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by Oonah V Joslin

Sal and I have coffee once a week at hers. I like her. She’s eccentric - and young - unlike my other friends. A few weeks ago we were having coffee in the garden when she suddenly got up, in the middle of what I was saying, but I’ve learned not to take offense, and came back with a bottle of sherry and two tall glasses.

“It’s a bit early for me dear,” I said.

She looked blankly at me and then caught on. “Oh, it’s not for us. It’s for the wasps – a trap,” she explained and pouring a small amount of sherry into each glass, she placed them in corners of the garden well away from the house. “They go in for the sherry and get sticky and can’t climb out,” she told me. “It works for garden snails too.”


“No beer.”

Away she went and fetched a photograph - a wagon train of snails crossing the lawn towards a buried beer glass and disappearing over the edge to their doom. It’s one thing to set a trap but to photograph actual snailicide… I was quite shocked.

Only a fortnight later, I opened her fridge to get milk for the coffee. “Sal, what is that smell?” It smelt like sweaty socks and I was half expecting to find a pair of dead feet inside.

“It’ll be the gorgonzola,” she said.

“You’re not going to eat that are you?” I asked. “I know some people love powerful cheeses but how would you get that from under your nose, into your mouth?”

“No it’s for the mice,” she said. “I think we may have mice and I don’t want to kill them…”

I was thankful for that. At least I wouldn’t have to watch the snuff movie.

“…so I’ve bought humane traps and I’m going to put some cheese in each one,” she said, “and then I can drive somewhere and let them go.”

I thought it a bit extravagant. My mice had to make do with plain biscuit and a quick dispatch.

Anyway, yesterday she had a lunch date with a young man and was getting ready for it after we’d finished our coffee. She particularly wanted me to see her new shoes. They were baby pink patent leather with a cerise bow on the front and cerise four inch stiletto heels accentuated by a vertical gold strip.

“Very nice,” I said. I wondered whether they were a man trap or a death trap.