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Mr. Boston reminds us we should never be too hasty to judge a princessů


The Kissing of Frogs


Bruce Boston


Rank with the stench of pond water! Cold and slimy! Humpbacked and no-necked! The thought of kissing a frog disgusted her. Yet a prince was a different matter all together.

Tall and handsome. Square-jawed. Straight as a wall. His dark eyes laughing seductively into hers. Her cheek pressed against his gold-braided tunic. His royal purple cape enclosing her like a shelter as he held her safe within his long strong arms. Oh how she yearned to kiss a prince!

The thought of kissing a frog disgusted her. Yet she knew she would never kiss a prince unless she set about the kissing of frogs. So with sovereign ambition she steeled herself to the daily horrors of amphibian osculation. She kissed wood frogs and leopard frogs. Pickerels and tree toads and bull frogs. Ancient croakers and adolescent squeakers that were nothing more than tadpoles at heart.

And after a time she began to grow accustomed to the kissing of frogs. Their wall-eyed, bug-eyed stare that seemed to both fix upon her and gaze around her. How they at first squirmed within in her grasp until their small solidly muscled bodies settled into the warmth of her palms.

It was not nearly so bad as she thought it might be and there was even much that could be said for the kissing of frogs. The tender thump-ba-da thump-ba-da of their tiny three-chambered hearts. The way their slender prehensile tongues sometimes darted between her teeth and curled against the roof of her mouth to tease that ticklish spot just above her incisors and send delightful shivers winging down her spine. The taste of their cool skin like baby lettuce.

Then one day when she least expected it, when she had already abandoned all hope, she felt thick lips pressing upon her lips and a thickening tongue against her own. She started back and he stood before her. Tall and handsome (though somewhat stooped and not as comely as she had once imagined).

Square-jawed (with a hint of four-o'clock shadow). His gold-braided tunic (only gold cloth of course). His royal purple cape (a bit wrinkled it must be said). His dark eyes leering at her as his head wobbled back and forth upon its stalk of a neck.

As he reached to encircle her in the shelter of his long strong (though ungainly) arms, she could spy the dots of stubble on his chin and feel his breath like a furnace wind. She could see the long black hairs sprouting like the roots of pond grass (or a nest of writhing disembodied spider legs) from his open collar. She recalled the way his tongue, fat and fleshy and artless, had filled her mouth and left no room to breathe. The thought of kissing him disgusted her and she roughly pushed him away.

She knew at once that he was not for her. Even if he were a real prince (which she doubted). Even if he agreed to keep his collar buttoned and that paddle of a tongue to himself. Even if she could somehow learn to tolerate his outrageously pale and hirsute flesh, she knew he could never be the one for her.

And after all, there was a great deal that could be said for the kissing of frogs!