by Bryan Russell
The Mating Calls of Frogs
A whisk of green motion in the grass. Elin looks down. She’s seventeen and saddened by the number, by the perilous ambiguity of it. It’s a shiftless number, not quite one thing and not quite the next.
Blades of grass move. A blinking frog, green skin amidst green grass. Two eyes, and an oddly hollow bubble beside them, as if a third eye had once been attempted. The frog makes a little jump, skewing to the left.
It has seven arms. On the left side it has the normal two limbs, but on the right side it has five, a cluster of reaching hands and sticky fingers.
They are all like that, Elin thinks, kiss or no kiss. So many hands, so many sticky fingers. Carlos taking the pictures of her, laughing over her naked shoulder. Elin never knew. Not before the rest did.
They all took a grab at her after that. John, Kev, Marcus, Dick. Dick. They should all be named Dick, the world simply being honest with itself.
The frog jumps its tilted little jump. It blinks at her.
Elin brings her foot down on the frog and it explodes. Blood squirts out and stains the grass. Seven arms wave out from beneath her sandal.
Her sandal is stained and damp. She lifts her foot, studies the wet ruin in the grass.
She takes off the sandals. The grass is cool and sharp on her feet and she walks, walks a thousand miles on a road of grass, walks to Mexico until her feet reach the hot white sand and the salty Pacific rushes up to wash them clean.