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Authors: J.A. Kazimer

Froggy Style

BOOK: Froggy Style
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Also by J. A. Kazimer
ed-Up Fairy Tale
Published by Kensington Publishing Corp.
Froggy Style
ed-Up Fairy Tale
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
To Lisa Birman and the odd Land of Oz,
for many things, but mostly for introducing me
to fairy floss, bliss bombs, and a kangaroo named Skippy
nce upon a time (about twenty-two years, seven days, twelve hours, twenty-one minutes, and forty-seven seconds ago) in a land not so far away sat a forlorn frog, his lime-colored skin pale under his frogger’s tan.
“Ribbit,” he croaked halfheartedly, and then sighed, bored by his unending amphibianness, if not his shiny reflection in the khaki-colored water. His days passed in a jaded blur of flies, hopping, and the occasional real-life game of Frogger.
The most excitement he’d experienced in his eight years of frogitude was a questionable wart. He groaned again, closing his bug eyes against the harsh afternoon glare. Hours passed. The sun sank lower in the sky, shading it a princess-pink color.
The frog’s nose twitched. Something approached, something that smelled a lot like sugar and spice with just a hint of wet dog. Not unpleasant to his froggy sense.
From the enchanted underbrush tumbled a girl child. She clutched a tattered blanket coated with dirt and chocolate. The frog, surprised by his stubby visitor, did what frogs do. He croaked once and dove into the pond, sinking below the surface to avoid a confrontation with the seemingly sticky child. Frogs, and their toadish counterparts, were known for two things: double-sided sticky tongues and the ability to avoid any conflict. With the exception of the horny toad.
Those guys jumped anything.
The child bumbled her way toward the pond, closer to the hiding frog. Her blond hair burst from her head like a deranged troll, sticking up at odd and geometrically impossible angles.
The nearer she came to the edge of the water, the more nervous the frog became. What if she fell in? he pondered in his pea-sized brain. Or worse, what if she didn’t and the frog was once again left all alone to live his fly-eating existence?
The question proved moot. The girl child stopped at the rim of the pond, her purple lollipop eyes searching the watery depths. For what, the frog couldn’t say, but she piqued his interest.
Could she be the One?
Apparently finding what she desired, the child let out a small squeal, dropped her blankie, and jammed her hand into the murky water.
The frog’s head wobbled with disgust. If she was indeed the One, he was in trouble.
The girl shrieked and yanked her arm from the water. A miniature golden ball emerged in her mud-coated hand. She beamed at the ball and then stuffed it into her mouth.
Ew. The frog shivered with repulsion, and he was a frog who ate flies for three meals a day.
As soon as the golden ball passed the girl’s lips she began to choke, grabbing at her throat with chubby hands. Tears streamed down her cheeks as her lips turned the brightest shade of blue the frog had ever seen outside the reflection of his own gaze in the pond.
Panic set into the frog’s tiny brain. Was the blanket-carrying, golden-ball-eating, sticky girl about to drop dead in front of his very eyes? What if she was the One and she died? What would happen to him then?
Blinded with terror, the frog did the only thing his frog brain could think of. He jumped on the little girl, landing with enough force that she and her frog-stowaway tumbled to the swampy ground in a heap of child and amphibian parts.
The golden ball popped free from the girl’s mouth. It rolled down the embankment and into the murky water once again. The child watched it with a frown, which she then turned on her frog savior. Her fat fingers pointed at the pond. “Ball,” she muttered with a yawn.
The frog responded with a ribbit.
The child frowned harder, her brow wrinkling under the curls of her hair. The frog paused to watch the child. There was something about her. Something that he wasn’t sure boded well for either of them.
A second later, without warning, the girl scooped up her guardian froggy angel and stuffed his slimy body into her drool-coated mouth.
Thunder rumbled overhead. A flash of lightning lit the sky. With a shriek, the child abruptly spat the frog out. He tumbled downward, spinning faster and faster in the air until he hit the pond water with a loud splash. The sticky girl’s violet eyes widened two times their already bug-eyed size. Blackness quickly descended, turning day to night in the blink of a milky toad’s eye.
As quickly as it came the storm vanished, leaving the little girl standing at the edge of the pond, a confused look upon her chubby face. She glanced down at the eight-year-old boy in front of her. A very naked, slightly greenish eight-year-old boy, who was standing in three feet of stagnant pond water where the frog had dropped only moments before.
