I got my first official bonus from Regis, the owner of Gethsemane. I was dragging my ass into work at 6:30am when I walked by the boss, who yelled at me, “Hey, you!” because I guess that he doesn’t know my name. I snapped out of my 6:30am daze and spun on my heels to see what he wanted. “Hey, you! Take this!” And in that cinematically overused gesture where a soldier gives his lover a keepsake to remember him by just before he goes off to war, Regis, my boss, pressed something into my palm and closed my fingers around it. It was a toad. A big toad. The size of a Chihuahua’s head. He was cold and clammy and not very active; the toad, not Regis, who is more old and frumpy but becomes very animated when he is angry. So now I had a toad. It was resting comfortably, or what seemed to me to be comfortable for a toad, in my right hand. My pointer finger and thumb were wrapped around his back legs and his front legs were perched on the edge of my palm so his head was sticking out of the side of my hand. I looked at the toad. I looked at Regis. I looked back at the toad, he looked content as he was slowly warming up in my hand. I looked back at Regis with obvious confusion slathered across my face as I was now, quite unexpectedly, holding a large toad in my right hand, given to me by the owner of the store whom I had never even spoken to before, all of which was taking place at 6:30 in the morning. Regis grunted. His face alone told me that he was done with me, any potential for conversation was over, we did not need to talk about this, I should just take the toad and be done with it. I said “Thank you?” with as much sincerity as I could muster and spun back around on my heels and walked into the greenhouse. After spending a minute staring at and sizing up the toad I was holding, I decided to name him Sasquatch. I put him under a Mahogany Fern by our fishpond. There Sasquatch sat for four hours while enjoying the view of the frightened two foot coy fish and the screaming children frightening the two foot coy fish. He hadn't moved more that four inches by lunch time, when Regis said to me, “Hey you! Where’s that toad I gave you? I’m taking him back.” I went over the the Mahogany Fern, wrapped my hand around Sasquatch, said goodbye and calmly gave my new friend back to my boss, never to be seen again; the toad, not Regis who I see regularly and who now knows my name but still calls me "Hey you". I miss Sasquatch.
The next day, one of the schelepers (the guys that deliver the 50+ pound bags of soil to customer’s cars so that the common folk don’t have to do any work) came cruising into the greenhouse, hands clasped around some kind of treasure and said, “Dude. I got something for ya.” Yep, another frog. This was a tree frog, a little green guy. He was cute and jumpy and he pissed all over my hands. I named him Speeder and put him under the same Mahogany Fern with the great view of the pond. He quickly hoped away into deeper foliage and out of sight. I haven’t seen him since. I miss Speeder.
The next day, I was unpacking some six foot Oleander trees from California when one of the leaves jumped at me. A yellow tree frog, a sticky one with big eyes and long fingers, started hopping around inside the tree. He finally calmed down and I nabbed him. I dubbed him Slick (because he was sticky) and put him in a $599.99 collection of Bonsai Ficus Benjamina trees right in front of the Mahogany Fern. I figured that my normal decision of real estate, the fern, although alluring with it’s sweeping views of the fishpond and choruses of screaming children, didn’t have a very good track record with all these little travelers that had come my way. He catapulted himself out of my hand and into the bonsai pot, where he towered over the little clay hut and the painted little men playing lutes and going fishing. Then like the end of every Godzilla movie, Slick jumped past the Mahogany Fern and right into the fistpond, further terrifying the already skittish coy fish. He same under the small waterfall and I haven't seen him since. I miss Slick.
I told Regis the next day that, after he had given me Sasquatch, two other frogs had come into my life. He grunted. “Maybe someone is trying to tell you something. Maybe you should kiss one of um.” All that did was remind me of just how single I am. Maybe I’ll go check out Craig’s list.