The problem with frogs is that sometimes they are covered in chocolate and sold as premium confections and other times they are simply bad, bad news. This was the truth as revealed to me by Wuckfit Juberock, who, in another time, was a good friend, his redneck tendencies notwithstanding. Of course, his memory becomes less and more with every year. We’ll have to see what he has left.
Sometimes we start anew, which is depressing, and sometimes we pick up where we left off, which is depressing. The point is it’s depressing.
Yeah, so. It was either Steve Ham or Zero who recommended that we eat the frog. They were always both so strange, and so we agreed because if nothing else they seemed to have the second best lock on primo psychedelics (after Pete Paisley, of course). We no longer speak, and when we did it was never the same– Zero and Ham, that is. Paisley and I talk, but only about how much we hate our jobs. Back then I think we were all afraid of time. Which is like death but slower. Now I think we yearn for the inexorable march toward the void.
Don’t worry. There is nothing in death that can hurt you. I’ve done it before.
But the frog.
It was cursed, or so pronounced Surf Nazi, who was always kind of our leader. We thought it would be funny if we could find two more of them and have a trilogy. I understand that there will never be another friend who dons the nickname Nazi, even in jest, because we have learned that history repeats and people are usually combinations of ignorant and evil. Or at least lazy and preoccupied. If you don’t believe me, you will have to keep waiting and see for yourself. You wonder what atrocities are like? Don’t worry you’ll find out. But Surf Nazi suggested we eat the frog. Somebody suggested it. I am so damn senile I can’t keep everything separate anymore. Someone suggested we eat the frog, and someone suggested afterword that it was a bad idea, and someone further proclaimed that it was likely a curse. I remember Tony Square just sort of gulped his portion down, shrugged, and said, “So it goes.” He was brave. Is brave. It is confusing. I am told he is a grandfather now. You can find them still in east Texas, three generations of screwups in one Ford truck.
I am getting ahead of myself, which is easy to do. It was only after we had divvied it up–the frog–and eaten it that we noticed what had always been evident. Princess Bethany had been lurking around as usual, stroking her pet frog, as usual. It was Thursday night again and the whole crap carnival was drunk. It was getting out of hand again, it was making too much noise again, it was revealing too much about all of us (and our guests!). Again. I suppose it was fun, but that kind of thing that has a shelf life, you know?
And then the frog.
We ate the frog. Princess Bethany laughed and laughed. She said, “Welcome to an eternity of here, now, this!” We will always be friends. We will never leave, we will be gone forever. Our dreams will never be compromised.
Ha. I for one will never get to open a very clever coffee house with shelves of poetry and philosophy and reasonably priced espresso beverages such as “The Nutless Wonder,” “The Chocolate Bastard,” or “The Crunchy Frog Supreme.”
We are all kind of soured on frogs, thanks.
If you ever wondered if you could go back, rest assured that you can. Would you do anything differently? Doubtful. You would still suck. Forever and ever.
Your friends are trapped on the same earth you are, that’s all. This party doesn’t have to stop. It just isn’t a very good party. It’s so….loud and bright and sickly, like someone vomited a circus. And no one you want to know is there.
And then, in her hand?
The frog was never a frog, or the frog was always a frog. This far removed, I can’t even tell what was symbol and what was literal. Either way I’m stuck with it, bound in the narrative of the life I try to tell. We all try to convince ourselves that it was real and held intrinsic meaning.
Or was at least interesting.
Then we die, find religion, get jobs we hate, marry someone who sucks the soul right out of us, and what is left is pretty close to nothing.
You can’t salvage it, can you? Not entirely. You look at yourself through different lenses at different times. But there you are, always the same, always alive, always dying. You tell yourself, “No, don’t do that! Don’t say that! Don’t feel too much, too little, nothing at all!”
You’re always the wrong time embodied in the wrong person, and someone you didn’t know just dropped you off on the corner and said, “Do the best you can.” But you can’t change any of it from there or from here.
So go ahead and look back, but know this going in: memory is just another devil to sell your soul to. All this flash and noise? Get used to it. You’ll be back, but it will never be the same.