And here began the historic
partnership of Lewis, Clark, and Apathios, and the birth of the “Corps of
Discovery.” On October 14, 1803, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark met in Louisville,
Kentucky. Unfortunately, Apathios is often forgotten, because he arrived two
days later due to strikes of the Union of Public Toilet Cleaners in Marseille,
France – but that’s another story and too long to be explained here.
But Apathios will be one, if not the, most important part of the story which
followed. Because two days after his arrival Apathios started to explore the
forests and meadows of the region surrounding the Ohio Falls. As he was
specialized in the subject of snails and slugs he intensively checked the
fields of todays’ Louisville.
At one big meadow,
east of the Ohio river, his search was successful. Beautiful snail shells in
hundreds of colors and patterns. Blue, green, red, purple, yellow, pink, in
spirals, stripes, or mosaic, and checkered patterns. For the Greek biologist it
was a pure delight. Accompanied by his two Turkish servants he started to add
specimens to his already extensive collection.
Then, the crickets
were chirping in the mild and warm autumn breeze of Kentucky – then Virginia –
a scared cry from the fatter of his two servants teared the peaceful silence on
the meadow into pieces. “What happened?”, Apathios asked himself. And “What
happened?”, the not so fat servant asked himself. Both thought, that it would be
best to walk over to the fatter servant to find out.
But already on the way to the fatter servant both of them were attacked too.
They felt wet slashes on their faces and on their bare forearms and on all
naked parts of their bodies. So, on their faces and their bare forearms, as
everything else was covered in clothes.
Apathios and the not so fat servant were scared when they realized, what
attacked them: Slugs! Big, dark brownish slugs of about four inches long. And
the fascinating fact, Speedos Apathios could see immediately: They could jump!
They could jump distances, which even a frog would have made envious. Later
experiments showed, that 15 feet on level ground were no problem at all for the
slimy worms. But back to the no longer so peaceful meadow at the river Ohio.
After first exams of
the ugly creatures, which fortunately didn’t bite due to a lack of teeth,
Apathios decided to report to William Clark and Meriwether Lewis immediately.
They talked more than two hours about the matter. “They can’t harm us really,”
Speedos told William and Meriwether, “but imagine how these sudden ‘attacks’
distract all of the horses, mules, and Indians carrying all our stuff!”
But what to do? Burn them? No chance in the wet meadows to get them all and
holding a match to each of them would have taken quite some hours if not years.
Catch them with tooth picks? Failed due to the lack of tooth picks, caused too
by the strikes of the Union of Public Toilet Cleaners in Marseille, France –
but that’s another story again and too long to be explained here. Lure them
away? Ok, but with what.
Experienced slave owner
William Clark finally had the idea, which should revolutionize the world:
“Let’s take some clubs and kill these beasts, before they disturb our
successful expedition.” “But we can’t be so cruel,” Meriwether and Speedos
remarked, “they are animals with feelings and we can’t hurt them. Especially as
they are just disgusting and not harmful to us.” Hmmm. They thought about this
idea for two Minutes and twenty Seconds. Then they decided unanimously to do
They and all the members of the expedition went with their clubs to the slugs
and started smashing them. What needed some practice, because as mentioned the
skipping slugs were quite jumpy. Often, they had to be hit when in midair. To
say, that the men didn’t find joy in this game, would be a lie. To remember
this exciting day of fun, to honor the dead skipping slugs and the meadow where
it took place, Lewis, Clark, and Apathios named the meadow “Slugger Field”. A
name, the location still has today.
And after all that was
accomplished, history followed its path: On October 26, 1803, Lewis and Clark,
together with the nucleus of the Corps of Discovery including biologist Speedos
Apathios, set off down the Ohio River from Clarksville, Indiana, on a journey
that would take them to the Pacific Ocean and back. Some members of the
expedition were left back at the Falls of the Ohio to guard the base camp of
the expedition, commonly just called “The Base”. Some of them were from Clark’s
team, some friends of animal lover Meriwether Lewis.
What happened at the
expedition’s starting point? It became also a starting point for two major
movements of humankind.
The first was, that
the remaining team members enjoyed the beating of the slugs so much, that they
didn’t want to stop even after the last of the skipping slugs from Slugger
field was dead. First, they switched from slugs to snails, which because of
their shells were even more fun to hit than the slimy slugs.
And eventually one of the sluggers at “The Base” of Lewis, Clark, &
Apathios, a young man named Baby Ruthless, had the idea to beat balls instead
of snail shells. Big advantage: They could be used several times in contrast to
the snails. And already within a few weeks, the first rules of a new game
emerged on Louisville’s Slugger field, which got the name Baseball and
conquered the world.
Also, another movement
started here. Team members from Lewis, who didn’t take part in the slug
slugging at all, because they loved the animals, were completely disgusted by
the behavior of the baseball players. They decided to start a movement to
protect the animals and plants of the planet, and joined in a group. A name was
found very fast, because to express their wish to give peace to the animals
they chose the color of the skipping slugs and called themselves “Darkishbrownpeace.”
But because all skipping slugs had become extinct due to the culling in fall
1803, there were no slugs left to be remembered, and therefore the name of the
group changed several times over the next two Centuries, but in the end, it
became the biggest environmental group of the early 21st Century.
As you have seen, a meadow close to the Falls of the Ohio in today’s city of
Louisville was the point of origin for two major movements of our time:
Baseball and Animal Rights.
At least, many of you surely remember the
story. You don’t remember? Well, may be everything is just completely made