Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chapter 5: Mote's Advice


Arriving home with a new batch of crickets, I found Mote and Mustardseed against the glass of their Dwelling, expecting my return with The Crunchy Morsels.  

I opened the bag, and dumped four unfortunate souls into the dwelling, and watched as they were gobbled up with Alacrity.  Mote was especially skilled at Snatching, and consumed three crickets, while Mustardseed only managed a single cricket, the smallest and slowest of the bunch.

At this moment, I decided to fix a rather Sensitive Problem, one that I had been Brooding over for a time, a problem that I must elucidate with great care, and Strategy, as to not upset Mustardseed, who was now perhaps placated slightly by Morsels.

Of late, I have become concerned with Mustardseed's Continuous yet Mild failure at obtaining his share of Bugs.  Though Mustardseed excels with Concepts, Comprehension, and Creativity, he is a rather Frail Frog, plagued by what I perceive as Hunting Anxiety and Hasty Lunges.  

I praised Mote, as she sat, fat-happy on the log, in her abilities at Hunting.  She always gets the cricket on the first Lunge, I said, and though each previously consumed cricket weighs her down, she still manages to gobble many Crickets while under this burden.  How does she do this, I asked, and looked toward Mustardseed, for whom I was fetching this Advice.

Mote pushed her eyes downward, toward her throat (to help swallow her last Prize) and smiled a large smile.  Her finest cricket catches jumped across her mind: the from-under-water Shark-like nab, the Over-the-log-catch-and-flip grab, and the Herculean Jump Catch, the Prized Snatch of the Lily Pad.

The Moistness on Mote enhanced her vibrant green skin.  Mote began by saying that Hunting is not quite as much a Hunt as it is a Way.  She said that a Frog must not Fret, but must Let The Bug-Mind Go, and that one would do better to feel what the bug will do next, instead of think what he will do.

Mote said that a Frog must not Fret

A Bolt of inspiration came to me at this moment, as I realized too, that, while creating characters, plots, or settings, a Writer must not create, he must instead channel his topic, as if it were speaking to him Directly, Unobstructed by the writer's mind, knowledge, and experience.  At the same time a Counter-current of thought came to me, saying that yet surely his topic is Shaped by these factors from his life, to an extent which is Positively Incomprehensible. 

From these advisory lines from Mote, I also pondered about her Mind, remembering her disjointed and rambling Haiku, yet contemplating her Aptitude in Strange but Endearing Things.

Mustardseed moved slowly toward us, his eyes squinted in thought.  He said that he would Try, and attempt to Forget Himself while Hunting, and hinted that he is a rather Nervous or perhaps Fidgety Frog, when it comes to Jumping and Snatching, and that he may sometimes be very dependent on his Inner Monologue to carry him, and that he should perhaps Buoy Up.

Mustardseed squinted his eyes in thought

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chapter 4: The Two-Thing


As I awoke this morning to a beautiful Fall day, I tiredly wandered over to the Frog dwelling, to see if they were yet awake, and if so, if I could Visit with them over a bowl of bran cereal.  

I immediately noticed a Peculiarity, for while Mote was in a typical position behind the Log, Mustardseed was in the Deep End of the tank, completely submerged, grasping the bottom-rocks of the Dwelling, looking very Wet and Winded, and surely Out of his Mind, or possibly even unconscious or Dead, death-gripped to an unfortunate Rock of the Deep.

In haste, I opened the lid to the dwelling and shot my hand into the water, in an effort to discover if my newly-found Friend, Companion, and Poet, suffered a Watery End, perhaps because Odysseus the Bug was poisonous, or possibly because of my Negligence and Ignorance of his Bodily Needs as a Frog.  

Up squirmed Mustardseed, clumsy and tired.  He squirted water out of his mouth upon reaching the surface, and looked at me in annoyance.  I expressed my worries, and asked what he could Possibly be doing down there, looking so Dead and out of Breath.

Mustardseed hopped onto the dwelling's log, and said that he was merely taking a Nap, and the best kind of nap, the Submerged kind, where Frogs may clutch a Favorite Rock and fall asleep to the sweet sounds of Water, all the while taking in Breath from the water through the Skin.

I was taken aback, and immediately asked Mote if this water-breathing was true with all Frogs, or if Mustardseed was pulling my Hind Leg.  

She replied that Yes, Frogs can breathe with either Nothing-air or Water-air, or both at the Same Time, if they chose, and in fact, many Frog-pursuits require both abilities.  She said that she enjoys very much the feeling of Wet, and that she doubts Man has a similar feeling for it, and asked Mustardseed if there was something comparable, again stating that she was Skeptical of the Possiblity.

