the short story project


Jim Cowles

The Adventures of Freddy A. Frog

It was another glorious afternoon at the pond, with the water lilies blooming beautifully and Horsetail Reeds swaying gently in the summer breeze; the silence was golden for those who liked silence. The only things making a sound, were the leaves of the giant oaks, now shading the pond almost completely and fluttering as the wind passed through the silvery leaves; and then there was the occasional Dragonfly, lightly buzzing from plant to plant, darting here and there.  It was always beautiful at the pond, especially with the Cardinal Flowers boasting their deep burgundy foliage and vibrant red flowers and those humming birds, there in numbers, staking out as many flowers as they could handle and dive bombing all others who dared trespass. There’s only one other, lone figure in sight; it’s our hero, Freddy A. Frog.

“Who ever heard of a frog with insomnia,” Freddie said to himself?  “All of my frog friends are sleeping and here I am out here, wide awake on the edge of my beautiful home.  Hey, my buddies just don’t know what they’re missing. They’ll be up croaking all night later, but not me; I love to stay awake during the day and go to bed by mid-night. I can’t sleep past 6:00 a.m. They are pretty nice about it all; they let me sing in the croaking choir early every night, but other than that, I never have much time to make many new frog friends, because I’m usually headed to bed so early.”.

It may be beautiful here, but I am so bored during the day; there’s nothing to do and no one to play with around this pond. I tried to talk with a hummingbird once, but he talked so fast, I couldn’t understand him and playing tag with him was out of the question. I think I need some new friends who aren’t frogs, or hummingbirds; yes, I need someone who is wide awake right now and would like to have a new friend!  I’m just so afraid to leave this pond; it’s just not safe out there for little green frogs to wander very far, at least that’s what my momma told me. Oh, look at this; here comes a great big kitty-cat.  Wow, he sure is beautiful, but look at the size of him; Oooh, he’s kinda scary too, but I’ve just got to take a deep breath and be brave.  I think I’m gonna try to make him my friend. Fwewooo!  Here goes nothin!”

“Uh, Excuse me, Mr. Cat; I’ve never seen you around this pond before; may I ask where you are going on this beautiful day,” said Mr. Freddy A. Frog, his voice wavering ever so slightly? 

“Why, yes you may, Mr. Frog. I usually don’t come this way, but I saw you standing here and decided to come down and meet you,” replied Mr. Cat.  “I’m just going out to make my normal rounds of our neighborhood.” “And why are you making rounds of our neighborhood,” Freddy Frog asked?  “Well, you see, it’s my duty as a cat to make rounds to see that everything is in its proper place,” answered Mr. Cat. “That’s awfully nice of you, Mr. Cat; may I call you Mr. Cat, or do you prefer another name,” inquired Freddy?  “That’s awfully nice of you to ask,” Mr. Cat replied; “you can just call me, City; my full name is City A. Cat.” “Well hello, City, that’s a nice name,” said Freddy; “and thank you for letting me call you by your first name. What does the “A” stand for?”  “Oh, I never tell anyone, Freddy, but you are certainly welcome to call me City; should I call you, Mr. Frog, or do you prefer another name,” asked City A. Cat?  “Why thank you; that’s awfully nice of you to ask, City,” said Freddie; my full name is Freddy A. Frog, but please call me, Freddy.” “You are most welcome,” replied City; “it’s really good to meet you, Freddy; what does the “A” stand for?”  “Oh, I never tell anyone; just call me Freddy and thank you for being so courteous,” said Freddy. 

