Chris Wilkensen

                                                   Patricia the Frog

I never liked school. I don’t think anyone did. Except the ones who had shitty home lives. So I wondered why I didn’t like it more. There was this one story I remember from science class, though. It was about frogs. If you put a frog in lukewarm water and then increase the heat of the water little by little, the frog will stay and be boiled alive. But if you put a frog in boiling water, it will immediately jump out. As fucked up as it sounds, I loved picturing a frog slowly dying because of its stupidity. I guess that was how they killed the frogs we used.

My lab partner in biology was a large girl. She was a nice girl, but if Godzilla were a person, she would have been his sister. Her name was Patricia. Guys basically stayed away from her. I couldn’t. I was forced to be her lab partner. Occasionally, I used to see guys get out their wallets and then hand another guy money. The receiver of the money would then go up to her in the hall at her locker and say something, laugh, and then leave. She seemed relatively unaffected by it, as if she expected it. After a while, she probably thought it to be strange if no asshole high school kid walked up to her and asked her how many families she’d be able to save from starving if she gave up her meals for one day.

“Prince Charming doesn’t seem so charming anymore,” I casually said to her to fill the awkward silence one day during dissection. She added to the awkwardness by not making any noise at all. She pretended like I never said anything. Then a couple of minutes later, a guy from the table behind us whispered to her that she should try to restrain herself and not eat the frog, not in those words of course. I don’t know what came over me that moment. I just yelled, “Why don’t you fuck off?” Those were the exact words. It was loud enough so that everyone heard me. Needless to say, I was kicked out of class that day.

That same day, as I was walking to another one of my classes, I felt a very strong hand on my shoulder. I thought it was one of my guy friends. But I looked behind me and it was Patricia. Her mouth opened once, but I really couldn’t hear what she said. I imagined it to be “thanks.” And she just walked away after that. Yeah, I got a lot of shit for sticking up for her that day. I mean, I didn’t even mean to. It just came out.

The next day, we were still working on frog dissections. Well, me and Patricia were because I had to leave early in the class the day before. The rest of the class was done, and just writing the answers to the questions. I was hoping for it to be like usual with Patricia. We usually just shut the fuck up and tried to get whatever we had to do done as soon as we could. While we were working on it, she asked me if I wanted to hang out with her that weekend. ‘Oh, shit. Now she thinks we’re friends. I can’t be seen with her. I just can’t. I can hardly even look at her for longer than a second.’ I declined. I made up some story about how I had to paint my room that weekend. She didn’t buy it, but she accepted it. And that was that.

A few months later, no one saw her anymore. She just disappeared from school. Everyone had a different story as to what happened to her. Some said she moved. Some said she dropped out. Some said she became home schooled. I personally thought she killed herself from all of the abuse she got at school. I didn’t know for sure, and I still don’t know.

That was back in high school. It might as well have been a different lifetime. I still think of Patricia a lot. Patricia was a frog. She has been boiling away with others hating her and her hating herself, since probably before she can remember. I just hope that the temperature rose so fast that she jumped out of that pond and found a kinder, calmer pond. And on that pond she would have met her Prince Charming, another pond explorer that understands what she went through perfectly. Or, else she was boiled to death. Either way, I know that wherever she is now and whatever happened to her are better than the slow agony she felt before. And if I had the privilege to speak with her again, she would agree with me that Kermit should have died a long time ago.

You see, the whole world is just one giant frog. The politicians, the lawyers, and CEOs make up the mind of the frog. They make up our minds for us and make all of our important decisions. The artists, musicians, and people of faith make up the heart of the frog. They keep us going by giving us a reason to live. The philosophers, scientists and drug addicts make up the eyes of the frog. They offer us different ways to see things. The celebrities, socialites, and billionaires make up the skin of the frog. They protect us from our own lives by making us interested in theirs and jealous of theirs. And then there are people like me. We make up the bone. I’d like to tell you that we have a purpose, but we don’t. We are just there. We are just there so the important parts of the frog work properly. And we’re just inside one giant pot full of boiling water on top of a giant stove in the solar system somewhere.

I don’t understand the reason why people look at me like I’m crazy or like I’m a comedian and can’t be taken serious. At first, I became very angry with those people and their condescending eyes and closed-minded hearts. But then I began to pity them, because the looks they gave me were strikingly similar to the looks people gave Patricia the Frog.

Chris is a 23-year-old writer from Chicago who teaches English in South Korea. While briefly studying journalism in college, he has been published twice in College News, a magazine focused on the experiences of students. His fiction has appeared in Combat! Chicago, a literary magazine. He finished his four-year degree as a marketing major from University of Illinois at Chicago. His fiction-focused blog is reesesfeces.tumblr.com, and his Korean-influenced blog is sojusickness.wordpress.com. He his written a novel, titled “Chats with a Charlatan,” that he is looking to publish. He is in the process of writing a second novel and beginning graduate school in English next year.

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