My New Collection Does Not Make Me a Serial Killer in Training

But it might be hard to get through Customs.

I’ve just noticed a pattern, is all, and in my defense, I have only ever contributed to the deaths indirectly. I’ve always been a naturalist at heart. Does that make it less creepy?

History

It started with the snake skeleton, which I found in the pool house last year. At some point, he’d slithered in and gotten stuck on a wad of packing tape and died (yes, I feel horrible!) and been picked clean (but that’s kind of cool). 

image

Turns out, there are a LOT of tiny bones in even a tiny snake. But I disposed of the whole wad because I felt so guilty looking at it.

Then there was the green anole I found out by the pool. Natural causes, I have to assume. Exposure to the sun had turned him leathery, so I gifted him to a worthy recipient.

And a few weeks ago, I’d gone upstairs (to pee, ok? god, you people are so nosy) and noticed the window in the bedroom was open. That’s normal for a nice day, but the screen was open, too. (We have the kind that can slide up and down.)

Good for cleaning, but bad, it turns out, for frogs.

Because apparently, a treefrog had crawled into some hidden suicide part of the window frame area. But not where I could see it, because it was hidden. So I closed the screen, and later, the window, and suicidal treefrog baked to a crisp. (Yes, I feel horrible!)

Because I only saw it later when I opened the curtain and it was lying on the sill between the window and the screen. No pictures – I was too horrified. I reopened the screen and flicked him off the edge, aiming for the flowerbed beneath. I might have missed and he might have *thunked* a tiny thunk on the walkway below instead.

Today

So, fast-forward to today. I’m sure you have no idea where this is headed.

KK dropped me off at the pool store shopping center, which also houses a large Christian craft store at the other end. I had forgetten to pick up some jewelry makings the other day, so I hobbled up to the LCCS while she saw to the pool stuff.

It felt like about half a mile of sidewalk, but was probably only half that. Suburbs = big shopping centers. At least it was covered and mostly shaded.

Halfway up the slope, I saw something on the ground.

Something oddly shaped. Neither wayward leaf, nor wad of gum.

Something dead.

A small, dead, mostly mummified frog.

Right there in the middle of this big public sidewalk, where anybody could have found it. And taken it. But they didn’t.

So I did.

There was only one lonely ant left on him, which I promptly flicked off.

A few more stores until I got to the LCCS, and it took me nearly that long before I realized I probably shouldn’t hobble into this family-oriented store carrying carrion. If they can’t bear opening on Sundays, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be able to handle a distinctly not-born-again frog.

I couldn’t drop it in my purse – I’d never find it again, or would only find it at some really inconvenient time. “Oh, you’d like to borrow a stick of gum? Sure, I have some right — AAaiiEEEEE!”

So I grabbed one of the Cars for Sale freebie magazine things from a box on the sidewalk and set the frog on that. Because somehow that’s less weird than carrying it in on your palm like a haggard zombie princess.

Once inside the LCCS, I grabbed a cart (to be less hobbly) and carefully set the magazine down on the kiddie seat part.

I was pleased to notice that all the glassware was 50% off, so I went ahead a picked out a nice little (canopic) jar for the frog. But I didn’t put him in yet, because I didn’t want to be That Customer.

I picked out my jewelry makings and eventually headed to the checkout lines, of which there were two open. As is my bent, I chose the one staffed by a young man because they’re usually better at not making small talk about whatever I’m buying (shit I can’t afford) and whatever I’ll use it for (shit that’s none of your damn business).

And so it went, until he asked if I wanted the little jar wrapped for safe transport or just carefully placed in a small bag with a couple of lightweight jewelry things that were unlikely to break it.

That’s when I slipped.

I said, “Oh, no need to wrap it. In fact, while I’m right here, let me just pop this little guy inside.”

I shouldn’t have done that. I should have waited until I was outside.

And he should have politely ignored me, like 99.9% of the populace does on a daily basis. Next!

But I didn’t. And he didn’t.

I flipped froggy into the jar, and genuinely polite young man cashier was genuinely interested.

“Oh, this? It’s a frog a found on the way here.” Before I put the lid on, I held up the jar, containing an obviously dead frog. See? My story checks out.

“Really? Can I see?”

“Sure. I kind of have a desiccated animal collection.”

And that’s when he took the jar, and looked in it, and stuck his finger inside, and poked the frog. That’s when I knew he had no idea what “desiccated” meant. Somehow we had garnered the attention of the mouth-breathing girl cashier and customer a row over. They clearly didn’t know what desiccated meant, either, but were determined to find out.

“It’s dead!”

“Yes.” Then, looking for a way out, “Have a nice day!” and I turned and left.

And I’m pretty sure that’s when I became That Customer.

Frog

Stephen King has the heart of a small boy…in a jar on his desk. I have the entirety of a small frog, who might be a boy and at some point, had a heart.

 

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