This was written for a story-writing my friends and I had. The topic was a modern retelling of classic fairytales. Mine? The Frog Prince.
I dropped myself on the bank of the creek and looked around with a sigh. A gentle breeze tossed leaves into the water that were spirited away by the swift current. It was a really nice day, but, besides me, the park was empty.
I started humming show tunes and fell back to watch for shapes in the clouds. An elephant flew by. Followed by a snowman. Then a duck. I needed to get a hobby.
"Hello?" someone said.
I looked around, but there wasn't anyone to see. Great. I was hearing voices.
"Here," the voice said again. "Down here."
I sat up and still saw no one. I looked down at the creek's edge and saw a little spotted frog hopping up to me.
"Hi," it said. I froze.
Holy crap. A frog was talking to me. I stared down at it.
"I know," it said. "Talking frog. Not normal."
"Damn right," I said. Okay. So, now I was talking to a talking frog.
"Could you do me a favour?"
"Okay, here's the thing: I'm not a frog."
"Well you're looking pretty frog-like."
"I mean, I'm human. I was just turned into a frog."
I laughed. "Sure, I get it now." Someone drugged me.
The frog could sense my skepticism. " Just let me explain it to you. Please."
I blew wavy straw-coloured hair away from my face with a huff. "Fine." If this was a dream? What the hey. If it was real? Whatever. Could be interesting.
"Great!" the frog said. "Pick me up!"
I did and raised it to eye level. "You got a name?" I asked.
"Dan March. You?"
"Alice Pilloire. Nice to meet you. Now, what's the story?"
I must have looked crazy, sitting in the grass staring down a frog. But that's what I did while the frog – Dan retold his tale. "So a few months ago my crazy ass grandma decided that young people didn't appreciate anything anymore. And she thought I was the devil. So she turned me into a frog."
I arched an eyebrow. "Hard to believe."
"She also thought my cousin was queen of Jamaica. She's nuts, but she has a…gift."
"A magical gift for turning people into frogs?"
"More or less."
I shrugged. "Okay."
"You believe me?"
"Well, it's either that, or I'm crazy. So…"
Dan ribbited. "Great! So kiss me!"
I think he smiled. "Apparently that's the only way I can change back – if a girl kisses me."
"Sounds like a fairytale – awakened by true love's kiss," I said with a dramatic flourish.
"It is what it is."
"Okay, well," I said. "It's a no for the kiss."
"Could you at least let me live with you?"
"Well, a) because I'll get food and won't be food," he said. "And b) you believe me. Who else would?"
"Well, I don't—"
"If you leave me I'll die. Might as well just kill me now."
I rolled my eyes and sighed. "Fine." This could be fun.
And so I set off for my apartment holding my new talking frog buddy.
Throughout the next two weeks Dan and I 'bonded'. We watched movies and played games and just hung out. And yes, it was as lame as it sounds. And I had gotten used to Dan being a talking frog. Sure, a couple times I woke up and found him on my face, trying to make me kiss him in my sleep, but sharing my apartment with a talking frog had become the norm.
And about the kiss he wanted, he'd waited for months as a frog, he could wait a little longer. I was having fun with my froggie pal, but I still wasn't going to kiss him – so sue me.
I walked into the kitchen in a sleepy haze and yawned. "Morning, Dan," I said. He was on the kitchen counter in a shallow tank-thing I had constructed. He hopped out and ribbited.
"Happy St. Patty's Day," he said. "Kiss me, I'm Irish."
"It's June. And you're not Irish."
"I could be."
"How do you know?"
"You told me you're Polish."
He huffed. "Fine. What's up for today?"
"I don't know. Pick something," I said, dropping onto the couch and lying down.
"Hmm." Silence followed as he thought about it.
Over the past two weeks I had learned some stuff about Dan. He was 20 – one year older than me, he was born in Saskatchewan, and he aspired to be a pastry chef. And he had some interesting takes on things. Like he predicted that China would surpass the US as the world superpower in the near future, because we North Americans would invest so much money in their cheap factory industries they would eventually become the richest country in the world. This would result in another world war, with China victorious and the entire world communist. He also thought that there was money to be made in the tattoo removal business. Dan was an interesting character to say the least. And he was taking the whole frog thing surprisingly well. It was as if he barely noticed it.
"Let's just walk around and we'll figure something out," he said. "Maybe we can go the AGO later. It's free on Wednesday nights."
"Sounds good to me." When I couldn't see Dan, like I couldn't now, lying on the couch, it seemed like he was human. And as much as it weirded me out to admit – I think I was falling for him. Just a little though. A tad. Whatever.
