Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chapter 23: Story

This afternoon, after rearranging the contents of the Frog Dwelling and gingerly placing the Frogs back into it, I stood back and surveyed my work - a new type of Dwelling, modeled after a place-setting, complete with a bowl, cup, and two spoons.

Mustardseed told me that he appreciated the new Dwelling arrangement - that it was important in both form and function.

I asked the Frog to elaborate.

Mustardseed said that the Dwelling contains enough Wet, like the last arrangement, but it also now seems to have a certain goal in mind, a certain way of being that carries the mind along a path, which is certainly a Good Thing, for that way of carrying is perhaps the most effective.

Mustardseed said that it seemed to have a certain goal in mind.

I said to the Frog that this is surely true.  I told him that I indeed meant to carry the viewer on the path of a story with the new setting, thus enhancing the presentation of both the Dwelling and the atmosphere for the Frogs within it.

Mustardseed said that he liked the story, its ambiguity and ramifications, and was looking forward to musing on it, while basking in Wet and enjoying the warmth of this newly-discovered and most pleasant season (the Frogs are too young yet to have seen Spring.)

Peaseblossom asked what the story was About, that he was unsure of what to make of it, and that he would like an explanation, if we Pleased.

Mote said, with vigor, that the story was about the pleasant, continual feeding of three Frogs, and surely the spoon and bowl were symbols of this.

I asked Mote what the cup perhaps symbolized, in this scenario.

The Frog stopped and sorted this information.  She said that it surely does not mean drinking, as Frogs in fact never drink with their mouths, but only with their wonderfully thin and armorless skin.  She said that perhaps it was a symbol for the containing of that which sustains us, whether it be Wet, or Morsels, or perhaps even Frogs.

I thought on the function of a Dwelling in containing these sustenance-giving Frogs, how pleasant it was to have them and yet how unpleasant to keep them Hemmed-In, and all the while knowing that this latest Dwelling arrangement was to perhaps atone for my secret and iniquitous Sin of Frog-trapping, by at least providing them with a pleasant and stimulating story in which to live.

As I thought this I noticed Mote trying to get my attention.  She was watching my furrowed and concerned brow, a very knowing and Froggity look on her face, with an elegant and assertive posture.  She said with a degree of urgency that we should play a game, and, which game would I prefer the most, as I surely get to choose, for I was the Man of the Hour and had built the Frogs a new story.

She was watching my furrowed and concerned brow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chapter 22: Madness


In the most agitated and sloppy hand do I write this, because of Momentous Events, be they real or unreal.

I soon expect the Horsemen of the Apocalypse to ride in, fury-stricken, or perhaps the Second Coming of the Lord, for today the world has turned upside down, as the English song relates.  I am beside myself with worry, for last night, after capping the day with writing in my journal, and walking over to my bed, with the Frog jar on my nightstand, I believe to have lost my sanity. 

The Frogs spoke to me.

After blowing out my lamp and looking out the window at the darkened city, I lay myself down, prostrate, upon my chilly bed.

“This jar is quite dry,” said a wee but dignified voice to my right, at close proximity.  In a hot panic, I relit my nightstand lamp and looked around the room for stowaways.  My searching eventually led me to the Frog jar.  One of the Frogs looked at me intently, Frog-feet upon the Impossible Barrier.  The next voice was just as miniscule, but nonetheless a thunder-clap in my stormy world.

“Yes, we need water presently,” said the other Frog, which I was watching.  His lips moving and he held his head high.

"Yes, we need water presently," said the other Frog.

I pinched, rubbed, and tormented myself relentlessly, urgently attempting to bring myself out of this madman’s dream, the final proof of losing my mind, the possibility of which each Man ponders at least once in his life.  To fail to purge the demon of my soul would surely end in a lunatic’s demise—ostracized, condemned, and shut away. 

Dared I speak?  What can a Man do, when Madness speaks to him?  In an attempt to shoo the fiend off, he uses his wits to speak back to Madness, showing the Fiend that he retains at least half his wits. 

 Collecting my scattered courage, I played madness’ game.  “Oh?” I asked, and fetched fresh water, pouring some into the jar, up to the knees of the Frogs, and sat upon my bed, stricken, trying desperately to maintain myself.  I immediately thought of the day and the hour in which the demon within me would give my secret away to a company of people, and I looked upon it with terror.  O horrid, to know that one’s sanity is abbreviated.

Pale as a ghoul, I blew out the light, and went to bed, feigning normalcy.

