Here’s another installment of my book-in-progress, Grandma’s Masks. If you missed the previous installment on July 31st , click here to read it. Or click the Serial Fiction tab to read all the previous posts of Grandma’s Masks. Today you might find yourself on a cruise ship with a frog … and then what?
Her heart thumping in her mouth, the old woman holds tight to Frog’s hands, and they go Up, stretch stretch stretch, and at the last possible moment the old woman releases her toes and pushes off. They go sailing through the sky, over the trees, over the mouth of the river, up up up to the top deck of the Cruise Ship, and they land, safely on deck.
There is a party going on at the Cruise Ship. People are dancing to Salsa music, wearing flowers and ribbons, drinking party drinks, laughing and talking and making party noise. The old woman and Frog join a Conga line, cha cha cha-ing around the deck. The party is ending, and soon all the people dance and laugh their way to bed, leaving the old woman and Frog alone on the top deck of the Cruise Ship.
It is completely dark now, and the vast moon rises, full and sweet, and hangs low over the deck. The old woman and Frog stretch out on some deck chairs, relaxing and gazing at the beautiful moon.
Frog is totally entranced by the Moon. He gazes at her with love and longing. His eyes bulge even bigger, his mouth falls open, and his long red tongue lies limply on the deck. Suddenly he gives voice to a full, loud, throaty CROAK, which echoes over the Western Sea.
The Moon expands when she receives the Croak. She opens her mouth wide and responds with a croak of her own, which is so vast and booming it makes the deck chairs clatter on the deck and the glass windows shiver as if they were about to break.
Frog jumps out of his deck chair and leaps to the white railing of the ship. “Croak!” he calls, in a voice even louder than before. His croak streaks across the sky and the Moon swallows it with a gulp.
“CROAK!” she booms back, and this time the windows of the Cruise Ship do shatter, tinkly sounds harmonizing with the echoes in the croak’s wake.
Frog’s knees bend, and he squats down low, low. Then he stretches up high, high, his spatulate toes gripping the deck rail; and then down again, low, low.
He is practicing.
And then with his greatest and loudest croak yet, Frog springs high and releases his toes. He and his croak leap through the air toward Moon.
Moon expands until she seems to fill the Western sky.
“CROAK!” she thunders, and her mouth opens wide, showing her deep mysterious black inner self. In flies Frog triumphantly, and Moon shuts her mouth and swallows him.
Frog is gone. Perhaps, the old woman thinks, he is home.
The Cruise Ship sails on through the night. It is heading East toward morning, away from the West and the creatures of the Water. Where Old Trout is no doubt waiting still.
And so it ends, or maybe it is just beginning.
longing for the moon?
why risk your all on something
you can never have