were indeed being eaten, it was being done by the Loony Leaf-Eaters.
Miss Wimbledy Earwig then asked Trumpity, “If you please, is it true you are colluding with the red salamanders to offer them the run of the garden?”
“That is fake newts,” said Trumpity.
Thus did Trumpity Slug pass his time. He gobbled the juiciest plants, fed on abundant decay and left a trail of slime wherever he trundled. Day by day he grew fatter and fatter, doing less and less with very little intelligence or enthusiasm. The other slugs, though, declared that never had a slug done so much as Trumpity, and Trumpity Slug was quite content.
One day Mr. Magoon and his faithful cat Piddlebottom looked at the garden and saw there were insects in it. “I must not have insects in my beautiful garden!” he cried, and he hired a man to come spray noxious gas on his vegetables once a week.
When they heard of this, the insects came scrambling to Trumpity with concern. “Do not worry,” said Trumpity. “It is going to disappear. One day like a miracle, it is going to disappear.”
Some time later, the insects returned to tell Trumpity that many of them were dying. Trumpity distracted the insects by informing them that the blackbirds were striving to tear down the scarecrow that had always protected the garden. It was built in the likeness of Mr. Magoon’s grandfather, who enjoyed shooting songbirds out of the trees for sport. Trumpity reminded the insects that there were very fine bird-killers on both sides.
“That is neither here nor there,” scolded Billyclick the Beetle. “We are all going to die, not merely the gnats and the aphids but the pollinators as well!”
“This is a pesticide,” nodded Trumpity. “I felt it was a pesticide long before it was called a pesticide. But we are going to keep the garden open, and it will be the greatest garden in the history of gardens!”
Still later, the insects returned once more. Tears streamed from Mrs. Spiderlily’s eight eyes into her thistle-down face mask. “There are now so many dead,” she weeped. “You are the most powerful slug in the garden. Is there nothing you can do?”
“If you stop looking for dead insects, there will be fewer dead insects. It is as simple as that,” said Trumpity, and he oozed away as quickly as he could, which was not very quickly at all, because there was a slight incline.
Soon, every insect in Mr. Magoon’s garden was dead, apart from the slugs who had retreated to the shelter of Trumpity’s tract. Free of competition, the slugs now gorged to their hearts’ delight on all the leafy greens in the garden.
Presently Sergei Salamander came knocking on Trumpity Slug’s door. He wore a spotted waistcoat and regarded Trumpity with an icy stare.
“Where are insects, Comrade Slug?” asked Sergei.
“We have done great things with the bugs, tremendous things,” said Trumpity. “Nobody has done more with the bugs than Trumpity Slug.”
“So they are no more to eat?” inquired Sergei. He drew himself up as tall as can be and gazed coldly at Trumpity Slug. “Do you know that salamander is natural predator of slug?”
Trumpity stammered, “G-G-GASTROPODAL HARASSME—!” But before he could finish, Sergei Salamander gobbled him up with a snap. Sergei then made a face, for he did not like the taste one bit.
“Such a nasty grub,” said Sergei Salamander, who wrapped Trumpity Slug’s bright red tie around his bright red throat. And it suited him admirably.