Mustardseed and Mote

Mustardseed preached that Frogs love always to be Wet, and that Wet feels a bit like Liberty, though he is not Completely Sure about that, and that Wet gives extra Breath to the Supreme Hunters or the Supreme Lovers, whichever Frogs choose to be at the moment, for they are very Versatile.  Mustardseed said that there was a word that meant a Two-Thing, another word for Versatile, a Word which he did not know at the moment, but that there was a very Appropriate word, that gets at the Core of what Frogs are, and perhaps what Man is.  I ran my mind over Two-Things, and I drilled him in vocabulary, asking about Double, Duality, or Dichotomous, but he rejected these, his morning-Frog voice saying that he thought it began with a Vowel, but he could not For Frog's Sake remember the word that is at the Core of All Frogs and thus All Things.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Chapter 3: Odysseus

Sitting around the table, enjoying a competitive game of Settlers of Catan, a quick-acting friend trapped a small beetle under a bottle cap.  The obvious question of What To Do Next came to my friends, whether to face the fiend or let it sweat it out in the metallic dome.  Being from the Lily Pad, I am always questing for which insects would Make Life Interesting for Mote, or any that might stir Mustardseed out of his recent Mood of Aloofness.  I hopped to, freeing the bug from the metallic prison and keeping him solidly in my hand.  It came to me that the beetle must think me a great big Oaf, perhaps like Polyphemus.  And so I shall call the bug Odysseus, the Greek who was known for his wiles.


Because of the beetle's ability to fly, in an attempt to ensure its delivery, I hurled it, Heavy-Handed and ogre-like, into the Coliseum, the Feeding Pits, the Frog Tank--a nibblet of Beetle Rangoon--sure to tempt the laziest of frogs.

Mote and Mustardseed immediately went on the alert.  The beetle's fate was maligned from the beginning by my excessive throw--he struggled in the toxin-water of the frog beasts, squirming for a piece of Something, Anything.  It reminded my Ogre-mind of my frustration at Odysseus, and my attempt to hurl rocks at him during his escape from my island, after burning my eye to impotency and sneaking out under the fleece of sheep.

Polyphemus and Odysseus

The beetle had the Hero's Resolve, and found a piece of log on which he could climb.  Desperately, he struggled onto its Apex, and pitifully, like a Drowned Rat, into the striking range of Mote the Hunter.

Mote lunged, a Hungry-Hippo lunge, full of vigor and stomach, frog-straight for Odysseus.  But the Hero's luck saved him--a portion of bark blocked Mote's maw, giving Odysseus enough time to Jump for his Life, Casting the Die, Spinning the Wheel of Fate as he chanced another portion of the tank.

Fleet-Footed Mustardseed, Searcher for the Way out of the Aquarium, Devourer of One-Legged Crickets, made true his titles.  With a Chomp and then a Gulp, he Devoured Odysseus, whose luck had Ceased To Be.  It was an Unnerving sight, a Hero of the War, a Slayer of Scilla and Blinder of the Ogre, so quickly gobbled up, unable to make his peace or acknowledge his Doom, except perhaps whilst in the gut of the Frog.

I have recounted this story to Mote and Mustardseed, to swell their pride.  The Frogs, however, had few enthusiastic words in reply.  Mote urged me to finish my story, and asked about the next Hour of the Bug.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chapter 2: Haiku

This evening, while sitting at my desk, enjoying a draw of ale, and Writing away at my Notepad, Mustardseed snatched my attention.  He was Full-Frog against the glass of his Dwelling, Fire-Alabaster belly forward, beckoning attention.

He expressed his growing curiosity in what I was doing with my Long Stick.  I said that I was Writing, and that it was a special Stick, a Tool.  He tilted in confusion at my sentence, and asked what one does when he Writes.  My Head swelled with explanations, and I voiced (after inadequate thought) that there are many things one could be doing when he Writes, and that I was in the process of creating ideas, and putting them down in a sort of memory, but rather than the usual Frog or Man memory, a memory that Stretched Through Time, reaching other Frogs and Men, perhaps inspiring them to Great Deeds, or Small But Good Deeds, or perhaps lightening their Load on this Lily Pad.

Mustardseed sat sedentary for a few moments, and Mote glided (she is quite the swimmer) to join us.  Mustardseed expressed interest in Attempting Writing, though he could not Hold the Stick.  Mote voiced, glancing around, that she would like to Try As Well.  

I told the frogs that I could Write for them, if they could Dictate to me what they would like to be Written.  Mustardseed agreed, raising his head and showing his belly.

