The compost bucket, which is made of metal, stayed out all night to air out. When I picked it up yesterday morning, a pale orange slug adhered it its side. I eased the slug with a fingernail onto the wet grass and carried the bucket inside. There I rinsed out it, both the bucket and the lid, which is not flat but has an inner ring designed to hold a filter. As I flushed water through the lid, a second, smaller orange slug slipped out and splashed into the disposal.
Dilemma. Reach in and save the slug amid the lemon rinds and eggshells? Kill it quickly? I turned away, haunted by my reluctance to rescue it as I knew I should. Once things fall into the disposal they seem lost in a dark wet underground misted over with decaying soap bubbles. What would it do there? Could it slip somehow through the teeth and wash into the river?
I was wrong to leave it there, but I did, neither killing it promptly nor padding around amid the blades for it. I left for work. I told no one. That evening, as we were preparing dinner, Ellen threw a squeezed-out lemon into the disposal and flipped the switch on. Murderess.