Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Toad Mind

One evening, towards the end of Rainy Season, Rimfire Kid borrowed Pointmaster’s steam car and drove the 17 miles up Real Road to Lost Runt Canyon. He knew that there was a pool of water about a mile up the canyon, and that during the summer after heavy rains this pool was lined with spadefoot toads, who puffed out their throats like miniature balloons and chorused out their mating song. Kid wanted to be with the toads awhile.

There was lightning in the east and an occasional spatter of rain on the windshield as Kid fired up the car and headed up the highway, tires hissing on the wet pavement. It was almost like the old song:

My bags are packed at last.
My tank is full of gas.
It’s 4 a.m., I’m gonna drive real fast.
I’ll be long gone by dawn.

Graffiti Cliffs they cut like knives across the Milky Way.
The luminous sky is reflected in the bumper of my Chevrolet.

And I’m the only man alive
On Highway 85.

“What is a shev-ro-lay, anyway?” Kid wondered. He pulled over at the mouth of the canyon and released the pressure. Hiss of escaping steam, and then silence.

Kid started walking up the canyon in the darkness. The wet sand was firm under his feet and made walking easy. Desertwillow flowers perfumed the air. A lightning flash behind his back strobed against the canyon walls. Through the Keyhole, along the Narrows, and as he passed Black Knob he could first hear the toads singing far up the canyon.

Three deeps breaths and silence. Three deep breaths and silence. Yes.

The toad song got louder as he neared the pond. A couple hundred toads ringed the inch-deep water along the edge, singing their high-pitched ri-i-i-i-kkk. Several dozen on one side would cut loose simultaneously, and then a bunch on the other side would answer. Sometimes they’d all sing at once.

Kid circled halfway around the pond, found a comfortable spot and settled down. The toad mind was wet and warm and slow. A gibbous moon rose behind the hills and threw its track across the water.


Anonymous Jacques Conejo said...

Wow... cool...... I like the story a lot. Kinda leaves ya' waitin'and wondrin' what's next.

I like the episodic approach to writing. I have oft wondered if there isn't a market for a story that unfolds a week at a time, chapter by chapter. It's been done before and I think that leaving people (as I am now) looking forward to what happens next, is something we like.

Is there another episode to "Rimfire Kid and The Toad Mind" coming?

Cool imagery. Thanks!

7:10 AM  
Blogger Gordon Solberg said...


I wrote a bunch of stuff like that back in the mid 70s. I'll be feeding them out every Saturday, which is "oldies day" because I have to leave early for Farmer's Market and can't write a real post. Maybe after I upload all the oldies, I'll write an ongoing serial, ya never really know...

No more Toad Mind, sorry... but there are similar pieces, like "The Saltcedar Song. Watch for it on a blog near you!

Like life, this stuff has no plot per se. Just episodes that stick in the mind and soul, episodes of, as Wordsworth wrote in 1798, "a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused."

11:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home