A Truly Terrible Tale for a Rainy October Night
A long time ago in an Indiana town far, far away (or roughly an hour and forty-five minutes if you go the speed limit or whatever) a boy regaled his classmates with a story so terrific, so awful, and so, well, lasting that I have never, ever, ever forgotten it. Lord knows I have tried…sorta. Because the story took place on a rainy fall day and was told on a rainy fall day, I cannot see a leaf on the ground on a rainy fall day without thinking about it. Now you all can think about it, too. You're welcome.
It was a grey and wet October afternoon and a boy we'll call E, the E Who Shall Not Be Named, said he had an interesting fall walk. He was walking through the neighborhood, crunching and slushing his way through fallen leaves, as one does. What to his wandering eyes should appear among the soggy leaves but one perfectly robust piece of autumnal crispy glory. He couldn't resist it. In fairness, who could? In a fit of adolescent exuberance, he took one big leap in the air and landed square on the big lovely leaf.
There was no crunch.
No, there was a squish, perhaps a splat, coupled with a deep disappointment of the kind that only comes when one is suddenly and shockingly deprived of certain, immediate satisfaction.
That was no leaf. That was a frog.
See, it's a terrible story. And there's no happy ending. Nope. The frog lives on only in memory. Although, you have to admit, that frog would never, presumably, have achieved the kind of celebrity it has since found if it hadn't been for E's foot landing so indelicately on a fateful fall day. (See, at last we get there: frog prints!)
Small consolation for a frog, one supposes. Of course, we'll never be able to ask.
I can honestly say I have never since crunched a leaf with any amount of force or velocity. Or at least, not without verifying that it is indeed flora and not fauna first.
Again, sadly, small consolation for a frog.