Same Time Tomorrow?
Winter Contest, 2022
Dallas, Texas, USA
The Hockaday School
I really don’t think you’re paying attention, Flora. Yes, I know you’ve claimed, ad nauseam, that you’re not my therapist, but there you are: still rooted, even if you’re not particularly riveted. And once again here I sit, hat in hand, spilling my guts to you—and I swear you’re dozing like you’re going dormant. Well, I’m not buying it.
I’ll grant you that at this moment you look like you may be having a transcendent episode: leaves and face all raised to the heavens, like a televangelist starting to sweat because he’s short on his hourly donation quota. But I think you’re putting me on.
Anyway, like I was telling you yesterday, I’m pretty sure they’re out to get me. Don’t act like you don’t know who I’m talking about. If you would just open your eyes, you’d see these little poltergeists who haunt me. Fleeting in my peripheral vision. No more substantial than the mist rolling over these hills on an early spring evening—and no less chilling. It’d be poetic if it wasn’t so pathetic. Nevertheless, they torment me. They torment me like the double fudge brownie ice cream in my fridge at a quarter to midnight.
Ha! I saw you move, Flora. I know you’ve seen them too. I knew I wasn’t crazy. Every time I turn around, there they almost are. But just almost. Yeah, Mrs. Frog says I’m crazy, but these little dudes: they Freak. Me. Out. Even though you’re pretending to have ‘em closed right now, don’t even think about rolling your eyes at me. I’m a frog, which makes me a world class eye roller. You’ve never been given the stink eye until you’ve had it coming from the same person in two directions at once…
As if haunting me wasn’t enough, I think the wispy little punks stole my hat and then switched it out. I’m sure my hat was plenty big enough for my head yesterday. This one I’ve got now’s only big enough to cover one eyeball at a time. You see, they’re messing with me. Who does that to a frog? Makes me jumpy. And already I’m baseline jumpy. I need this supernatural tomfoolery like I need a vacation in a French restaurant with a chef who likes the classics.
I’ll admit that sometimes I get the feeling the little spooks actually do worry about me. I don’t blame them because I worry about myself. Look at them: all bug-eyed and “O” mouthed, peeking over hills and around trees. Yeah, they’re definitely worried about me. Or maybe they’re just wondering to themselves “Wait, I’m Dead?!?” But either way, they still creep me out.
Flora? Are you with me? You’re going to get a crick in your neck if you keep that up. And I can go like this all evening, so you might as well get with the program here. This is supposed to be a dialogue, not a monologue. I feel like I’m talking to a log. Right now, I’m needing an epiphany. Are you having any kind of epiphany for me yet, Ms. Serenity Face? Hmm? Well speaking of faces, I’ve got an epiphany for you: you’re about two weeks of not plucking your eyebrows away from being mistaken for a Frida painting. That’s for sure.
Still no response? I guess you love me not…
Hey! You little shrooms! It’s not polite to stare. Or to smirk. Don’t you have anything better to do?
And you! Bright Boy up there! Who did you get into it with last night? You must have really tied one on because it looks like someone gave you two big juicy shiners. I guess I should cut you some slack since you’re about at the end of your shift. But still, it’s a bad look: all spotty and even a little green, I think. Yes indeed, a bad example to set.
Out carousing all hours of the night is more like it. Now you’re even smoking like a chimney right in front of these little shroomies—right before you slink down for your nightly dirt nap. That’s quite an image—the last thing they’re going to see before they go to sleep: you’re hung over, taking a drag, surrounded by a bunch of maladapted kleptomaniacal specter stalkers. Nice. That’s a recipe for sweet dreams. Goodnight moon!
Wait. What time is it anyway? Are you little shrooms eating yourselves? Am I? Because one of us is on shrooms. Wait, I’m literally on a mushroom right now… OK—All of us are on shrooms right now. Hey Flora, those little shrooms are definitely going to need to be your next counseling clients after witnessing this display. Flora, do you do kids too?
Anyway, I see the stars are lighting up out west and the Mrs. will be wondering about me. Thanks for the chit-chat. You just go ahead and stay right there.
So, same time tomorrow?
Within the first few lines of reading [the] piece, I was immediately ensnared by the strength of the narrator's voice… Its absurdity (why does a frog have a fridge? why specifically at a quarter to midnight?) does a great job of referencing the whimsical and eccentric nature of the art... [Haden’s] interpretation of the frog as this rambling, slightly paranoid figure… adds a lot of intrigue and character to the piece.
Avani Haden is a Junior at the Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas and lives with her parents and two dogs who seem to have life pretty well figured out – the dogs, not the parents. When not writing scintillating award-winning essays, Avani likes getting caught in the rain (but she is not into yoga). She enjoys 70’s and 80’s music, served extra cheesy, and is fairly certain she’s going to marry a Hemsworth. She will let them fight it out to see which one is the lucky boy and hopes to be there when they do, so she can film it.
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