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Friday, April 6, 2018

Frog and Toad are Friends

Once, when Babe Snake was still very sick from Big Think, Frog and Toad came by her house. They rolled her into a hammock and each took one end. Toad whistled sharply, and her children came out of their corners. “Shoes,” said Toad, and they put on their shoes without comment. She couldn’t see this, but she imagined their faces unusually solemn, even the youngest. she was in the bluing light of the hammock’s fabric. It was summer, 105 degrees, but the hammock felt cool against her feverish skin. She sighed. “We froze it,” Frog whispered near her ear, giggling a little. “We put the hammock in the freezer.” It wouldn’t last long, but what did? She heard the glass door slide and her children jostling each other as they stepped into the oven. Hansel and Gretel, she thought. Then they marched. Down the road and into the wash and across the sand until they reached Toad’s ship. It wasn’t comfortable. “In a cocoon,” Babe whispered, “one goes to pieces.” Frog pressed one of his large hands to the base of her head. “Just a little further,” he said. And then they stopped. “We’ll hang your mother below deck and get each of you a jar of water,” Toad instructed the children. Babe rose and settled as in a round of light-as-a-feather, the physics reasonable, the sensation nonetheless magical. Her hammock fastened, she heard her children skitter down the stairs, through the roof of the bedroom, and presumably off to the kitchen to take jars from the shelf and stand in line for chipped ice and cold water. There was a shaded pool in the yard, a galvanized metal trough really, fed with cool recirculating water. Soon she’d hear the eldest bossing the younger ones to keep their heads up and to share the goggles with the broken strap. Babe shifted. Frog was still there, she could feel. He began to sing, “Had me an engine, had me a clutch, the downshift, the downshift, she don’t ask for much.” Babe knew a punk riff usually accompanied the lyric, but he was singing in a sweet voice, a lullaby. Babe wasn’t sure she’d live through this. Toad returned, his gait heavy and swift all at once. “How is she?” She could feel Frog shrug. They unwound the hammock and Babe found herself on her back staring up at the silky sheets that lined this ceilings below deck. She could see one painted with stars, one striped like a big top. She could see the one with the signatures of the dead. “Open,” said Toad, and she opened her lips, papery, strange on her face. He tucked a dropper against her tongue, and squeezed some cool water into her mouth. She held it, swallowed slowly, didn’t choke as she’d done the first few times. “Put on that Velvet Underground album,” said Toad. “Which one?” asked Frog. “The one she likes,” said Toad.” “She only likes Pale Blue Eyes,” said Frog. “Then play it,” said Toad. And they did. 


Radish King said...

Oh these!!! You are the best kind of witch.

bloof said...

Me too. Need them daily forever.