The boy gazed down at his naked arms, legs, and boyish parts with surprise.
Free, free at last from the dreaded curse,
he thought with a grin.
A grin that quickly faded under the little girl’s gaze. She slowly looked him up and down and shook her head, nearly poking out her own eye with the point of her hair in the process.
The boy’s face flamed red and he quickly covered himself with a lily pad. “The water’s cold,” he said like a million men before him.
The little girl smiled.
The frog prince scowled.
And they lived happily ever after.
Or so the tale goes....
Chapter 1
ullshit,” I said to the gin-soaked fairy godmother standing next to me in the Royal Tux-We-R Shoppe. She shrugged her massive shoulders swaddled in pink chiffon. “Come on, Elly,” I added. “No one lives happily ever after.”
Elly smacked me in the back of the head with her wand and scowled. “Hush your mouth. I happen to know for a fact that fairytales do come true.”
I rubbed the back of my neck. “Not this one. I don’t love her and I never will.” The wand rose again, but I danced away, nearly colliding with an overly well-endowed mannequin.
“Johnny, why do you want to marry her, then?” She paused to look down her long, pointed nose. “In a week.”
“Ten days!” Ten days. Ten frogging days. “And you damn well know why. And don’t call me Johnny. My name’s Jean-Michel. Jean-Michel.” How many times did I have to tell her that? I hesitated, considering my fairy godmother, a woman who’d spent the last twenty-two years of my life annoying me as much as fairyly possible. “Never mind. Are you sure she’s the One?”
“What do you think of this? For your wedding tux?” Elly picked up a baby blue boutonnière from a rack of rainbow-colored boutonnières. “It matches your eyes.”
Baby blue? Was she kidding me? If anything, my eyes were a manly indigo, maybe even sapphire, in the right light, with enough mead. “Don’t change the subject,” I said. “Are you sure Sleeping Beauty is the princess from the pond?” I shuddered, remembering my meeting with the sticky, drool-coated child. She’d broken my curse, sure, but what eight-year-old boy wanted his first kiss to be with a drooling, pint-sized princess? And it wasn’t even a real kiss.
The girl had tried to eat me!
I had the scars from her tiny teeth on my forehead to prove it. Elly’s voice drew me back to the present. “Of course I’m sure, Johnny.” At my evil look she amended her words, “Jean-Michel.”
“Okay then.”
“I mean, really, how many twenty-six-year-old blond princesses with a frog fetish could there be in the City?”
“What?!” I snatched the matching baby blue bow tie from her large, almost manly hands. “Are you saying that you don’t know if this is
princess? Are you crazy?”
Elly patted my arm, leaving red welts on my olive skin. “Relax. I’m ninety-five percent sure.” She hesitated, her head tilting to one side. I wasn’t sure if she’d stroked out or was thinking. Either way, I didn’t want to interrupt. “Eighty-seven percent, if we factor in her . . . affliction.”
Affliction, my ass. I had a term for the affliction where a healthy princess suddenly fell asleep at the drop of a tiara: laziness.
Ah, poor tired princess needed a nap.
What a hard burden to bear.
Her “affliction” didn’t bother me much, though. After all, I’d spent the last thirty years of my life doing absolutely nothing worthwhile or even a tad bit noble.
Just the way I liked it.
“We’ll know for sure if she’s the One after we meet her this afternoon,” Elly said with a smirk. “Now try this on.” She handed me a black tuxedo made by none other than Geppetto. The fabric felt stiff, almost wooden, under my fingers, but I nodded and did as Elly ordered. Mainly out of fear.
My godmother packed one hell of a curse.
“I’ll be waiting right here.” She motioned to a tuffet next to the dressing room. Oh goody, I wanted to reply, but again, my survival skills kicked in.
I was in bad enough shape without adding another curse. The one I already had was plenty. It went something like: Poof, you’re a frog. Shazam, a princess, albeit a slight one, gave you a kiss. Then, whammo, if you don’t marry said princess on the day you turn thirty (which I would do in ten days), you’ll be turned right back into a frog.
Or so Elly warned me at least ten times a day.
Hence my hasty marriage to the sleepy princess I’d never truly met, unless one counted that time she’d stuffed me in her mouth.
I heaved a sigh and adjusted the sleeve of the fashionable tuxedo jacket. The blackness of the tux suited my olive skin tone and jet-black hair that tickled my collar. Hair I kept longer than was in vogue. But what the hell. I was going to be hairless and a lot greener in a few days. I brushed back a wayward lock and smirked at the man in the mirror. “Mirror, mirror on the wall,” I began. “Who is the finest damn prince of them all?” I didn’t expect an answer, and was pleasantly surprised to hear:
“You are, sir.”
