While working outside around the house, I paid no attention to the little brown rock in the driveway.
Until it hopped.
On closer inspection: Not a rock. A tiny, rust-colored toad, pretending to be a rock.
Reminded me, for just a fraction, of story characters who magically transform themselves into creatures or objects to avoid detection from enemies…
I leaned in while trying to maintain a respectful, non-threatening distance.
“You’re doing a magnificent job of it,” I told the toad.
Of what? its tiny taciturn face seemed to ask.
“Of pretending to be a rock,” I said.
It sighed (I think).
What gave me away?
“Well, rocks don’t hop.”
Its expression: pure disdain.
“Toads don’t talk, either,” it said, as it turned and hopped away across the hot pavement.
Okay…so this story may not be toadally true…
The toad. Less than one inch long. Stone-faced, isn’t it. Can’t decide if I’d call it Rusty or Rocky. Or perhaps just Fowler, as it appears to be a Fowler’s toad, with poisonous warts…fun fact: apparently ALL toads are poisonous. Not highly toxic to humans through touch, only if ingested (gulp). Think of those I caught as a child and brought home in my metal Peanuts lunchbox amongst the crusts of my PB&J (toadally true. Honest). Would make for fun fiction writing with students when they study animal defense mechanisms: The Revenge of the Toads…
with thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the weekly Slice of Life Story Challenge
and, of course, to the toad