A week later I finally decided I'd just kiss the poor guy. It must have sucked to be a frog. And what was the worse that could happen? Okay, so that wasn't entirely why I was doing it. I was also really curious as to what he looked like. But I was also doing it out of the goodness of my heart. Right? Right.
We were sitting on my bed watching Friends reruns; Dan was sitting on my shoulder. I picked him up and shut my eyes, pressing my lips to what I figured were his. When I opened my eyes there was a stunned looking boy with messy brown hair sitting on my bed in front of me. And he was naked.
"Ohmigod," I cried, spinning around and throwing my purple robe at him.
He started laughing and I turned back around, happy to see that he was covered. He threw his arms around me, still laughing. "Thank you! Thank you!"
"No problemo," I said, smiling.
"This is great!" he cried, staring at his arms and shaking them. "I have my body back!" He started doing weird things with his arms and hands with a huge smile plastered across his face and I felt bad for not kissing him sooner.
"Let's go get some dinner," I said. "We'll celebrate."
"Sure." Dan got up and looked down at himself – clad only in my short purple robe. "But I might be needing some clothes."
"One sec," I said and started rummaging through my closet. After five minutes I was able to find a few oversized guys t-shirts, a pair of my older brother's sweat pants, and a pair of guys board shorts.
We left the apartment a few minutes later, Dan in the checkered board shorts and a Ghostbusters t-shirt.
No matter how hard I tried I could not stop staring at him. One minute he was a frog. The next minute he was a hot naked boy on my bed. Before we had left he had tried to tame his mousy brown hair, but it was determined, and I decided I liked it. It suited him.
He looked down at me and smiled as we walked to the subway station. His emerald eyes sparkled and I couldn't help smiling back.
We sat in the back of a little pizzeria and chatted over a cheese pizza and cokes. I had happily discovered that Dan's change in species hadn't changed the way we act together.
"So," I started. "Do you have a place you're going back to?"
He twiddled his thumbs. "See," he said. "I used to live with my crazy granny. If she sees me again she'll most likely kill me. So I'm homeless now."
"You don't have any friends you can stay with?"
"My friends already have a zillion roomies. But I have an idea," he said with his cute grin.
His smile was making me suspicious. "What?"
"I mean I could totally pay rent and I could sleep on the couch or buy an Ikea bed or something and—"
"Wait? Move in with me?" Oh jeez. Actually, secretly I was overjoyed. Yes! Yes you can live with me hot frogman!
His smiley face changed to a sad, pleading face. "I'm homeless."
I rolled my eyes and tried not to smile. "You know what?" I said. "Fine. We'll see how it goes."
His face lit up like the fourth of July. Which would mean more if we were actually Americans. Whatever. The point is: Dan was happy.
Dan was thrilled to discover that he still had all of his money in the bank. And there was a lot of it. So over the next week he bought an entirely new life – a new wardrobe, new furniture, new cell phone, new laptop. New everything. And he put it all in the spare room I had been using for…absolutely nothing for some reason.
I too was thrilled. Not only about all the new shiny stuff in my apartment. But that my new roomy was a tall, dark, and handsome sweetie named Dan. Formerly Dan the Frog. I liked to think of him as my Prince Charming. Except I was the one who had done the saving.
The oven timer dinged. "Dan! You're cake's done."
He came running into the kitchen in orange boxers, threw on a pair of polka-dotted oven mitts, and pulled his red velvet cake out of the oven. I almost started drooling when I saw him in his boxers. I'm pathetic.
But the cake was another perk of having him as a roommate: free baked goods.
I found myself staring at his bare chest and made myself look at the cake instead.
And then I had a thought. It was probably irrelevant, but now that it had popped into my head, I was curious.
"Hey, Dan?" I leaned against the counter beside him and looked up. He was at least half a foot taller than me.
"Just a though – how'd your girlfriend take your disappearance?" I asked.
I stared at him. "You're gay?"
"I'm gay," he repeated.
"I hate you." My Prince Charming was gay. How pathetic is that?
"Sorry," he said with a blithe smile. "I thought you knew."
"Wait, but then how come you said you had to kiss a girl?" I asked.
He shrugged. "My grandma's a mean old hag. She figured it'd make it harder for me."
"Hmm." I glanced back up at him. Realization dawned in his pretty green eyes and his smile faded.
"Oh," he said. "You—"
"No! Nope!" I cried. Oh yeah, smooth.
"Alice! Why didn't you mention it before?"
I gave him a look. "Let's not mention it now."
He shrugged. "Okay, but don't let this bug you."
"Trust me, it won't," I said. Tiny little white lie. The guy I had been crushing on for the last month was gay. Of course it was bugging me. My Prince Charming is gay.
Chapter Two on its way!