The Magic Frog – Part 1 – Simon Receives the Frog

Simon was meandering home from work. It had been a long day, the transportation was packed and he was in no rush to get home so he could listen to his Mother-in-Law telling him about how her sons and daughters were earning so much more than he was and living in much bigger, better apartments. Her name was Leung and she was the mother of three daughters and two sons. 

He stopped off at a convenience store and bought himself two cans of beer. Taking them to a nearby park, found a secluded spot, well away from prying eyes where he could enjoy them in relative peace before going home. 

Simon Leung worked as a senior accountant in a marketing firm and the work was mundane, unchallenging and to be honest, downright boring. However, it paid the mortgage and put food on the table and his wife, Lily, didn’t share his Mother-in-Law’s feelings. She was happy with their lot and felt bad about her mother’s constant nagging. She made it up to him for putting up with her mother by being a loving and attentive wife. 

Simon relaxed, resting his back against a tree and sipping on the first of his cold, cool beers. His shirt would show signs of where he had been but at this point in time, he didn’t care. He finished the first one and set the empty tin down, opened up the second and it was then he noticed the old lady standing in front of him. She was obviously poor, judging at least by the state of her clothes and hair. She was looking down at him intently and Simon felt in his pockets for loose change. She was obviously going to beg for some money. 

Simon rose to his feet, his beer can in his hand and reached into his pocket for some coins. When he looked up the old lady was smiling at him. 

“Hello, Simon.” She said. Simon peered at her face, searching for a memory. She obviously knew him, but he couldn’t remember having seen her before. 

“Of course, you don’t remember me,” she said.”But I remember you!” 

“Who are you?” Simon asked politely, still wracking his brains as to who this person might be. 

“Never mind.” She said. “The important thing is that I know who you are and I know what you need!” 

Before he could think of anything to say, the old lady stretched out her hand and offered him something. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to take it, but, if it got rid of her then what was the harm? He took the item in his left hand without looking at it. The old lady smiled and turned to go. 

“Wait!” Said Simon. “Who are you and how do you know my name?” 

But she was gone, walking quickly for such an old lady, and was soon out of sight amongst the trees. 

Simon looked down at the object in his hand and saw that it was a rubber frog. Why on Earth would anyone give him a rubber frog? He wondered if it would croak if he squeezed it, so he tried. There was no sound, nothing. He tossed it into the bushes and finished his beer and decided that it was time to face his Mother-in-Law. He threw both of the empties in the nearest bin and set off. He suddenly remembered that his wife had asked him to buy some lemons for her mother. To forget them would be to incur more derision than necessary so he headed in the direction of the wet market. 

After a few moments, he came to the shopping centre, under which the wet market was located. It was then that he saw a neighbour. It was a gentleman by the name of Chan who lived a few doors down from him. They had been known to spend a happy hour sitting in the park with a can of beer or two. 

“Chan!” Simon called out, expecting a greeting in reply. It was entirely possible that they might end up having a beer together. Mr Chan heard the greeting and looked about himself. He looked in Simon’s direction and Simon waved to catch his eye. Strangely, there was no look of recognition on Chan’s face. It was as if he was looking straight through Simon without seeing him. 

How strange, thought Simon. Perhaps his eyes are getting worse. Chan was usually such a friendly guy. Simon shrugged it off and carried on. The matter of Chan’s eyesight reminded him, that he needed a new prescription himself. The constant use of computer screens to create spreadsheets was tiring his eyes as well. 

He stopped outside his favourite optical shop and it was there that it all started. There were two other shoppers, one on either side of him, and he could see them clearly, reflected in the shop window. But, where was he? He was standing slightly behind the man on his right and moved forward so that his elbow brushed against his. The man looked down but didn’t say anything. 

He brushed his arm as if to get rid of a fly. Simon made sure there was no one behind him and stepped back. No. He had no reflection in the shop window. He could see everything else, people walking past, but he could not see himself! 

A thought crashed into his mind. The frog! He had to find the frog! In a panic, he rushed back to the park and the tree he had been sitting under when the old woman approached him. He scrabbled through the bushes and, thank the gods! There was the frog! 

He clutched it to his chest as if it were made of gold and peered down at it. He looked around to see if anyone was walking in his direction. There was a couple but they were some distance away. Tentatively, he pressed the frog. He didn’t feel anything happen. Standing there he waited until the couple was closer and as they walked passed he said, “Good evening.” They turned to look at him and nodded, unsure of who he was and why he would greet them. He was visible again. 

Simon held the frog in his hand and a combination of fear and excitement rose in his chest. 

(c) Copyright John Stewart Sloan – 2017 – Not for Distribution 

Published by stewartgoeswalkies

Happily married man to a wonderful lady. Living in Hong Kong. In my younger days I enjoyed hiking, camping and rock climbing. I've trekked in the Himalayas and climbed Mt. Kinabalu in East Malaysia.

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