It was Quiet.  Enough to make mountains shiver, to unnerve Zeus, or frighten Mephistopheles, or make Cerberus run with his tail ‘tween his legs.  And then, from curs`ed darkness there was a croak, a hoarse and devilish voice.  It echoed through my mind as through a great mineshaft, deep into the darkness among the tunnels that Madness had bored into my brain:

“Thank you, Sir.”

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chapter 21: Dewey's house


Over to Dewey’s house I took the friends, in a jelly-jar, their Frog-feet propped upon the glass, their faces looking very unassuming, and their minds surely confounded by the Impossible Barrier.  Upon examination, Dewey, a man with a bird-beak nose and plumage from his ears, looked wide-eyed at the beasts, and marveled at their origin, and said they were surely related to the European Fire-Bellied Toad, but were certainly brighter, with a defiantly red and impassioned Belly.  He lectured briefly about these toads, saying that in actuality most things called toads are actually Frogs, and giving a brief list of their habits and needs.  He mentioned that amphibians, and especially Frogs, are quite possibly the most interesting creatures in the World, due to their strange skills and their relationship to the water and the earth, which was so intimate that a Frog would sometimes perish if the slightest contamination were incurred into his habitat, even if a man covered in soot bathed in a Frog’s pond.

He asked me if he could take them in order to preserve the specimens, and perhaps present them to the court in London as a new species, bringing both him and me lofty distinctions, for the Frogs in the New World were all thought to be mundane and dull.  He reached for my jar.

“Perhaps,” I said.  I was strangely offended at Dewey’s reach.   I was looking at the Frog friends, my gaze returned by both sets of uncannily conscious eyes.  The Frogs shifted in their jar, propped upon their long hind legs.  The green-and-brown Frog looked at me, or perhaps through me, and I saw in his eye the elongated reflection of my head, and the world behind me, twisted in the eye’s globe, bending the images of the world to fit its shape. 

The green-and-brown Frog looked at me

Dewey gave me a peculiar, bird-twitchy look, and reached again, reiterating the rewards from such a rare find, and postulated that I had no reason for keeping the Frogs, aside from using them for bait, which would surely be a waste of such Plunder.

“No,” I said, and put my free hand in front of me, to block his reach, and promptly put the jar back into my satchel.  I said that I would like to keep them as pets in my new living quarters.  I believed that they would make good companions.

Disappointed, he looked at me as if I was a child entertaining a fanciful trinket or absurd idea.  I turned, stony and cold, to leave.  Dewey snapped at me, mumbling something about a petty and unjust mind.

Walking home, I kept the jar close to my chest to protect my new friends from the night’s chill.  Proud I was, and surprised at my defense of the Frogs, for I had used Frogs so many times to my advantage, and now I seemed to be affected by them for the first time.  I found myself changed, perhaps because of their princely posture, their heads raised high by their stout Frog-feet, or perhaps because of the knowing eye that followed my countenance.  They may have brought out a side of me that was more Human, or maybe more Frog-like.  I seem to have gotten the two confused on this day, while fishing along the Delaware.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chapter 20: Beginnings

Please excuse my long break.  These next few Chapters will outline my meeting of the Frogs, and a few of the events leading up to the time of my starting the Journal.  I will begin each post that is from the past with the phrase -Backstory-.

Yrs. Truly

-Backstory chapter 1-

Today, enjoying the stillness and voluntary boredom of fishing along the Delaware, and watching schooners and water-birds pass, all enjoyed through the smoke and flavor of my tobacco-pipe, I briefly wondered at man’s connection to all of this—the birds, the water, the fish—and also his connection to himself, and if perhaps the creatures and natural wonders of the world could help a Man uncover the mysteries of his own elusive and somehow unnatural soul.

I spied two small Frogs along the bank.

Hopping, they were, abreast each other, Companions of the Mud.  I thought it good fortune to find two at once, and two easy catches at that, for I intended to use them (as was my custom when finding Frogs,) as bait for great freshwater fish, or perhaps even a water-bird.  I rigged up two hooks upon polls, and just as I was about to puncture the greener of the two Frogs upon the hook, I noticed their peculiar ruddiness.  One of the Frogs had a green-and-brown motley on his dorsal, and the other a purely green dorsal, both with black spots that ran symmetrically down the spine, but each Frog also had an underbelly of Fire-Alabaster skin, which I thought to be peculiar for any Frog in this region.  Instead of putting them upon hooks, I decided to spare the fellows, and put them in my fisherman’s basket, with intent to take them to R. Dewey, a naturalist with whom I was familiar, to inquire if he would be interested in adding them to his collection, or perhaps dissecting them.