Friday, April 26, 2013

Flash Friday #40: A Frog's Tale

This story is a feghoot, which is a pun story (the pun will be at the end).(

Murray was an unpretentious frog. He wasn't big like Gregor, who pretty much ruled the pond, though he wasn't mean. It was just if Gregor said to jump -- well, you did jump.

Murray also didn't jump as high and splendidly as Airy, who had his name because he could almost fly. Dangerous, Murray, always thought, watching the eagles and hawks in nearby trees. But Airy made a show and he was a wonder to watch when the sun was going down and the air began to cool. He could leap high and catch bugs at the same time.

Murray also wasn't mean like Bev. She loved to do nothing more than torment him, sneaking up across the waterlilies while he rested, and then leaping in just the right spot to dump him into the water. Then she'd leap away -- jump, jump, jump -- out of sight and across the pond. He always heard her mocking laughter.

Murray would climb back to his lily pad, or to another if that one had already been taken over. If he were lucky, she only dumped him once or twice a day. He didn't mind being in the water, of course. He was a frog after all, but he rather liked going in when he wanted to, and not at the whim of some bad-tempered child with no manners.

And so this went on through the first half of the summer. He began to think he might take up residence with the frogs along the edge of the pond, half buried in muck and mud. They seemed content there. It would be a good life --

"Got ya!" Bev yelled as he tumbled into the water. This time a big fish came straight at him and he barely pulled himself back out in time, scrambling to the center of his pad and holding very still.

"She's not going to quit, you know," Airy said as he landed on the pad next to him. "I've been watching her for days now. She's made a name for herself. All the other girls take bets on whether or not she'll ever anger you enough to strike back. The odds have not been in your favor for a while."

He sighed. He wasn't certain he really needed to know this was more than a silly game by a female with nothing better to do. "I think I'll move to the bank."

"She'll just kick mud at you."

He sighed again.

"There's something you need to do, Murray lad," Airy said. He leaned forward, stretching out his long, lean legs. "You need to go and tip her into the water."

He'd never considered such a thing. He blinked several times and lazily caught a mosquito. They were so thick this year it hardly took any effort at all.

"Tip her?" he finally said. "I wouldn't even know where to find her."

"I can help you out there," Airy said and took one of his prodigious leaps upward and back down, all grace. "I've seen where she usually settles, and she's headed there now, the little vixen."

"Why are you helping me?"

"A whim," Airy said. "And because you seem a nice enough guy. I don't think you'd be happy in the mud."

"I don't know, Airy."

"Come on. What have you got to lose? At least get a look at where she is, so you can make up your mind later."

That seemed a good idea, actually. Murray didn't like to rush into anything. For a frog he was quite a lay-about. This time he gave Airy a nod and followed him, leaping from pad-to-pad, apologizing as he rushed through another's territory. He had to take two or three leaps to every one of Airy's single jumps.

Airy finally stopped on the wide branch of a long limb, sticking far out over the water. Murray had to scramble up to join him, slipping twice before he finally reached Airy's side. This didn't seem such a good place to stay. He'd seen birds here.

"There she is. See her, there in that clump of lily pads with all the other girls gathered around?" He flicked his tongue in that direction, and managed to catch three mosquitoes at the same time. The guy just had the knack for doing things well.

Murray stared out across the pond, his frogy eyes narrowing against the glare of the water. He found her, finally, about as far from where he lived as you could get and still be in the same pond. He'd never been to that far side, even as a tadpole.

"You need to go and dump her in the water, Murray," Airy said with a nod.

He studied the scene for a long, silent time, before he finally turned back to his companion.

"I don't know. It's a long ways to tip her, Airy."

The End

838 words

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