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Want your gold ball back?
The Princess came to a halt. A talking frog? Surreal.
Why not. Thanks, she said.
Here’s the deal, the frog said. Love me, let me eat from your plate, let me sleep in your bed. And the ball will be yours again.
Like a manikin in pink organdy with a hem tipped in mud, she stood motionless.
What about a kiss? she asked.
No. I need the whole program.
Don’t think so.
With that the princess walked away.
Now the frog started to hop up and down. How can the little bitch refuse me? Doesn’t she know the end of the story, how I’d sleep on her pillow three nights and turn into Ashton Kutcher the third morning?
Meanwhile at the castle, the Princess, after a lecture on responsibility and the cost of gold from the King, was given a new ball. She tossed it into the sky, enjoying the way it reflected the sun. At the very moment she let the ball loose, again she heard a croak, startling her. The ball landed on her foot and careened into a thicket.
I’m not sleeping with you for one ball or two.
She stalked away into the palace.
The frog started hopping up and down. This is my destiny. To follow in Dad’s footsteps. The frog gathered the second ball and swelled up his body.
What do you want? the doorkeeper asked.
I seek an audience with the King.
The doorkeeper frowned.
I’ve got the Princess’s gold balls.
A servant carrying the balls escorted the frog into the dining hall. The King and the Princess were eating Escargots Bourguignon.
Who wants their balls back? the frog asked.
Get it out of here, the Princess said.
Egad, the King said.
Things might have turned out as expected, happy ending and all, if Jacques, the Chef de Cuisine, had not come in and seen what all the fuss was about.
Chella Courington has been eating an apple a day and so far, so good. Both a poet and fiction writer, she published three books in 2011: Paper Covers Rock, a flip book of lined poetry released by Indigo Ink Press;Girls & Women, a chapbook of prose poetry released by Burning River Press; and Talking Did Not Come Easily to Diana, a collection of linked microfiction by Musa Publishing. Her recent fiction appears in The Los Angeles Review, Smokelong Quarterly, riverbabble, Monkeybicycle, and Everyday Genius.