Author : David Henson

I was working in the lab late one night. My assistant Igorbot had left, but there was nothing for me to go home to since Loretta had moved out.

Left alone, I’d poured myself into my work even more than usual. We were on the verge of a breakthrough in transference. Tomorrow, Igorbot and I would conduct a frog-hamster mind swap. I should’ve been excited, but without Loretta it didn’t seem to matter. I had a shot of Adrastean Absinthe from the bottle I kept in my desk. Then I had a couple more. Then I had a bright idea.

My memory is a bit hazy — did I mention I’d had four or six shots of AdAb? — but for some reason I decided to get a jump on tomorrow’s experiment. I put the electrodes on the frog and the hamster. Then I had a couple or four more shots of AdAb. Then I thought — what the hell, the quantum implants provide more than enough capacity — and took the electrodes off the hamster. I started to attach them to my own temples, but I apparently had another idea. At least I have no other explanation for how the window got open. I do remember thinking — who wants to be a frog cooped up in a laboratory. The next thing I knew, I was hopping around my human body, which was crouched in the corner and drunkenly poking out its tongue. And I had an irresistible urge to get to the pond in Marsha’s Marsh on the other side of Konami Highway.

It’s a busy road. Traffic all night. The first time I tried to cross, I was nearly squashed by a lory, but I still felt I had to get to that pond. There was an opening, and I made it halfway across the eastbound lanes. Then I saw lights bearing down on me, backtracked, and froze as tires passed on both sides. There was another break, and off I hopped. I finally made it to the other side in fits and starts.

The pond was heaven. A symphony of frogs and crickets. The gentle splashes of surfacing fish — trout, I think. The water reflected a full moon, and a soft breeze rustled through the reeds. I just sat there on a lily pad and took it all in. I could’ve stayed all night, but knew I should get back in my own body.

At the road, there were flashing red lights everywhere, and traffic was at a standstill. As I was crossing, I heard a guy tell a police officer “I saw him bent down beside the road. Then he just … hopped.” I got a sinking feeling and looked at the mangled body on the pavement. Sure enough.

I started jumping up and down frantically, but nobody paid any attention till one of the cops kicked at me. I weighed my options. I could’ve gone back to the lab and waited for Igorbot, possibly got him to connect the dots. But then what? Put my mind in cyberspace or even a bot? Somehow that didn’t feel right. I was just so drawn to the pond in Marsha’s Marsh.

So here I am, croaking away on my favorite lily pad, happier than I’ve been in years. I especially love the fireflies — my own universe of twinkling stars. And they taste just like chicken.