The house was dark when Simon walked through the front door. The kitchen light was on, and he could hear voices from a the old black and white TV his mother kept in the kitchen to watch while she cooked.
“Welcome home honey” his mother called out to him. Simon walked to the back of the house. She was there bent over, eyes fixated on the small screen and the long dead actors that performed for her there.
“Hey Mom. Is Dad home?”
“He’ll be working late today. I didn’t want to cook for just the two of us. We have some microwave burritos in the freezer and lots of lunchmeat. You can make yourself a sandwich. It’s ok if you want to watch TV until your dad gets home.” She said, without looking up.
“OK Mom. Love you.”
“Love you too.”
Simon microwaved two of the burritos on an old tupperware plate covered in white scratches and brought them to the TV room. He pulled out the metal Ghostbusters TV tray and dropped the plate on it. Time to see what’s on.
Looney Tunes or an episode of MacGyver he’d already seen before…Looney Tunes.
A pudgy looking middle aged man on screen had just found a box in a construction site when the phone rang in the Kitchen. His mom answered.
Hi Linda. I’m fine. You? No I’m not busy at all.
The frog in the box dances and sings.
Sure I know them. Well I know of them I should say. They live in the large house on Magnolia right? I always wave at his wife. She has a sad look about her.
The middle aged has now taken the singing frog to a talent agent, but the frog won’t sing for the agent. He only croaks.
Oh my God. What happened? When did this happen?
The man sells all of his belongings to invest in the singing frog.
She’d been in there like that for week? How did no one notice she was missing? God I can only imagine the smell.
Te frog is performing behind the curtain, but he stops when the curtain raises. Everyone sees only a frog.
I’m so glad they picked him up in front of her house, and that he wasn’t able to get inside. Imagine if he’d tried something at the school. Ms. Laurel is a sweet lady. She helped Simon when he was having some math problems. Feel so bad for her.
The man is homeless now sitting on a park bench with the singing frog.
I don’t know…I really don’t know. This was always such a safe neighborhood. Things like that don’t happen here. Well, they didn’t. Did you hear about kids disappearing over in Lafayette?
Believing in a singing frog has landed the man in a psychiatric hospital now.
I think two have gone missing so far, around Simon’s age. I can only imagine.
The frog goes back in the box. The box goes back to the construction site.
It is a shame. OK, well thanks for calling Linda. I’ll see you tomorrow a the race? Great. Bye!
She hung up the phone and went back to watching her movie.
Simon switched the channel to MacGyver and laid down on the carpet. He looked over at the faded bloodstain near the side door. His father had cut his hand on the circular saw. A lot of blood from a cut only an inch long. He remembered Dad’s face had been so pale, his eyes wide. He remembered the perfect little droplets of crimson reflecting the light of the screen. There are some things you don’t forget, even if you try. Simon traced the outline of the stain with his finger, then fell asleep.