The Spy Who Croaked
1030 words long
It's amazing what you can get used to. Talking animals? Whatever. But it's even more amazing what can still surprise you.
Notes from the author:
The words for the day were "lurk" and "bond." Bond, pond, frond... I wrote down, "What lurks in a pond? Frogs do," which led quite naturally to the first line of the story.
Sale Lake is a private pond and conservation area in a gorgeous, expensive neighborhood. The breathtaking back yards of several million-dollar homes are separated from Sale Lake by a public gravel path, fenced on either side, that lets random schmoes like me gawk at all the pretty in either direction. I imagine that my protagonist lives somewhere a lot more affordable but likes to walk up the Wonderland Creek path and around Sale Lake. On the other hand, the assumption that someone like her couldn't live in one of those huge, lovely houses seems suspect.
There really is a blue heron that fishes Sale Lake in the summer. She's never said a word to me.
“My name is Pond,” said the frog. “James Pond.”
Not that I wasn’t used to all the talking animals round Sale Lake. The whole neighborhood was. It’s amazing what you can get used to, when it happens right in your neighborhood. But where a frog comes up with a line like that, I ain’t got the foggiest. Might hear something like that from somebody’s pet, maybe, but I can’t see some runna-the-muck ‘phibian spending much time front of the TV.
Mostly the critters by the lake got narrow concerns. They got pretty narrow lives, if you think about it. First one ever spoke to me was a blue heron, and all she wanted was me outta the way of her afternoon fishing. “Go find your own spot,” she hissed, and I just about jumped outta my skin. Shouldn’t have. Spreading Sentience Syndrome was all over the news by then, and Big Joe next door’d told me the squirrels was cussing him out these days. I told Big Joe, when ain’t squirrels cussing at you, huh? But I knew what he meant. Still, it’s a whole ‘nother thing the first time you hear it for yourself.
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for September 11, 2015. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1030 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.
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