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Ed Toad Watches A Death In The Backyard Jungle

Ed Toad witnessed an assassination.

The moist heat of the day was relentless, and Ed sought relief in the cool tropical garden, camouflaged by lush elephant ears and giant ferns. He was dozing beneath the green glow of the plant canopy when a house fly landed on his forehead. It was a small irritant, but enough to cause him to lift his drowsy eyelids and brush the pest away.

As Ed watched the fly retreat, his peripheral vision picked up movement by the pool. A quick turn of his head and a series of blinks drove the drowsiness from his eyes, and he spotted the victim-to-be. The victim seemed edgy; he would walk a few paces and then stop, turning his head back and forth, as though he was checking to see if he was being followed. Ed brushed a palm frond to the side and scanned the area. He could see no one else but the victim in the vicinity. His gaze returned to the doomed soul.

Ed thought about making a noise, just to let the victim know he was there, however, he decided it might prove to startling so he remained silent. As Ed watched the starts and stops of the victim, he speculated on the reason for the obvious nervousness. Perhaps the victim is a spy, thought Ed, and he’s here to meet his contact. He also considered there may be a romantic tryst about to take place, and the victim was anxious about a jealous husband. All sorts of scenarios played out in Ed’s head.

As Ed constructed possible outcomes, the assassin waited, frozen in position, and cocked with a hair-trigger. Patience, speed, and mercilessness were his strengths, and he used them often. If you were to ask him he would say he didn’t particularly like killing, but he might add he didn’t particularly not like it either. It was his nature, and he didn’t question it.

The assassin watched the victim’s cautious movements, planning the timing of his strike. It’s a dangerous world, thought the assassin, but no matter how cautious you are, if I want you dead, you will soon be cold meat.

A sweet, soft wind rolled through the garden. The victim paused, sniffing the damp air. Ed Toad watched and conjured up another possible story to account for the victim’s being there in the first place. As the wind rustled the vegetation, the assassin struck with speed and savagery. Death was almost instantaneous. The assassin carried the body away, perhaps as proof of the deed or to hide the evidence.

Ed looked on, neither surprised nor frightened; he had seen it before. As calm and quiet returned to the garden, Ed emerged from his cover and walked over to the scene of the crime. A damp red spot littered with small, green bits and pink viscera were all that remained. Ed shook his head. “Someone really ought to stop that cat before he kills all the lizards in the garden,” he said to himself, and then hopped back into the plants.

(c)Mike Hood

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