Frogger

The two boys walked down the aisle toward the paper supplies. To the right, up on the top shelf, a frog stared off to the other side; three as a matter of fact. TRY ME. Adam couldn’t resist. Like a passing wind, the finger pressed, and as set off in rounding chorus, the three frogs began to sing. The boys continued on laughing.

Successful in their shopping endeavors, the two headed back towards the front counter to pay. Leading the way down the original isle, Jamal stepped lightly around the store clerk tending to the task of straightening the shelves. In front of him, a frog stared back; three as a matter of fact.

He was a short bald man, dressed in the Rite Aid Blue smock, typical worker’s apparel. Kenny was a lifer, so to speak. The other employees, most of them new and planning on leaving in a matter of months, conversed with and liked the odd man. He was friendly enough, but like most, had problems of his own. Occasionally dropping a joke or two from time to time, he minded his business and did every task his manager requested. Right now, he was straightening the shelves.

As Adam passed, his arm moved quickly. With an extension worthy of an NFL receiver, the extended finger pushed down on only one button, and the frog began to sing his song.

Kenny froze in place, as did the cashier at the front of the store. In a moment of blinding light, the frog ended his song.

The walls were made of metal; part of the reason the gunshot amplified so. Two bodies bled into the aisle. The chaos spilled out into the parking lot, as the blue and red-smocked employee stood crazy-eyed over the ripening puddles of blood.

Kenny thought, “Cleanup in aisle three.” He reached up to the frog and straightened the box to the shelf.

Down on his side, the gun barrel smoke wafted up and wrapped rings around his stubby forearm.

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Ten minutes earlier, Kenny stood in the aisle, a frog staring back at him; three as a matter of fact. Tim, sporting the proud blue and red smock, nudged Kenny in the shoulder playfully as he passed to man the front register. Tim head-nodded towards the trio of frogs staring blankly at the two employees. Before Kenny could protest or stop the action, his finger was extended and the song started:

“On a warm summer’s eveâÂ?¦”

Kenny shuddered a hot minute. He then looked at Tim with a crazed look in his eye. He had had enough of the frog, enough of the store, and enough of his life. His smile was disingenuous, but it was still a smile. As the frog ended his song, Kenny spoke.

“If I hear that song one more time, I think I’m going to shoot someone!”

Tim laughed.

Kenny didn’t. He simply continued his current task, realigning the frog’s box to the shelf.

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