He then voiced that he knew not how to Structure the Words to be Written, and that surely I spend entire nights debating Which Sounds go Where, and the Structure of my Texts, and Topics in general, and that the whole Endeavor seemed to be a tangled Bug Web of possibilities and Frustration.

To Direct the Overwhelmed Frog, I suggested a Haiku, which consists of a five-syllable line, followed by a seven-syllable, and completed by another five-syllable line.  I also suggested to the Frogs that they Write about what Interests them, and that Writing should come from the Heart, or somewhere Far Inside them, for it is hard to Know what one does not Contain.  Mote Said that she often Contains Crickets; they would be A Good Topic.

After adjusting his position on a rock, and unblinkingly gazing around, Mustardseed Announced his Haiku with Precision, and a Staccato Style, emphasized by his voluminous Frog Tongue:

Open lid I see- (by this he meant the lid to his Dwelling)
O, How should I become free?
A Frog torn by Love.

Up went my eyebrows, and I almost replied, when Mote blurted, with loud voice and forgotten tempo:

Open lid I see- 
Rain down endless crickets!

Monday, September 22, 2008


I am Fiddling with a new type of way to Present the Frogs.  This is a rudimentary edition, a Snippet of what may come in future chapters.

Mote pursues crickets and succeeds in a Snatch.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Part 1: Salad Days. Chapter 1: Catching Crickets

Recently, at the Lily Pad, there has been a rise in the population of Crickets.  I believe it is the Lowering of the Outside Temperature, driving the Morsels in.

They are not stealthy creatures, and I spot them easily.  As they walk across the floor, Mote and Mustardseed look longingly at them with their bulgy frog eyes, one frogfoot propped against the glass.  Mote especially hungers for them, for they are Harder to Catch, and Make Life Interesting.

As Mote and Mustardseed are confined, I am obliged to "Eat and then Let Loose" the cricket.  Mote and Mustardseed call it this because they are simple creatures, and have no concept of why I would Chase Crickets Around, with no Intention Of Eating Them.  Cornering a Cricket can be Difficult for the Beginner, but once realized that they Jump at Anything, they can be easily Snatched Up after Feigning a Lunge.  I promptly free the cricket (despite Scratchy Squirms) into the frog home.  Mote chases the cricket while it crawls over the plants, walls, floor, and Mustardseed.

They are of a black variety and have been so numerous of late that I have put them with the other crickets, those in my Cricket Carrier, because Mustardseed and Mote must have Time to Process The Buggers.  There they remain, Hopping at the Clear Walls, until their Doom, or The Hour of The Bug, as Mote says.


So begins the narrative of Mote and Mustardseed:

The New Owner (yours truly) of the Lily Pad has two new friends:

Mote and Mustardseed.

Escorting their moistnesses to my home, I looked with optimism at what we could accomplish together.  Us, comrades!  We, Band of Brothers!  We will hop mildly when this day is named!  May they survive the morrow!

I have chosen as my new friends fine Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads.  Most toads, in actuality, are frogs.  They are given the title "toad" for an arbitrary reason, one which the frogs neither understand nor approve.  More colorful and hardy than their European Fire-Bellied friends, these graceful creatures live for up to twelve years, feeding on mostly crickets.  I have heard that they are not picky; they will with great politeness consume most objects smaller than their heads.  The shopkeeper warned me that - though if you were to tell these frogs this, they would surely croak - the Purchaser must purchase gravel much larger than the heads of the frogs.

I have learned much about these frogs before my trip to the store.  They are slightly toxic, like many other frogs.  This toxicity flies in the face of their magnanimous demeanor, for, I assure you, Mustardseed has been a Prince since he arrived.  I have also learned that frogs do not Have Feelings, nor many thoughts at all, excluding their incessant drive for "wet" and "bug".

I have spent a handsome $100.14 on the frogs thus far.  Unfortunately, I was pressed to buy a new lamp for them, as theirs was "the wrong kind."  With the coin spent on this lamp, I could have purchased seven additional frogs.  Here is the equipment that I started with:

Upon entering their new home, Mustardseed gallantly attempted escape.  This was contrasted by Mote's innate inactivity and toadly expression.  At this moment, their names stuck.  Mote was performing grand quarter-turns (quite like the hour hand of a clock) while Mustardseed climbed over him in order to reach a different transparent wall.  If the reader is not familiar with these names, they are the names of fairies from W. Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.  

I sincerely hope that the frogs live until tomorrow or at least until I get to feed them a chirping cricket.  Mustardseed is on the left and Mote is on the right.