Kraken beak, that was the term overheard in the grocery store that morning, whispered loudly by one little blonde woman to another as Girrella had pushed by them to reach for the packaged coffee. It was beyond reason that people who didn’t even know her should make rude comments practically to her face. Shoving the lawn mower roughly along she let herself wallow in emotional distemper, slamming over a slight mound bulging in her path, the shallow, volcanic opening of an ant hill. Girrella’s face twisted into a mask of satisfaction at the destruction. Maybe she would come back this evening and fill the colony with water.
Turning at the eastern border of her yard Girrella trudged along, one eye on the dropping sun. She needed to finish mowing before evening actually arrived and brought the mosquitos out into the open. Leaves swatted at her face as she mowed along the tree line. Too bad the land dropped three inches here. Clearing it wouldn’t add anything to her yard except swampy bracken for two months of the season, more work than it was worth in the long run. At the south border she pushed the mower a few extra inches into the neighboring yard before turning, her face a careful mask of innocence, not looking to see if she was being watched. Her neighbors rarely mowed their yard anyway, they wouldn’t miss the couple of inches.
On the third pass toward toward the eastern tree line Girrella slowed to a stop, holding the mower stationary while a frog jumped along in front of her, opting to wait a bit as opposed to cleaning the chewed up bits from the undersides later. Frogs were not the brightest creatures. The sun blazed hotly on her bare head while she waited for the amphibian to make its way out of her path. It seemed to prefer the longer grass, ignoring the already cut side and sitting patiently in front of the mower. Girrella sighed at it.
“This is your one chance,” she stated. If she released the mower handle to move the frog out of her way the mower would stop running completely. Running the stupid thing over meant spraying it all over the grass. Girrella didn’t have a weak stomach but if she had a choice she’d rather not look at frog spray until the next rain came. Evidently the frog had other ideas. It tried to disappear in the longer grass by sheer virtue of immobility. Girrella sighed again and slapped at a mosquito. Releasing the mower handle she let it sputter to a full stop before stepping around the front of it and picking up the frog. Eying the tree line she picked a spot that looked fairly empty and gave the creature a gentle toss.
Surprise and horror filled her stomach as the frog pinwheeled through the air at the speed of a jet and smashed into the nearest tree with an audible, wet sounding Whap! Girrella stood frozen in shock. Something twitched in her peripheral vision and without thinking she turned her head to look. Her neighbor, the one whose yard she was picking away at each time she mowed, sat on a folding chair on her side porch, cigarette dangling from her fingers, watching her every move. As their eyes met Girrella opened her mouth to explain but no words came. The neighbor took a drag from her cigarette and exhaled like buffalo, her face an open book of judgement. Anger flashed through Girrella as she turned away and restarted her mower. Stupid frog!