Sammy bent his head way back and gloated to the sky: “Ha ha, none of you clouds can get low enough this morning to spy on me. It’s a great day, then, to steal many, many things, and to vandalize choice or selected things I can’t—or choose not to—steal.” While Sammy kept swaggering and then started to actually steal some very small things, Mary was left to slide out of bed, get dressed, and wonder how much (if any) of Sammy’s loot would ever find its way into her drawers or onto her tables and shelves, though admittedly, some had before (and after Sammy had been emboldened by similar atmospherics), and all told, it had been good quality shit.
However, what wouldn’t be so pleasing, Mary figured, would be having to hop through life as a turquoise toad, though try as she might to blink and squint just right to make her picture of the toad change or disappear, it stayed more or less the same whenever she envisioned an everyday- life-to-come with Sammy. Mary began to understand that if a blue-green toad’s hopping ways were to be her karma because of hours spent serving Sammy the thief, then some quality theft on her own part sure seemed very much worth doing as an offset to whatever didn’t look quite right about Sammy, for whatever wasn’t quite up to snuff. “And by my being directly and solely responsible for nothing else save a change of ownership in certain things, I can’t possibly usher in an existence any poorer than the one I keep seeing again and again, the one that’s on its way here,” is very close to how she reasoned.
Thus when Mary paid Sammy proper respect and picked a cloudless day on which to rob the Minot Fine Arts Museum of several of its woodcuts and lithographs; and when she squatted down and pissed all over an oil or two she’d flung to the gallery floor and decided not to purloin; and when she waived receiving any help whatsoever from Sammy in fencing her artwork during the heady days that followed—sure enough, the turquoise toad started to lose its other-worldly color; and then it lost its taut and bulging muscles; and finally, it misplaced every vestige of its hop.
William C. Blome writes short fiction and poetry. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he is a master’s degree graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such fine little mags as Amarillo Bay, Prism International, Laurel Review, The Oyez Review, Salted Feathers and The California Quarterly.