Fred's Suicidal Pet Frog
Darkness fills my heart, and I welcome it, because I have no one to lighten my spirits. I am alone. Of course, one can expect to be alone when one is a pet frog who resides in an opaque terrarium with nothing for company but a flat rock. Flat rocks are not known for their feelings.
What is the meaning of life? The question torments me. Day after day I swim, I eat bugs, I stick to the wall of my terrarium. But my only apparent purpose is to be the plaything of Fred. To sit motionless in his chubby hand, lest I should be squeezed for making an attempt at escape.
Oh, Fred…the monster that plucked me from my slimy abode in the Green Pond, where I contributed to the future of my species by having sex. Fred is merely a child, but is ignorance any excuse for the forcible imprisonment of another creature? And the more pressing question; is he nothing but a dumb beast who I can plot to poison with a clear conscience, in order to regain my freedom? Or is he like me, a rational, thinking being with clinical depression and a need for companionship?
What is life, anyway? Maybe I am dead already, merely a puppet animated by a mystical force, to play out a story of…loneliness?
My toes are losing feeling. I fear that my body is shutting down. The isolation and my unstable mental condition must be killing me, one cell at a time. Oh, but there is Fred, he left my habitat in the snow while he played. That explains the numbness and the layer of ice developing on my tiny swimming pool. He takes me inside and I warm up.
I wish he would leave me out there, if he will not release me. It would be better to freeze solid and depart this world than live to an old age in a cage.
Winter goes on, and food becomes scarce. Occasionally Fred drops into my box-shaped world a piece of putrid flesh from some massive creature that has been ground into a pulp. My animal instincts force me to eat against my will.
I think I have seasonal depression.
In the spring, life still flows through my veins. The nights are warm now and Fred leaves his window open, and I can hear my brothers and sisters seducing each other and having sex. I miss the tadpoles, the clear night air, the freedom to croak as loud as I desire without being squeezed by Fred.
Time no longer has meaning.
Winter comes again, with no warning, and this time Fred does leave me outside. My swimming pool freezes solid, and so do I. When Fred finds me, I am stiff and lifeless, and he tosses me in the woods.
I awaken in a puddle of muddy water to the sound of raindrops. This must be heaven. I roll over and take a couple awkward hops. No, I am still in my old body. But I thought I froze to death. I thought it was finally all over.
Still, here I am in the woods, and I can see Fred’s house through the trees, and the tall pine that stands by my pond.
A thrill energizes my skinny legs and I fling myself toward the pine tree. I splat into a rock, but right myself and continue. Hop after hop takes me closer, and then at last, I come to the edge of the pond.
Ice floats in large chunks on the surface, and the air is silent save for the constant drip of rain. I watch and listen, but there are no signs of other frogs.
“Have you lost your way?”
I turn around. A winter wren stands nearby.
“I don’t know,” I say. “Where are the other frogs?”
“At this time of year, sleeping in the muck at the bottom of the pond. You should be with them.”
“Oh, you were that captive frog, weren’t you?” She sings a sad little tune. “How did you escape?”
“I think I died, but then I came back to life. Fred left me out in the snow, and I froze.”
She chirped. “You didn’t die. Fred must have thought you did, and threw you out. But you were sleeping, just like your family is now. When the cold weather comes your bodies slow to the point that you appear dead, but then the spring warmth wakens you. Not long now, and the others will wake up too.”
So I was saved by death. It seems so poetic, in a weird, twisted way. The wren wishes me well and goes about her business, and I find a rock to crawl under, to await the coming of spring and my new life having sex with relatives.