I turned around, narrowly avoiding my servant, Karl, standing a hairsbreadth away. I stepped back and stifled a grin. Karl was all decked out like a jester in my royal colors of emerald and white. He wore a jewel-encrusted hat and bells on his slippers. The poor guy looked ridiculous, but by the pride on his face he was clueless as to how much. I grinned. Eagerness, loyalty, and stupidity were all traits to admire, especially in a servant.
For the last ten years, since my father hired him fresh out of the Butler Did It Academy, he’d kept all my secrets, large and small, lime and slimy. “I have your tunic and leggings, sir,” Karl said, holding up a pair of avocado-colored leggings and an off-white tunic with a large “P” across the chest. As if the tights weren’t bad enough.
“I’m not wearing that.”
“But, sir, it’s for your meeting with”—he lowered his voice—“the One. You have to look your best.”
“I’m still not wearing it.” I gave a slight laugh. “I don’t care who I’m meeting. No man looks good in tights.” Even a male specimen as perfect as myself. After all, poets wrote sonnets in my name while women swooned at the mention of my manliness. What could one lazy princess possibly take exception to?
“But, sir—”
“Forget it.” I motioned to a rack of dinner jackets hanging like a little pig on a rotisserie. “We’ll compromise. Go pick out a jacket and I’ll wear it to meet the princess.” I grabbed his arm as he turned to go. “Nothing green,” I reminded him for the thousandth time. The very mention of the color sent chills down my spine. The taste of partially digested flies bubbled in the back of my throat, but I managed to swallow it down.
Karl nodded and practically danced across the room. I groaned. Marrying Beauty was becoming quite tedious. First, I had to beg her father, the king, for her hand, followed by the submission of proof of princelyship, in the form of three picture IDs and a long-form birth certificate. Hell, it was almost easier to hop across the New Never City border than spend five minutes with the tired chick.
I hoped all my trouble was worth it. If Beauty proved not to be the One, I was out of options. Still, the thought of marrying her or anyone, for that matter, grated on me. I should choose who to love. Who to marry. Who to frog for the rest of my days. Not some damn curse cast before I was even born.
“Suck it up.” Elly swatted me with the pointy edge of her wand. “You’ll get married. Settle down. Have some babies. And forget all this ‘I don’t want to marry her’ nonsense. You’ll see. She is the One, Johnny.”
“Excuse me,” said a woman standing next to Elly. She was young, maybe twenty, with auburn hair and a sweet cherub face.
I returned her smile, adding a wink for good measure. “Yes, luv?” I asked. “What can I do you for?”
She giggled prettily. Elly rolled her eyes. I waved off the annoying fairy godmother and took the young lady’s hand. The warmth of her skin eased a bit of the tension lingering in my shoulders.
“Is it true?” she asked. “Are you really him?”
I nodded, bowing low. “Indeed. I am Jean-Michel La Grenouille.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Who?”
“The Frog Prince, mademoiselle,” I said in a perfectly affected French accent. “The Frog Pr—”
Before the last syllable left my mouth, the girl grabbed my neck and planted a kiss on my lips. Her mouth tasted of sugar and spice, but not a hint of wet dog or drool presented itself. A pity since my body reacted instantly, wanting more.
But she wasn’t the One.
So after five hot minutes of saliva and groping, I gently pushed her away, damning the hack reporter from the
New Never News
who first reported on my “quest” for love’s eternal kiss, an article nearly as poorly written as the recent exposé on a Cin City assassin with a fetish for flora I’d read this morning over my smiley face pancakes.
Ever since the story of my plight hit the airwaves, women practically attacked me in the street, longing to be the one who could save me from my greenish fate. Not that I minded the public displays of affection. A part of me liked to think that their attraction was due to my winning personality and stunning good looks, but the curse’s promise of riches beyond compare might have had something to do with their interest.
“Sorry,” I said to the girl as I wiped a string of slobber from my lips. She promptly burst into tears and ran from the shop, the imprint of my hand on the back of her skirt. I stared after her.
Feelings I rarely allowed to surface did just that. My life wasn’t my own. It never had been, nor would it ever be. Not until I was finally free once and for all from this curse.
BOOK: Froggy Style
4.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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