Sunday, October 15, 2006

In Order To Rid The World Of Bad Reviewers, You Have To Gig Alot Of Frogs--.

This is how I hunt for frogs now. I get in the water and chase them around until I catch them. If they write something horrible about me, I take them home and torture them with lengthy lectures about integrity and honesty and the American way. I make them read stuff they wouldn't ordinarily read. I make them consume flat coke and flies.

That sets them right!

I didn't always hunt frogs this way. In fact, I didn't always hunt frogs. In fact, I never hunted frogs, except once, and I am here to tell you why.

Hunting frogs is a horrific enterprise.

Did you know that frogs don't die unless you kill them?

My buddy Eric called me up and asked me if I wanted to go up to his property and go frog gigging.


That's what he said.

I have friends who go giging all the time. They are musicians. They play in a band. Gigging is all they talk about, so I assumed they enjoyed it.

So frog gigging had an element of fun pre-attached to it from the get go, and I assumed I would have fun gigging frogs and I said "yes" and it turned out I was partially right.

Ever go out to a gig and drink some beers and have a good time, but then the evening gets really late and you've had a few too many, and you have to find a quick way to pass out to sleep for seven or eight hours and it turns out to be on a dirty floor, and then you wake up feeling icky and dirty and there is someone outside your window pulling the skin off of live frogs by grabbing the skin with pliars and turning it inside out?

Well, that's what "gigging" now means to me.

Almost dead, naked frogs hopping from a table into the dirt.

With no skin on...

(Take THAT! Frog My Blog!)

So I agreed to go gigging with Eric up at his property near a tiny town called Booneville where they have a small brewery that makes a wonderful microbrew and a language that has been passed down generationally that ain't quite English. More like a collection of slang from a valley that didn't get out much, back in the day. I'm not kidding. They even have a dictionary made up for those passing through, in case you want to order something at the local deli.

I have a photo of this pond on my computer. Trouble is, my computer is in the shop. This pond I am talking about is about half an acre in size. It is covered in green gooky stuff and has a small row boat left floating around on it, which invariably is blown up onto one bank or another. The surface of the pond is pockmarked with lumps that stick up half an inch above the surface and have pretty much the same contours as one another. Heads of frogs and their protuberant eyes as still as floating dead things.

And they are everywhere.

I mean, this pond raises frogs the way a Mexican beach dog raises fleas. The pond is covered in them. It makes the pond look itchy.

Which is why Eric was talking to one of his vendors about frogs one afternoon at work.

And which is why the vendor, whose name is Hal, invited himself and his nine year old son to the property on the following weekend, and he brought his own forks.

OK. So not "forks" but gigs. Hal brought several "gigs" on sticks and showed up in an ebullient mood with a cooler full of Coors on ice and stories of gigging successes of yore and the strangest nine year old kid I had ever come across. Seriously, I thought this kid to be "special" in that designated way, and I did my best to be friendly and accomodating and never once let on that I thought the kid was a retard in the oddest and most unusual way.

Hal and the kid seemed to have an understanding, because the kid did what was asked of him, but he kept answering all queries to him with odd answers like --

"hehehe, you said "pole".

"hehehe, you suck!"

"Bung bung holio!"

And things like that. I later learned about Beavis and Butthead and I thought back from there to this kid and this day. This kid was just spending the weekend irritating his father with Beavis and Buttheadisms, but I had no clue at the time. I just thought the kid was nuts...

The four of us went down into town and had a nice meal at the restaurant and pub that was part of the microbrewery. We drove up the hill in the late twilight of a summer evening and got out on the pond with our flashlights and our poles...

"hehehe, you said "poles..."

...and Hal opened up his collection of cold Cooors cans and we started drinking beer and rowing quietly around the pond, talking in whispers, looking for eyes that looked back at us, like a pair of tiny pink sequins on a black dress, trying not to tip ourseves over, trying to stifle ourselves when quips were made, reliving our atavistic hunting pasts like real men whose lives depended on the earnestness of our actions...

"Bung bung holio... I want a bung bung holio. Holio. Holio..."

After many failed attempts, we got our first frog on a gig. Our four pronged gig had hit with three prongs, and these had gone clean through the ugly monstrous frog. The frog writhed in the air as I turned the pole inward and held the frog near Hal in the hopes that he would pull it off the gig and put it in the bag before I spent much more time looking at it. I am not, it turns out, a sadistic voyeur.

I guess this was a good thing to learn about oneself while on the journey of life...

"hehehe, that's because you suck!" (But I could have killed this kid...)

To gig a frog while in a boat with four males in it drinking beer, you have to spot a pair of pink eyes quite a distance away. Then you rowed three of four hard and quiet strokes with the pair of oars and set the motion of the boat heading toward the pink eyes. The boat would initially make a bit of a wake but then settled down and stayed in motion in a quiet and deliberate fashion, at a very slow speed, toward the pink eyes. You kept your light on those eyes and you waited for the eyes and your boat to close in distance. Any sudden sounds and the frog would dissappear beneath the surface in one swift movement and you were forced to sip from your beer and start over.

