Saturday, September 20, 2008

frog boy

Day 23 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Today’s Saturday Scribes fiction prompts are as follows;

Theme: Phenomena
Words: Frog, Battery and Subsequent.

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It happened at the grocery store, but I must begin at the beginning and let the subsequent events unfold to let you be the judge of my sanity.

I don’t usually shop at night on a weekday, but I got behind and found my larder bare. So, off I drove to the local grocery store in the dark and found it quite busy despite the fact.

I collected my usual meal choices, craft dinner, frozen pizza, lunchables, pepperoni sticks, chips and headed to the checkout trying as best I could to find one that would move quickly.

No such luck. I found myself sandwiched between Old Mother Hubbard buying for her family of twenty it seemed, and crazy cat lady stocking up on tins of Cat Chew delight - she probably eats them herself I thought looking at the wiry hairs on her lip resembling whiskers.

Bored, and getting a frozen hand from holding the pizza, I looked around the store. Not much to see usually - just an assortment of chocolate bars and battery packs of all sizes.

And the magazines. Glamour ones promising the ten day plan to lose forty pounds, and the skinny models with too large mouths grinning like Jack-O-Lanterns sporting way to much makeup.

But it was the International Enquirer that attracted my attention then. On the cover was a picture of a slouched over, bulging eyed creature. The Headline: “Incredible Frog Boy On The Loose Again!”

It was the fine print which really caught my eye. Last spotted in Ipswitch, Arkansas - Hey, my very own town.

I chuckled to myself. Frog boy indeed.

That’s when I spotted him, I’m sure. Two aisles down, wearing a hoodie and carrying a case of smoked oysters. It could have been a town punk, but the slouch and the quick glimpse I caught of a bulging eye beneath the hood.

He walked with a kind of hop in his step as well, and I could see no Ipod wires leading to his head so knew the odd step was not from any devices tune.

Fascinated, I kept stealing glances his way, but tried not to be obvious. I was drawn into this mystery now with no way out but down.

Old Mother Hubbard was taking forever to find her debit card, and Frog Boy was already taking cash out to pay for his oysters. Damn, I may have to drop my goods in pursuit.

But, as luck would have it, Frog Boy was counting out copious amounts of change. And was I seeing things, or were his hands webbed? - The vast amount of coins he was counting were likely fished from a local good wish pond I thought, and so I was, in fact, not too far behind him checking out.

When he headed for the front door, oysters under his arm, I was just paying for my goods.

I was not too far behind when I cleared the automatic doors and immediately started looking for him in the lit parking lot. My mistake. He was nowhere to be found under the lights or among the cars.

It was then I heard the crashing of bushes outside the parking lot. I turned but could see nothing. I strode quickly to the edge of the lit lot and peered into the forest which lined the lot.

More snapping sounds farther in. I had a choice to make. He could be rejoining a gang, or it could only be some animal and I had truly missed seeing him in the lot - Or - It could be the Incredible Frog Boy!

I had to be sure and so made my way into the dark woods. If I recalled correctly there was stream not too distant from here as well.

Several minutes later, making as little noise as I could, I heard a big splash. I kid you not! I ran as fast as I could towards the sound, my plastic bags bouncing off bushes and twigs.

By the time I made it to the river’s edge, my grocery bags were in tatters. I was not sure I even had all my goods anymore.

I listened as best I could for the sounds of someone swimming, but could hear only the steady flow of the water and night creatures which were not out of place. Just about to turn around and chide myself for such foolishness, I spotted, not too far distant, a light grey mass.

Hesitantly I walked up to it.

Sure enough, it was a grey hoodie. I picked it up and found it was clammy feeling and damp. Could this be?

Suddenly a splash sounded out on the river and I nearly jumped out of my skin. Terrified I looked out on the water, but all I saw were large waves dissipating in the current.

I made my way back to the lit parking lot and back home. But I’ll always remember that night and wonder.

Was it only my imagination fed by some crazy magazine article, or in fact reality skating on the outskirts of our comprehension and best left undiscovered?

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