After a lifetime in captivity one Florida Keys resident’s private collection of pond wildlife, frogs and such, turned on each other. These beasts had enjoyed one another’s company in a complacent state until Sam, their caretaker, got his plans mixed up and the daily feeding was overlooked. The animals used to be friends and now there was tension. They went feral and they did not come back. They began to eat each other. Sam decided to turn the critters loose. “At least they’re tough now and can look out for themselves,” he reasoned, shooing them down an embankment toward a canal.
In the evening Sam enjoyed a meditative stroll circumnavigating the corral island. He absorbed the commingling scents of flowers and dinners cooking, and the sounds of music pulsating from low houses. He observed palm trees swaying and greedily inhaled the nourishing Caribbean breeze. Cars passed by slowly enough that the stink of liquor from the passengers hung in the draft.
On his way to the eastern shore Sam’s path took him by a young couple, two fragrant men, their fragrance knitting delicately with the hot night air. He wouldn’t mind a friend to walk with, Sam thought, and sniffed at the sweetened air.
Reaching the beach he meandered to the dark end of an unlit pier where flat wavelets lapped, shattering against the cement. He hadn’t seen them until he was almost on them. Two women loomed and asked him to take their photo.
On the return loop from the beach Sam passed his favorite church. Unpainted Pine, wide and squat, and a diamond of stained glass on the front of the tower. A cactus grew into the side of a fence. The night lights translated the driftwood grey to a matt purple hue. Sam discreetly flashed a peace sign and strode by, wishing he wasn’t always alone, yet unwilling to abase himself to the company of the women who would have anything to do with him. It had always been this way.
A while later and Sam was a block from home, he was crossing a street when a terrifying rattling noise made him spin around. It sounded like a boat was heading for him. He had only a couple more steps to take before he would be safely across the street. He began turning around as he walked. Swiveling he noticed it was very dark out. But he could see no headlights. Yet still he heard the noisy rumbling sound. Perhaps a muffler backfiring? He took another step, and he almost made it the other side when decidedly the sound grew louder. Sam began jumping now so as to keep his feet from vulnerabilities, hopping sort of and bounding the last step to the sidewalk, leaping over a gaping gutter, painted in red with, ‘drains to sea’. As he leaped through the air, to the safety of the sidewalk, he figured out what the dreadful sound was. It was frogs echoing in the gutters.