Working Things Out With Chris

Chris and Frogs0002
original art by Kathleen Holdaway Swain

Chris was the meanest kid around.  He threw rocks, kicked his dog, stole lunch money out of desks, broke in line for lunch, and was sassy to the teacher.  He had a giant pile of sand in his yard and dared anyone come near it.  All the kids avoided him.This was a problem for me and my brother Billy when Mother visited Miss Alice, Chris’s next door neighbor. We were didn’t want him to spot us so we always played in the far side of her shady yard.  One day, we were making villages of stick houses with mossy fields and sandy tracks for roads when, out of nowhere, POW!!  A rock popped me on the head, knocking me goofy.  When I quit seeing stars, I heard Chris laughing, “Ha!  Made you look!”

Look nothing!!  He nearly made me dead!! We jumped up and chased him, but he left us in his dust, fuming!  We had to come up with a plan to get that creep.  We puzzled and plotted the rest of the day.  He was the biggest, fastest, meanest bully around, so we’d have to outsmart him.  We decided to spy on him the next time Mother went to visit Miss Alice.  We got our big chance the next day.  He glared when we went in her gate, just waiting to torture us.   The ladies decided to drink their tea in the backyard.  Even Chris knew he couldn’t  us get at us with adults around, so he skulked back to his own yard and kicked at his dog to cheer himself up.   We lay on our stomachs and crawled into the bushes to spy on him as he stomped over to where his mother was working in her flower bed.

Chris was even mean to his mother.  He sassed her when she told him to help, stepped on her flowers, sprayed the cat with water, and kicked over the flower pots.  Suddenly, he went crazy jumping and screaming.  When she finally caught up with him, she said, “Chris, it’s nothing but a little bitty frog!!!  He can’t hurt you!! Just stay still and I’ll get him. I don’t know why you’re so scared of a little bitty frog.”

That big bully was bawling like a baby.  “Get him off! Get him off!  Get him off!!! I hate frogs!” We had our plan!

We headed to the pond and collected a few frogs as soon as we got home.  I slipped in to the class room and got to work hiding frogs.  I put a couple in Chris’s desk, a couple in his pencil box, and slipped a really nice one in the pocket of the jacket hanging on the back of his desk.  I barely finished before the first bell rang.  Chris strolled in after the last bell.  All I had to do now was wait.  I did wish Billy could be here for the fun.

The frogs stayed quiet as we all settled down.  I kept waiting for the fun to start.  After a while, I got involved in a story the teacher was reading and forgot about the frogs.  That’s when it happened.   “Ribbitt!  Ribbitt!  Ribbitt!”   We all started giggling.

“Who did that?”  Miz McZumley was not amused.

“Ribbitt!!  Ribbitt!!”  Kids guffawed!  The class was out of control.

Miz McZumley whacked her ruler down on her desk.  “That does it!  Storytime is over!  Get out your pencils and workbooks.”

You can imagine what happened next.  Two fine frogs jumped out of Chris’s desk.  He screamed and ran in place.  The whole class was hysterical as they chased frogs.  The teacher was furious at Chris for bringing frogs to class.  He blubbered a pathetic defense “I didn’t!! I didn’t! I hate frogs!”  Two more frogs jumped out of his desk, looking for their buddies.

“Then where did all these frogs come from?”  She wasn’t convinced.  Chris got paddled and was sentenced to pick up trash at recess.  I couldn’t wait for him to put on his jacket!!!  My bully problems were over.  There were going to be a lot of frogs in Chris’s future.


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