(Warning: the following post may be inappropriate for young children, or those who love Frog and Toad)
There is a tradition at VCFA. Actually there are many. In fact, traditions keep getting invented with each residency. Pretty soon they’re going to have to add days to the residency just to fit in all the traditions!
Like I was saying, during the dance – or party, or prom, as prefer to think of it – there is usually a theme and a writing contest linked to the theme. The theme was Western, as the Old West, as in shoot-em-up. I wasn’t able to put together The Man With No Name costume I wanted to do back at Halloween, but that’s okay because I don’t think I could have done anything but pose if I was wearing that get up.
But the contest, right. So we were asked to have two characters in children’s literature have a Western style showdown. It seemed easy enough but I couldn’t find the right characters. After our faculty dessert night last night I had been mulling it over. What two kidlit characters would be natural (or unnatural, as the case may be) enemies fixin’ to gun one another down. Of course, as a writer, I needed to go looking for a reversal of some kind. So I start thinking the opposite of enemies is friends, and what two friends would make for natural enemies?
Well, Frog and Toad are friends.
And so I took the story of Toad trying to coax Frog out of hibernation as my jumping off point. And this was what came out:
Frog and Toad Are Enemies
(featuring Miss Sally Mander)
Frog ran up the path to Toad’s saloon.
He pushed through the swinging door.
The bar room went silent.
“Toad, Toad,” shouted Frog,
“Git down here!”
“Bah,” said a voice
from an upstairs room.
“Toad! Toad!” growled Frog.
“You stole Miss Sally from me!
You took mah gold! I aim t’ kill you!”
“I ain’t here,” said the voice.
Toad stayed hid in the room.
It was dark.
His gun was missing.
“I’m-a count to three,” called Frog.
“Go ‘way,” said the voice
from the upstairs room.
Toad was crawling out the window.
“If’n you don’t come down,
I’m-a comin up,” said Frog.
“Suit yerself,” said Toad.
Toad tip-toed across the balcony.
He hopped down the back stairs.
Frog and Toad came face to face.
“Goin’ somewheres?” said Frog.
“Same place as you,” said Toad,
“But not today.”
Toad pulled a knife out of his boot.
Toad put the knife into Frog’s belly.
“See you in hell,” said Toad.
“Toad! Toad!” yelled Miss Sally
from the upstairs room.
“Frog croaked,” said Toad.
Yeah, I went for the double puns (Sally Mander, croaked) but it fit, you know? I tried not to get my hopes up on this contest, but I couldn’t help reading it in a sort of Western drawl just to get a feel for the sound of it.
And I got to read it in that drawl after all.
And it was fun.