Originally published August 24, 2020.
Toad woke up.
In his bed was last night’s dinner plate.
And last night’s water glass.
And last week’s pile of laundry.
“Drat!” Toad said. “This room is a mess.”
Frog opened the door.
“Wow,” said Frog, “so this is where all our dishes went.”
“I will clean up later,” said Toad. “It is time to start work.”
Toad changed into his work pajamas.
He reached under a pillow for his laptop and opened up his email.
“I have so much work to do,” sighed Toad.
He set his Zoom background to a picture of his room when it was tidy.
“There,” said Toad. “Now I am professional.”
Toad and Frog went for a long walk.
They walked across a large meadow.
They walked in the woods.
They walked along the river.
They stopped to take a break.
“I am already tired!” exclaimed Frog.
“My muscles have atrophied from being inside,” grumbled Toad.
Frog looked at his reflection in the water.
“I am out of shape,” said Frog. “I feel ugly.”
“You are not ugly,” said Toad. “You are beautiful.”
“I feel round,” sighed Frog.
Toad stared at Frog.
It was his most intense stare.
“Round is a beautiful shape,” said Toad.
Toad and Frog stood outside a French bistro.
Inside, a sparrow, two dragonflies, and a field mouse were having dinner together.
They looked like they were having a good time.
“Time to go in,” said Frog.
Toad and Frog did not move.
“Here we go,” said Toad. “Dinner time.”
Toad and Frog still did not move.
“Toad,” said Frog, “I do not feel it is safe yet.”
“I was about to say the same thing,” said Toad.
They were being cautious.
It was a good warm feeling.
Toad was sitting on the front porch.
Frog came outside and said, “What are you doing, Toad?”
“I’m waiting,” said Toad, “for my stimulus relief check.”
“We already got our stimulus checks,” said Frog.
“I know,” said Toad. “But it was not enough. I am hoping for another one.”
“What would you do with it?” said Frog.
“I would pay off credit card debt and get an eye exam,” said Toad. “How about you, Frog?”
“I would spend some on groceries, and save the rest for the upcoming month’s rent,” said Frog.
“Oh,” said Toad, “that makes very good sense.”
Frog sat on the front porch with Toad.
“I hope Congress passes the relief bill,” said Toad.
“Yes,” laughed Frog, “that would be a RELIEF!”
Toad did not laugh.
They sat there, waiting together.
Toad and Frog went down to the beach.
“There are a lot of people here,” said Frog.
“Yes,” said Toad. “Too many.”
Toad pulled out his tape measure.
He counted out the exact distance between their towels and their closest neighbor, a turtle.
“Sixty-three inches apart is too close by CDC guidelines,” said Toad.
“Frog, please tell that turtle to move away.”
Frog walked over to the turtle, taking care to keep his space.
“Turtle,” said Frog, “you will have to move over a few inches.”
“Why should I?” asked the turtle.
“Because there is a pandemic,” said Frog.
“The pandemic is fake,” said the turtle. “Wearing a mask makes you sick. This is all a hoax caused by 5G and planned by hospital executives—”
Frog backed away quickly.
“Let’s just go home,” said Frog.
“I am right behind you,” agreed Toad.
Frog looked at Toad’s calendar. The April page was on top.
“Toad,” said Frog, “do you think it is still April?”
“No,” said Toad, “I know it is August. But my brain feels stuck in April.”
“Mine too,” said Frog.
Frog ripped off the April page.
“Toad,” said Frog, “I do not understand time anymore.”
“Time means nothing now,” said Toad. “It is just the thing that happens between snacks.”
Frog stood out on the front porch.
“Toad!” said Frog. “Toad! It’s almost time!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” said Toad.
Toad ran out to the porch. The clock chimed 7 o’clock.
Frog and Toad clapped their hands together.
They clapped and clapped until their palms were sore.
“Are we the only ones still doing this?” said Toad.
“I don’t know,” said Frog.
“Can they hear us?” said Toad.
“I hope so,” said Frog.
Toad reached over and squeezed Frog’s hand.
“I hope so too,” said Toad.