Freudian Slips: Leap Year

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

August 24, 2006

Leap Year

In 1972, our family migrated to Big Stone Gap, Virginia. My parents purchased a sprawling rancher on the affluent side of an otherwise impoverished rural town. We owned the only in the ground swimming pool in town. Although we thought the pool was no big deal, it caught the animal kingdom by surprise. In the dead of a memorable summer night, family members awoke from sleep to hear strange movement traveling across the rooftop. Not resoundingly peaceful with the night hours in a strange land anyway, the odd commotion right above my head caused a boy scare.
I fretted to myself, “Dear God, who or what could be on our rooftop?”
Other than my parents settling their children back into beds, I do not remember any further action taken by my parents. I only remember being scared until the sandbags of slumber superseded fright.
The next morning we discovered that our swimming pool became a watery grave to many frogs. As my father and I circled the pool, we noticed that the recently departed were by no means garden variety frogs. Huge bullfrogs sporting muscular Olympian legs littered the chlorinated water. As a wide-eyed ten-year-old boy, I remember being astonished by their stature. When frogs the size of squirrels can scale a tall building by leaps and bounds, something may have gone askew with the natural selection process. Trying to arrange extradition for the frogs, I lacked the strength to lift a single water-logged frog from the pool using a pole net.
A logical explanation never surfaced to remove this incident from the Tornatore X-Files. I can only imagine that our property was in direct line with the migration of frogs. The deafening noise heard on the rooftop must have been an incredible breed of frogs that could jump right over our single story house. I don’t like to jump to conclusions but...never move to Virginia during leap year.

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13 Comments:

Anonymous John T said...

Crimp says.

I remember the bullfrog incident like it was yesterday. I can't quite place the exact date, but it was for sure a much milder time of year than say, December. I remember our pool too, but most notably that Dad could never muster enough know-how to get the thing cleaned and serviced well enough for us to swim in it. "Stay away from the pool," Mom would say. "You don't know how to swim and Dad keeps enough chemicals in there to kill a dinosaur!" As if the dinosaurs didn't have enough problems.

Anyway, back to the bullfrog story.

It was probably around midnight. On the rooftop, there arose such a clatter, I quite nearly sat up in bed, wondering what the heck could be the matter. But instead, I laid back in my bed, and in that half slumbering state, my 7 year old mind imagined what or who might have caused all that commotion. Of course! Santa Claus, that jolly old elf and friend to all good boys!

Sure, Christmas was well behind us, but why wouldn't the old boy make another run at the Tornatore boys in the off-season. After all, I was sure that my immense goodness the year before had more than offset the lackluster and disappointing behavior of my 3 pre-teen siblings. A double Christmas was within my grasp, something only the children of the very wealthy or of the very divorced experience. I murmured something like, "Oh yes, it pays to be good!", smiled and drifted off into a deep sleep.

The next morning, I was ready. Expectations were high. Would there be a tree? Presents? Would stockings be hung by the chimney with care? Would there be an official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time?

Full stop. As it turned out, I underestimated the cumulative naughty-ness of my brothers. Not only had the substantial merits of my goodness been entirely canceled out, but the pendulum had swung so far in the other direction that Santa Claus, my dear friend Santa Claus, found it necessary to come back to our house and fling a 25 pound bullfrog across our roof and into the toxic soup we called a swimming pool!

So what's the rest of the story?

Well, I suppose those who subscribe to the laws of Karma might be thinking, "Gee, I guess those Tornatore boys got what they had coming to them." True enough. In fact, I'm sure we've all done plenty since then to deserve a plague of frogs. But you just can't help wonder what that frog must have done to deserve being worked over by an angry elf and flung headlong into the swimming pool of death.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous et said...

Crimp, the "QUEEN" elf did the world a favor by getting rid of all the pretentious, soon to be, Prince Charmings.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous et said...

P.S., I think the Queen had on a red hat!!!!

2:07 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

John,
As I have been often accused, you have way too much time on your hands.

Et,
Your third husband needs to excel in pool maintenance.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Dr. Nazli said...

Joe - if you only were French, it would have been a lovely family feast in grand style!

a la french fries
Nazli

10:25 AM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

Joe,
Have you ever seen the film, "Magnolia" (no relation to Ms Thunderpussy - fear not)?

The movie's climax happens when a rain of frogs hails down on Los Angeles one night.

Anyway, I love your story, was their news coverage of this event?

11:41 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

dr.
You always keep a leg up on me.

Pax,
it so Charles Fortish.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i really liked jon's story, it was so much better than joe's

11:45 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

anonymous,
ALwasy a detractor in the bunch.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

di was here

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice story, di

9:51 AM  
Anonymous meg said...

you know Jon's story really was better than yours, it had more humor. Not dry like your version

5:43 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

meg,
Thanks for the vote of confidence. If John starts a blog, I'll let you know. lol.

7:51 PM  

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