Over a short period of time, we became quite good at gigging frogs. They would sit there, not actually reading blogs and being critical, and we would jab an extremely sharp fork through their faces and toss them into gunny sacks and then get all lathered up by the kill and drink some more cold Coors out of a cooler and head on out to see if we could find another.

And of course, we could. The pond was infested with frogs. So much so, that some were actually starting to starve. The bug population around this buggy looking pond was almost nil. The air was clear and eerily silent above the water. Some of the smarter frogs were seen packing their gear and hopping down the hill to a larger pond far below.

We were doing the frogs a favor. We were "culling". We told ourselves this as we brought in skewered frog after skewered frog, working into our second gunny sack and having to catch escaping frogs as the bags spilled over and wounded frogs hopped out.

"hehehe, you said "sack..."

By the time the beer was gone, we called it quits. Exactly at that time.

"The beer is gone. It is time to quit."

We all had this same notion.

Ever get off a boat and find you have developed "sea legs" and walking on land was difficult? Well, we had sea legs for sure. All of us except the kid, who had a strange potty mouth and an unusual personality that snickered at us as we fell over and over trying to haul two gunny sacks full of oily, stinky frogs up to where Eric and I had built the shell of cabin. We got there wet and slimy from the oozing bags, rolled out sleeping bags on the plywood floor amongst the mice poopies, and woke in the morning to a brand new world, full of chirping birds and a mouth stuffed with cotton, bright sunshine and a headache that cleaved the senses, and Hal.

Slicing the skin around a frogs' neck, lightly, just the skin, and then grabbing this skin with a pair of pliars and turning the skin inside out, pulling extremely sharply, leaving a frog with a green-skinned head and an exposed pink and meaty anatomy, muscles that STILL WORKED as the naked frogs hopped off the table and onto the dirt, some getting five or six feet away before Hal would go and grab them and toss them back into one of the gunny sacks.

"You boys up for frog legs for breakfast? Come on out here and give me a hand!"

"Eric, I am going into town to wash up and get something to eat."

"I'm going with you."


Stucco said...

That picture and story brings two things to mind. One- I'm never again getting into a pond like that. Leeches. 'Nuff said. Two, there's a road in Missouri I know that at least periodically is lousy with frogs to the extent that when you drive down it you'll kill hundreds of them as they try to cross the asphalt. It sounds like "Toof toof.. toof toof tuh-toof toof..." Crunchy frogs lightly killed. Or flatly killed.

Scott from Oregon said...

That's the Illinois river in the picture, Mr. Stucco. TOo cold for leeches...

In AUstralia, they got Cane toads by the gazillions that you are required to run over if they are in your lane. It is a law.

Flat Coke and Flies said...

Here in these parts of Tennessee, I believe you'd fit right in!! Most mom and pop buffets serve frog legs as a delicacy, advertised on their homemade marquee sign out front. "ALL YOU CAN EAT FROG LEGS $14.99!!"

Which Booneville are you referring to?

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend you read a short story by Stephen King entitled Rainy Season.

Your blog is so weird that I must keep reading. ;)

The Gouda

Scott from Oregon said...

flat coke... NOOOO!

I cannot eat a frog leg. I just can't...

Gouda Gal-- Why, are there frogs in it?

I have a thing with frogs. They don't like me, I don't like them...

drama-addict said...

Your posts make me sit here and laugh. Incidentally, this makes other members of my household think I've gone insane.

Anonymous said...

Okay, okay.

I can appreciate your story telling. I don't think I've ever enjoyed reading a blog like I've enjoyed reading this one. It read like a book... a story... with large print and small pages... and pictures.

But, jesus fucking christ......... THE POOR FROGS!

I would CRY if I ever had to watch such a thing!

First, they get stabbed - then they spend their last night in a gunny sack amidst their closest froggy pals, all bleeding and dying. THEN, Hal (that shit head) skins 'em ALIVE the next morning!? What the crap happened next!?! Did you guys eventually kill them or just let 'em sit in those bags until they died?

I gotta say. Why not just chop their heads off to begin with... putting 'em out of their misery FIRST??

Scott from Oregon said...

drama-addict- thank you for laughing at my post. Tell your household members to "C'MERE AND CHECK THIS OUT!"

That sometimes works for me.

Blondie-- See, it was the alcohol that made me oblivious to the plight of the frogs, and the hang-over that made me realize the madness that had occured the night before.

No more drinking at gigs for me.

Scratch that.

No more gigs that don't include a guitar.

Anonymous said...

oh yes- Rainy Season has a LOT of frogs in it. It's only about a 10 page story, but it is chilling.

It's in King's short story collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes. :)