Idon’t know what it is with me and frogs. Ever since I bought a house four years ago, I’ve had a regular stream of amphibian visitors hopping around inside. I’ve found them in the living room. I’ve found them on the window sills and even on top of the door post. Yet another one turned up under the couch during spring cleaning this year, looking a little dried out.
While things were hardly reaching Exodus-level pestilence, I still had to do something. So I started tightening my home defenses. I put new weather-stripping on the door frames. I patched up a hole in the brick under my back porch door. I checked the seal on the chimney. And I put up a sign that read, “No Croaking.” I wanted the little wart-mongers to know I was serious.
For about two months, it worked.
Then came last Monday morning. I was quietly reading a magazine, minding my own business and just about to turn to the next article. All of a sudden I saw a green head poke out above the page, with two oily little eyes staring up at me. It took only three seconds to process what was going on. There was a frog in my magazine.
At that point, I did a very manly thing. I screamed, and threw the magazine onto the floor. The equally surprised stowaway started bouncing around like mad under my feet. After I took a moment to pull myself together, I got a plastic cup, scooped up the intruder and tossed him outside. My mind was ablaze with questions. How did he get in the house? Didn’t he see the sign? And why was he inside a magazine? I didn’t realize frogs read “The Weekly Standard.”
It occurred to me, though, that they could be sending me a message. You see, three nights earlier I was cutting the grass in the front yard when an unfortunate incident occurred. As I ran over a mound of grass, I heard a loud chomping noise in the mower. When I looked down, I saw it — one half of a frog, cut lengthways and still slightly pulsating. Even worse, I recognized him. He had a reputation in the neighborhood as a famous jumper, capable of leaping anthills with a single bound. But now he was dead.
It was not at all intentional. I did not see him. Sometimes nature’s camouflage backfires. In fact, if the frog had been bright orange like some of his cousins in the Amazon Rainforest, he might be intact today. I promise that I do not recklessly march around my yard looking for animals to slaughter.
Yes, I’ve had my disagreements with the birds and the moles and the ants, but just a few weeks prior to all of this, I had gone to heroic lengths to rescue a hummingbird trapped in my garage. The garage door was open only three feet below him, but the poor thing was flying around and around the ceiling, trying to get out. This went on for hours.
Bless their hearts, hummingbirds are not bright, having a brain the size of a Rice Krispie. So I went to the brush pile and got a tree branch. I brought it back into the garage and held it up close to the ceiling for quite a while. Eventually, the bird landed on it, and I slowly lowered the branch and walked out of the garage. He finally flew to safety. So see, I am not a villain.
But did that story get out to the frogs? I’m starting to think not, and I’m afraid all they saw was the half order of frog legs still kicking under the lawnmower. This champion leaper was widely liked among his friends, and I’m afraid their payback will be slow and psychological. Frogs are a patient species. I’m not expecting a toe in a napkin or a horse head in the bedsheets. No, the revenge will be more subtle, and in fact it’s already started. On Monday, I found a frog in my reading material. On Tuesday, the Muppets were back on TV with a new show, starring Kermit the You-Know-What. On Wednesday, I pulled up to a stoplight, and it turned green!
At first I tried to ignore the signs, but everywhere I go now, I hear croaking. Soft at first, but then it gets louder and louder and louder. I hear croaking in my sleep, in the pantry, in the dishwasher. Sometimes I even think I am croaking, as if I have a frog in my throat. I fear I am slowly going insane. The noise is so deafening that I’m afraid if friends come over to the house, I will start tearing up planks in the floor and confessing to murder.
It all seems like a lot of worry over just one celebrated jumping frog that I accidentally cut in Twain.