“May I ask you how you got your job of making sure everything is in its proper place in our neighborhood, City,” asked Freddy?  “Well Freddy,” City replied, “it’s not really a job; it’s just something we cats do, especially cats like me. You see, if I check everything and it is just as I left it the last time I saw it, I don’t worry about things as much and I can sleep much better at night and when I take my naps.”  “Do you worry about things that belong to you, City,” asked Freddy, “or do you also worry about critters like me and my things, too?” “Oh, my yes indeed I worry about all the critters; those like you, Freddy, as well as other critters in our neighborhood,” replied City. “You are a part of my family and I want you to be safe.”  “Why, thank you, City; I’m feeling a lot safer already. You see, I worry about going very far from my pond. Uh, City, I hope you’ll please pardon all my questions, but I am just a curious frog,” said Freddie.  “Oh,” said City, “don’t ever worry about being curious, Freddy.  There is no one as curious as me, a cat. That’s why I came over here when I saw you; I’ve never seen you before, but now you will be added to my routine.”  “Thank you, City,” Freddy said; “then, may I ask what you mean when you say, it’s just something cats do, especially cats like me?  I thought cats were all the same?” “Oh no, no,” replied City; “let me ask you a question.  Are all frogs the same?”  “Of course not,” Freddy replied, giggling; “now I see what you mean, but why did you say, especially cats like me?”  “Well Freddy,’ City explained, “I am what is known as an in-and-outdoor cat.  At night, my master lets me in, but during the day, I stay outside.  When I’m inside, I check to see that everything inside the house is okay; and when I go out, I check the Neighborhood to be sure all is well.” “Boy, you sure are one very busy cat, City,” said Freddy; “when do you have time to sleep?” “Oh, I like to sleep late at night and every now and then I also catch what everyone calls, a catnap,” replied City.  “City, you and I are very much alike,” said Freddy; “I like to stay up all day, but my frog friends sleep during the day so they can stay awake all night.  I’m wide awake every day, but I don’t have a single soul to play with.  How many kinds of cats is there, City?”  “Oh, Freddie, there are many, many kinds of cats,” replied City, “but I can only tell you about the ones I have met here in our neighborhood.”  “Okay, that would be something good to know,” replied Freddy; “can you tell me today, or must you go ahead with your rounds now?”  “Freddy, I’m so glad you reminded me,” City said, laughing about almost forgetting his normal routine.  “Freddy, I have a good idea,” he said; “why don’t you come with me while I make my rounds and we can talk on the way?”  “Wow City, I’d just love to hop along with you,” said Freddy; “do you mind if I call you my friend?”  “Oh, what a silly question, Freddy,” replied City; why wouldn’t I want you as a friend?”  “Well, City,” Freddy answered, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m little and I’m green and I have no coat like you; on the other hand, you are a big dude and have a beautiful coat of many colors.  Physically, we are not alike at all, but I like you and I would like to call you my friend.”  “Freddy, I like you too and there is no reason we cannot be friends; what we look like on the outside doesn’t matter at all.  Let’s set a good example for our neighborhood,” City said, his Calico coat gleaming in the sun.  “You and I are forever friends now, Freddy.  So, would you like to go with me while I make my rounds?”  “Boy, oh boy, you bet I would, friend,” replied Freddie.  “Then hop up on my back and take a ride, my friend,” said City. “Wow! Thank you, City,” said Freddie; “what a view from up here; where shall we go first?”  “Freddy, our first stop will be at a house where a friend lives,” said City.  “She is a beautiful cat named Alice H. Cat and she can never come outside to play.  It’s important that I see her every day to make sure she is okay.  She counts on my visit, too and is always waiting in the window to see me.” “ Why can’t she come outside,” asked Freddy? “Oh, the H in her name stands for ‘House’ and she doesn’t know her way around outside.  Her masters are just afraid she might get lost,” replied City.  “But you could show her around, couldn’t you City,” asked Freddy? “Indeed I could, Freddy,” said City, “but her masters do not know me.”  “Well, why don’t you introduce yourself, City,” asked Freddy?  “Well, to tell you the truth, Freddy, I’m afraid they might want to make me a house-cat too and I could not allow that.  I’m happy in my home with my Master, because he lets me have the outdoors as a sanctuary,” City replied. 

