Episode the Tenth: Little Dot and the Singing Frog

By: Mr. E. S. Stranger

One day, Little Dot woke up angry. She had no idea why. She was just angry. She stayed in bed until she just couldn't lie there anymore and then plodded out to the kitchen for breakfast.

"Good morning," said her mother.

"Morning," she said. She poured some milk into a bowl for cereal. Her brother happened to be pouring some cereal out of the same box that she wanted. He was taking forever, she thought. She tapped her fingers on the table and snatched the box when he was done, glaring at the table. Her brother told her she should watch her attitude unless she wanted to wear her cereal bowl that morning. She glared at him and chewed hard as though biting his head off.

After breakfast, she started a puzzle. Just for fun, she mixed the pieces of a couple other puzzles into the mix so that she had to figure out what pieces made what picture. She decided that wasn't quite difficult enough and turned all the pieces face-down. For an hour she worked her three upside-down puzzles in silence.

Her brother walked by and stared at what she was doing. "That's not normal."

"Go away," she said.

Her brother took a piece, looked at the pictures on the boxes, stared at the piece, and handed the piece back to her face-up on the box.

"It goes with this one," he said.

Dot's face turned red. "You want to work the puzzles?" she yelled, standing. "Fine! I don't know why I bothered trying to work puzzles anyway! I can't even just work some puzzles!"

She stormed off to her room amid calls by her mother to stop and calm down. The door shut. Dot's mom went back to the kitchen sink. Out the window, she saw it was about to rain. Little by little, the drops began to fall, and soon a steady thrum sounded through the house. Dot's mom heard two doors open and one shut and saw Dot running by the window outside, smiling.

Dot had left Toona and Funny Bunny behind. Neither one liked getting soggy, and tumbling in the drier always gave Toona a headache. Jimi had looked in panic at the terrible sky water as Dot tried to get him to come out and had remained indoors.

She liked the rain, but her joy at being in it started to dull as she reviewed all the things that were wrong. She was wet and cold. Her jacket itched. Her shoes were soaked. Rain was dirty. She wished she weren't in the rain. She kept walking away from her house.

As she walked, she thought she heard a sound. She paused. Nothing. She kept walking, and there it was again. Four words, in a question:

"Is this thing on?"

That's definitely what she heard. It was faint. She walked quickly in the direction of the sound. For a few minutes, the rain came harder and drowned out the words, but then she came upon an empty lot and beheld a strange sight. A frog stood on a small stage holding a microphone. A few other animals, including some ducks, watched.

"So then," said the frog, "the duck says, 'Then do you have any duck food?'"

The ducks' laughter quacked loudly through the lot. The frog giggled and continued.

"Thank you! That always kills on the road! Ok, we've got a great show for you this morning! We'll start with a couple songs from Yours Truly. Are there any requests from the audience? Anything in the public domain will do!"

The frog sang such classics as "Three Green and Speckled Frogs" and "The Little Gray Duck." The ducks quacked their approval, and the other animals there, including some frogs, applauded in their own way.

"Thank you, thank you!" said the frog. "And now, without further ado, give it up for those masters of jazz, the hippest, the hoppest, Jiminy and the Crickets!"

The frog hopped away as the new act came onstage. Dot followed the frog to a clump of grass. The frog went in. Dot knocked on the clump of grass. A high voice answered.

"I answered you already. There's nothing to discuss. Leave me alone."

"You were very good," Dot said.

The frog came out of the grass. "Oh, hello. Sorry, I thought you were my agent. I'm not used to getting fans. So you liked it, huh?"

"Yeah! Are you around her a lot?"

"No, I'm only here this week. No steady gigs, ya know? So, you're from around here?"

"Yeah. The name's Dot."

"Well, pleased to meet ya, Dot. Sorry if I don't shake hands."

"You'll be here tomorrow?"

"Yeah, all week. Come back if you want. I have a few calls to make right now. Time is flies, as they say."

"Alright, see you tomorrow!"

"See ya!" called the frog as Dot walked off.

She returned to the house feeling serene. Her family avoided her some anyway. She told Toona and Funny Bunny all about her day and could hardly sleep that night.

The next day, she went to see the frog again. He was there the next day, too. She listened with joy as he told jokes and sang songs, and he told her about his career. At one point, he had had dreams of fame and fortune, but that dream faded with the passage of time. Even among the smaller animals, one had to fight to reach the big time. He had secured a modest role as a low-key traveling act, used mainly as a warm-up to more successful performers, and the years had gone by.

"Do you still want to be famous?" she asked her frog.

"No," he replied, "not anymore. I'm tired of chasing rainbows. No, what I'd really like now is to settle down and live out my days in peace. But I've still got a contract for a few more years unless I can buy it out. So I'm just making the time pass until then. A frog's gotta make a living somehow, ya know?"

She understood. She came to see him the rest of the week, and she always clapped the loudest.

At the end of the week, she went to the empty lot, but there were only a few no-account pigeons loitering. The frog and the rest of the show were gone.

Dot was ok, mostly. For a while, she was less excited by things. She wasn't really sad, but she wasn't terribly happy, either.

One day, a package arrived. On it was a note, unsigned.

"Every princess needs a frog," she read aloud. She tore the box open. Inside was a beautiful shower curtain decorated with frogs. Amid the frogs came a familiar voice.

"Hey, little Dot! Long time no see!" said her frog.

"Frog!" she shouted. "What are you doing here?"

"An anonymous patron bought out my contract and paid for me to come here. I'm your own personal singing frog."

She ran to the shower and hung the curtain. Every morning, from then on, the frog sang "Good morning to You" and talked to her as the water rained down on her. No matter how upset she was, it always helped to cheer her up.