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Virus Without Borders: Chapter Twenty-Six



Mon Ami M. Crapaud (My Friend M. Toad)


I am happy. I am very happy. This morning when I woke up I felt good because the sun was shining. I felt good because I was a frog. And I felt good because I have you as a friend. Arnold Lobel, "Days with Frog and Toad"

Le crapaud, my personal French word of the day. It seems fitting, thank you, French word of the day peeps, not just because of the prefix—crap—but because the image of le crapaud, gnarled and bloated and swampy, its neck heaving with intakes and out blasts of breath is apt. But I mis-speak. According to Arnold Lobel toads are very caring friends and neighbors. Even more importantly, they choose to wear masks during the pandemic even though they don't need to wear masks; they are immune to the disease of a devolving human civilization. They will just continue their evolutionary way, with or without us—humans.

Unless we have booked a vaca somewhere much further north in a land far, far away beyond the still-closed Canadian border, we continue to live a swampy and congealed life. But please, note—flights are cheap. We can get away. Or we can travel in our cars and RVs and cross into New York State, from Florida, par example, and bring the virus with us. Why not? What's a $2K fine if we are turned in for not filling in the form, or lying on the form we are asked to fill in--VIVA the HONOR SYSTEM! Keep in mind also, dear traveler, contact tracers will find you if you get sick and make others sick.

Plus ça change, M. Toad. Are you available for a brief interview? Ah, good, I will record your answers.

Moi: Let's begin with Viva L'America! Viva! Well done, America! Are you in a bubble with some toadlets, M. Toad? So far as I know, my readers are no longer toadlets. Toadlets are bouncing on their trampolines and driving their parents nuts. Toadlets miss their friends but they adapt quickly to new circumstances. I do not have any toadlets in my immediate circle, but I do watch a few from afar and I am convinced that the pandemic will recede into their personal history, and return as history in memoir, fiction, and poetry. This I say as a writer. Croyez-moi.

So, why toads today? In my toad-like stupor this morning I realized that we have a plumbing issue and will need a worker in the apartment to fix it. It goes to show, M. Toad, we cannot prepare for all eventualities. Do you have any wisdom for me? A list of revised, scientific protocols, per chance? And, most importantly, when will these diversions end, M. Toad? Because I need a nap every single day.

M. Toad: A toad-like stupor? Oh, Heavens, NO, NO, NO, Madame, mon cher ami. I am a perspicacious toad. Here is my prediction: The diversion will end next January in the Human Year 2021, upon which day the red-faced mutation in the WH will be pushed into the self-made swampy weeds surrounding said WH and suffocate. We will be under new management. The continent of America will once again be one entity, a nation under, protected within, if you get my drift. Universal protocols will be applied and enforced. All will be well.

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