“What is a sanctuary, City,” asked Freddy? “Oh, you do ask a lot of questions, don’t you Freddy,” laughed City?  “Well, a sanctuary is a neighborhood.  It’s where we live, answered City.”  “So we both live in a sanctuary then, huh,” said Freddy?  “In a sense, yes,” replied City. “Well, it’s certainly a beautiful sanctuary,” Freddy said, smiling. “City, will you introduce me as your new friend, to your old friend,” asked Freddy?  “You bet I will, Freddy,” replied City; “she doesn’t have many friends and I believe she would love to have you as a new friend.” “How far away does she live, City,” asked Freddy?  “Oh, she’s just a few houses down the road, replied City; now hold on tight and we’ll get there in a jiffy.” “Oh City, are you allowed to cross this wide road, asked Freddy?  I never cross this road; my momma told me to stay away from it because it is so dangerous.”  “That’s okay, Freddie,” City replied; “I learned to cross it a long time ago and if you are very cautious you can do it, too.  First you look left, then right, and then left again.  And listen, Freddie; listen carefully to see if you hear a car or a truck coming before you jump onto the pavement.”  “But City, I am little and I hop-hop so slowly; you are sleek and move so quickly,” Freddie said.  “I am not afraid when I am on your back, but I would be very afraid to cross by myself.”  

“Freddie, I think we have just learned a friend lesson; you are my friend and friends help friends. Any time you want to go to the other side of this road, just come find me; I hang around the farmhouse most of the day. I will gladly transport you and I will even come get you at the time you desire,” City said, smiling and purring.  “You are my forever friend and I am so proud you are.” “Oh, thank you, City,” Freddy said. “You and I have only known each other a little while and although we are very different, we became friends so quickly; I am so very proud you are my friend, too.” 

“You are very welcome,” City replied; “we are almost there, Freddy.  Okay now, hold on while I jump up on that window ledge. Here we go, yippee – Alice should be just on the other side of the window pane.  Yes, there she is – Hello Alice.  Hang on now Freddy, while I greet her, okay?”  “Okay, City, is this how you greet all your friends.” Freddy asked?  “Yes. Is most surely is, Freddy,” City replied.  “I am just letting her know I care for her.  The next time I greet you, I will do exactly what I’m doing now.  I will rub against you, back and forth, just like this.”  “She’s doing it too,” Freddy said; “why not just say hello, City?  Why do you need to rub against your friend?”  “Freddy, have you ever seen two human friends when they greet each other,” City asked?  “They touch hands and shake them, sometimes for a long time.  They even hug each other, or pat each other on the back.  You see, that is a good way to show affection and we cats have our own way.  What do frogs do, Freddy?”  “Well City, near as I can tell, about all we do is sit around croaking back and forth to each other,” Freddy said.  It makes an interesting pass time and it’s good to help us tell if a frog is a tenor, baritone, or bass.  Of course, we have lady frogs in the choir too and most of them are either Alto or Soprano.  Oh yeah, we do eat bugs together and such, especially from around the pond and the farmer’s garden’ my daddy says that’s an important job, but I suppose that’s not what we are really talking about. Anyway, I know we don’t do any rubbing and weaving with each other.” “So, you say you eat bugs, Freddy,” City asked?  “Yes we do and lots of them; do you eat bugs too, City,” Freddy inquired? “Oh, sometimes I do, Freddy, but I’d rather eat the food my master feeds me. It tastes so much better than a bug to me,” replied City. “By the way, Freddy, why do frogs croak,” City asked?  “Oh City, that lets friendly frogs know you like them and would like for them to visit,” Freddy replied. “And do you visit other frogs, Freddy,” asked City?  “Oh, yes indeed we do and when we get together, we croak up a storm,” Freddy retorted. “We even spoon by the light of the moon.  You see, croaking is not only our way of telling our friends, hello, it is also a way to make beautiful music and maybe even woo a beautiful lady frog.  Have you ever heard us at night, City?”  “Oh, you bet I have, Freddy, but maybe we should talk more about your beautiful music later, okay?  I do not want to be rude to Alice and forget to introduce you.”

