I remember, when I was a kid, and we lived in Arizona. My mother was convinced that Vitamin C would cure these warts we were getting. So she bought these huge bottles of chewables, and fed us huge doses. The warts went away, but I bet they would anyway. The thing was I developed this huge taste for anything sour. I was the kid who loved green apple anything. Or lemon. I loved sour candies, I didn't exactly like grapefruit. I think I ate a ton of those chewable vitamin c things.
Arizona was a land of toads. I knew that there were snakes of all kinds there, though I only ever saw one that was alive, and that was at a great distance (though it was a huge damn rattlesnake, being taken out of a palm tree, and it's belly gleamed like a long greyish-white ribbon, in the car mirror.) I knew that there were scorpions too, that's why I never ever went and played in the palm trees, because that's where they liked to hang out. But I knew all about the toads. Toads lived in the wells of our orange trees. And I knew all about the wells of the orange trees because it was my job to pull the grass that grew there. You had to keep it grassless so that the tree got all the watering, not the grass.
One day, I got really bored with pulling grass, which had to be done by hand and I was hot and tired. So I put some water in the orange tree well, and went back to pulling grass and alternately playing in the mud. (I was eleven. I liked mud.)
After a minute I realized that there was a frog in the water. And then I realized that no, it wasn't a frog, it was a *toad*. Now I read a LOT of fairy tales. I knew toads were supposed to be ugly and give you warts and stuff. And this toad was certainly not a runner up for Miss America. Her skin was all brownish grey and bumpy, and she had a big broad head, and a body like a sack that got filled too fast and was lumpy in some places and saggy in others.
I was going to get a stick and poke her, but I decided that since she wasn't jumping *on* me I'd share the space with her. So I went back to pulling grass and making mud pies and she went back to whatever it is toads go back to.
But I started really *watching* her. I mean..you never knew when she might get a wild hair and attack. She wasn't a tame toad by any means. So I started to really look at her.
Her skin was still brownish grey and bumpy and her body was still squatty, but her belly was a kind of a creamy greyish white that was nice and smooth, and her feet were small. Her eyes were pretty, the irises were silvery. I'd never seen anything like that, and she seemed so calm and accepting of me, that I figured maybe there was..detente, if not friendship.
I named her Mabel. I don't know what her name was in toad, she never said. And I checked on her every day for a while. My parents were big believers in "Go outside and play". She never did anything spectacular while I was watching, like catch a fly or anything but she did have babies. Or rather, babies showed up. For all I know she might have actually been male. It was never discussed. And I tried to respect her privacy.
I named the baby who stayed Apricot. I knew what an apricot was, though I'd only ever had the jam. The fresh fruit was very expensive in Arizona and we were not wealthy, though as a kid I never realized that.
I'm not saying I'm a toad fan now. I saw Apricot only briefly, and then we had to stay inside for a bit because my father said there was a snake in the orange tree well. I suspect that Mabel and Apricot were casualties, certainly I didn't see them again.
You know, I have no idea why I just wrote all that down. Not one. Just a randomly firing neuron, and a memory I guess.
You're the classic freak. You've most of your
screws loose and don't mind showing it off.
There's just something about you that makes
people want to walk on the other side of the
street--even if it means crossing freeway
Smythe Reisner Abnormality Index (aka Freak Quiz!)
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