Rana, the Frog [First draft]

Yesterday morning, on my way into town, I went past a frog which had been squashed by the traffic. Unpleasant.

Then a little way along the road, there was another - then two more - all of them mashed by unknown tyres. There were many. It was disturbing walking past them, trying to avoid stepping on any. Repeatedly I’d pick out something that might or might not have been a squashed frog; and then each time as I approached it, the shape of a leg or a foot, or its particular combination of colours - pink and green - would confirm that, indeed, it was another who’d croaked his last just hours before. It felt wrong to see the pink parts.

I’d heard in the past about frogs crossing paths in their thousands. For so many to have been caught by vehicles - on a quiet road overnight - it seemed this must have been what had been going on here. If they had been that numerous, it might only have taken one big, oblivious truck going through to cause this scene of carnage.

Then on the way home after dusk, on the same stretch of road - living frogs. Again, lots of them. The faint light gifted to me by the screen of my smartphone doesn’t pick out the dead ones now (and I imagine nearly all of them are making their way through living bodies again now, picked out already by birds). The impression is of animals brought to life again by twilight.

Some hop away from me - just enough to get out of my way, really. Others freeze. ‘That’s how the wheels’ll get you’, I say to them in my mind. Some stop, facing me, in a dynamic stance, holding the tarmac in the same way Spiderman holds walls.

I stop and take a photo of one. I use the flash. On my phone-screen, he is even tinier than he is in real life. Not many pixels in the full space of wet road. I put the photo online, and my friends see the reflection of the flash in the road. Joel says, ‘The road sparkles like a frog’s eye’. Colin says, ‘It looks like a lone frog space traveller, floating in a galaxy’.

I think of the ones whose bodies are in the birds’ bodies, and where the rest of them might be.


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