Toad licker

Bumps are beautiful

Teddy Toad had a bad case of warts. It embarrassed him, but there was no wart treatment for a toad.

“Why can’t I be a frog?” he asked his Mama.

Sighing, Mama Toad replied, “Because we are toads, sweetheart. You wouldn’t like being a frog. They spend all their time in the water.”

“I might not mind being in the water all the time if I had smooth skin. Instead I have dry skin and all these brown, ugly bumps.” He complained.

“You can’t change what you are Teddy. Your bumps give you personality,” she explained.

“Personality!” he exclaimed. “I don’t want personality! I want beautiful skin No one ever calls me Pretty Boy!”

“Calm down son. I’ll talk to Daddy Toad and see if we can take you to see a dermatoadalgist. I heard just the other day that Sparky went to the orthodogist and had his overbite fixed. The mail man isn’t going to appreciate that.”

Teddy’s eyes looked glassy and sad. He didn’t see humor in Mama comparing his situation to the neighbor’s stupid dog. Mama Toad was concerned he might be going to the mushroom farm next door to sooth his sadness, but decided not to mention her suspicions. “We will figure something out. Don’t hop off to far. Daddy will be home soon and I have fly soup on the stove for dinner.”

“Yes Mama” he replied already hopping towards the door. “I’ll be right outside.”

The weather was beautiful and Teddy took advantage of it stretching out his long legs in the sun. He wasn’t sure when his dad would return. Closing his eyes he drifted off, the sun warming his cold-blooded body. I’m too sexy for my skin, he thought as he settled into the first stage of sleep.

I’m too sexy for my skin…too sexy for my skin. He looked at his reflection in the mirror and sighed. I’ll just peel my skin off and see what’s underneath. It has to be better than the bumpy mess I have now. Reaching back he realized he couldn’t do this himself. A mouse joined him at the mirror and asked what he was doing. “I have to shed my skin,” he answered. “Will you help me please?”

“Certainly,” the mouse replied. “What should I do?”

“Pull my skin off with your little paws,” Teddy said beginning to wonder if this process might hurt. The little mouse sat up and rubbed its front paws together preparing to assist his new friend. Not sure exactly how to proceed he nervously reached out with his tiny paw. Teddy was ready but the mouse hesitated. “Come on mousy! Just grab my skin and tug!” he encouraged. Mousy reached out and grasped a bump in each paw and tugged. The bumps didn’t budge. “Pull harder!” Teddy cried. Mousy yanked the warts with all his might but had no effect on Teddy’s skin.

“I’m sorry but I can’t pull your skin off. I must not be strong enough.” Mousy explained. He twitched his whiskers wondering why a toad would want to remove his skin. “Good luck!” he wished as he scuttled off.

Mama Toad watched Teddy as he soaked up the sun. She was deeply concerned about his desire to shed his toad skin. She found his warts adorable and no different than those on her and Daddy Toad’s skin. Daddy Toad was gorgeous in her eyes and she was proud to be his wife. They lived a good life in their private toad home. All her babies but Teddy were grown and out on their own. Teddy was her last egg to split. It’s hard for any momma to see her last child grow into their skin and enter the world on their own four feet. Mama Toad began to tear up watching Teddy snooze in the yard. She dried her eyes with a piece of leaf and went back to her soup.

I’m flying Teddy thought as he flapped his wings. This is amazing! Why would I want to be a frog if I can be a bird? He tilted his body to the right and soared over the neighbor’s farm. Teddy saw the pond below him and laughed. No, I don’t want to be a frog after all. This was a bird’s life and he liked it. He glanced briefly at his wings and realized they weren’t wings after all, just his spindly legs. My wings…my wings! Where did they go he thought frantically as he fell from the sky. He made a splash into the water drawling the attention of Sparky who was lazing in the sun. Sparky dashed toward the pond to see what made such a splash. “Help me! Help me!” Teddy cried forgetting he could swim just like the frogs in the pond. Sparky dove into the water without hesitation. He paddled to Teddy and gently grasped him with his newly aligned teeth. He swam back to land and carefully laid Teddy on the ground. He wasn’t moving and Sparky was very concerned he didn’t make it in time. Sparky barked excitedly hoping to bring Teddy back from the deep abyss. Teddy’s legs began to twitch, showing signs of life. Sparky began to lick him hoping this was the turning point and Teddy would survive.

“Sparky! Get the hell away from that nasty toad!” Becky screamed. She raced across the yard towards the pond waving a checkered dishtowel at her dog. “Stop licking that toad!” she screeched at a high pitch, closing in on the pair quickly. Sparky raised his head acknowledging his owner voice and backed away from Teddy. Becky separated the two, pulling Sparky back by his collar. “That is disgusting licking a toad. Next you’ll have warts growing on your tongue and will need another trip to the damn orthodogist. Fixing your teeth cost enough!” she admonished.  She picked up the toad with the dishtowel and tossed it back into the pond. Sparky whined and tried to chase after the toad. “Oh no you don’t. Get your furry ass back on the porch,” Becky ordered.

Teddy awoke suddenly; his legs twitched in spasms. He was in sinking in the pond and confused by what was happening. Swim he thought. He began moving his legs and swam toward the surface. As his bumpy head broke the surface he felt something grab his leg and pull him to the edge. He was safe at last. Mama and Daddy Toad were by his side checking over his body for signs of injury.

“Oh Teddy, what were you doing? You’re not a frog, you’re a toad!” Mama Toad cried. 

Daddy Toad looked Teddy in the eyes, “Son, your Mama told me you wanted to be a frog. Is that what you were trying to be?”

“No Daddy, I wasn’t trying to be a frog,” he replied. “I remember I was hopping through the mushroom field and ran into a field mouse. He tried to wrestle my warts off but they wouldn’t budge. Then I was flying like a bird but I didn’t have wings so I fell into the pond. Sparky saved me from drowning but his owner tossed me back in. It took all my might to swim to the surface and then you pulled me to shore.” Teddy had a crazed look in his eyes causing Mama and Daddy Toad concern. Mama Toad knew that look. She had seen it in the past with Teddy’s brothers and sisters.

“Teddy, we want you to stay out of the mushroom fields. That fungus is bad for your skin.”

“Yes Momma, I understand now. I promise to stay away from the ‘shrooms and take better care of my skin.” Relieved by Teddy’s recovery and sincere words, the three hopped back to their house and sat down for a family dinner.

~P.

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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