“Oh, indeed, said Freddy.  I do not want her to think I am a rude frog, either.” Freddy said. “I would surely love to have her as a friend.”  “Alice, oh Alice, it is so good to see you again, purrrrr,” said City.  “Alice, I would like to introduce you to my new friend, Mr. Freddie A. Frog.  He has allowed me to call him Freddie.  Freddy, this is my good friend, Alice House-Cat and she has allowed me to call her Alice.  This glass pane is between us, but sometimes, when it’s pleasant outside, her master will open this window so there is only a screen between us now; then we can greet each other so much better. Please speak up so she can hear you.” “Oh, it’s so nice to meet you Miss Alice House-Cat,” Freddy said, speaking more loudly; “may I call you Alice?”  “Why, I would be honored if you did,” Mr. Freddie A. Frog, Alice replied; “may I call you, Freddy?”  “Oh, I would be honored as well, Alice,” said Freddy.  “It’s really so nice to have new friends who are not frogs.  You have a beautiful coat just like City, but it is a little different color, isn’t it?  “Yes, it is Freddy; I am called an ‘American short-hair,’ Alice said, “and City is what is known as a ‘Calico.’  We are quite different in color, but we still like each other very much; we are good friends.  Without our coats, we are exactly alike, except City is a boy and I’m a girl. Freddy, please know that your color doesn’t matter to me at all; in fact, you are a very beautiful color. Are all frogs green?”  “Oh, thank you Alice, you are very beautiful too,” said Freddy.  “No, there are frogs of many colors, just like there are cats of many colors, but like you, without our skin, I imagine we would all look very much alike.  In fact, I guess we would be alike, except for our size. There are a lot of big frogs and a lot of tiny frogs. I’m just a medium frog, but I have both little and big frog friends.”  “Oh how nice,” replied Alice.  “Alice, even though we are very different, may we be friends too,” asked Freddy? “Oh yes indeed, Freddy, Alice said; “I would count it a privilege to call you my friend,” answered Alice. “All right then,” Freddy said, laughing; “it’s settled!. I am so lucky; I have made two new friends today and neither is a frog. It is so good to know both of you.”

“City, it is getting darker and I am supposed to sing bass in the pond choir tonight. Do you think you could take me back across the road to the pond right quick like?  I don’t want to be rude, but like you, I do have certain obligations.” “Why, yes,” City replied, laughing. “I’ll take you back right now and then I’ll make the rest of my rounds afterward.”

“Hey, Freddy; maybe you could introduce me to some of your frog friends? I’ve never had a frog friend until I met you.” “You bet I can, City,” replied Freddy.  “City, If you don’t mind, I’d also like to jump on your back another day, maybe when you make your early rounds,” Freddy said.  “Would that be okay, my friend?”  “Why, that’s a good idea, Freddie,” replied City.  “That way you can spend time with me during the day; I do get lonely at times.  Then later, you can go to the pond and sing bass in your choir. I was just thinking the other day that I need a friend like you, Freddy; someone who isn’t a cat.”  “Oh, it’s so good to have a friend like you, City,” Freddy said; “someone who isn’t a frog.  Yes indeed, I look forward to many adventures with you and I’m so glad you feel the same.” 

“Bye Alice, my beautiful new friend; it was so nice meeting you and I’ll see you again real soon!”  “Bye,bye, Freddy, so nice to meet you too,” said Alice; “we’re friends for life, Freddy.”  “You bet we are,” replied Freddy. “City, if you are ready, I think I’m going to introduce you to old Farley Frog; I know you’ll like him.  If you listen to our chorus tonight, he’s the one with the high tenor voice.” “Oh boy,” said City, “I can’t wait to meet him. I sing a little at night, too, you know.”  “You do,” Freddy asked, smiling?  “Maybe you could join in sometime, huh City?”  “Yes, maybe so, but right, now, jump on, Freddy – see you later, Alice,” City yelled! “Bye-Bye, City,” Alice replied.  “Let’s see how fast we can get home, Freddy; now you’ve got to hold on tight, my friend. Here we go – Yippee!”       

The End










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