It was Fluffy who came out to fish this evening. I could tell it was she because she is a darker green than the others. Besides I had heard Eric rarking in the garage earlier , and I also happened to catch a glimpse of Gollum sitting at the entrance of his pipe. I sat and watched as usual. I reminded Fluffy of the potential evolutionary consequences of eating one’s own kin. She must have taken my lecture to heart because she caught only Gambusia all evening.
I noted, searching with my torch, that there were still at least five fat tadpoles swimming round in the pond, and definitely there was one for sure that was almost a frog.
Eric called a couple of times more from the garage, and then there was a great metallic crash, followed by an embarrassed silence. I hastened to see what had happened. Behind the garage door, leaning against the wall, are some lengths of aluminium extrusion offcuts that I had salvaged from the rubbish skip next door, where they make aluminium joinery such as window frames and insect screens. It seemed that Eric had tried climbing them, possibly while chasing a spider or cockroach, and a couple had fallen down. Eric looked unhurt, though I could tell he was embarrassed by his clumsiness. Anything I might say would probably be thought patronising, so I held my peace. Eric sat dejectedly for a minute or two, then hopped away, disappearing behind the shipping cartons to wherever it is he calls home and spends his quiet time.
I returned to the pond to find that Fluffy had packed up and gone home for the evening. I wondered if Gollum would come out. I flashed my tactical LED torch, set on a low nightstalking level so as not to blind any hapless creatures, and saw him peering out of the bathroom floordrain. I fetched my cooling chai latte and sat to watch a little longer. Gollum did not seem disposed to move. “Are you coming out this evening or not?” I asked impatiently. He just gave me his inscrutable Zen Master look.
I must have dozed a bit, because suddenly there was a new frog sitting on the hollow log. She was , I could somehow tell, a young female. Her eyes were golden in the dim torchlight.
“Oh dear”, she said. “I have been turned into a frog! I find myself here in this strange environment, and I don’t know what will become of me! How shall I survive like this?”
This seemed like a dream come true. I pictured it: Just one gentle kiss and suddenly in my arms there would be a nubile young maiden. A beautiful princess; alone, lost, nude and shivering with cold. Naturally the gentlemanly thing to do would be to take her in. Offer the hospitality of my home. And bed. And naturally, she would be grateful. Naturally.
“What were you before, and where have you come from? I asked.
She giggled. “A tadpole silly! from down there in the pond.” With that she leapt into the water, emerging with a small fish struggling to get out of her mouth. She pushed it back in with one hand, and swallowed. “I think I may be getting the hang of this now…”
My latte was cold. I swallowed it anyway and retired for the evening.