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by Benjamin Niespodziany

In a basement in Petoskey, an old man sits in ankle deep water and counts his frogs. One by one until he inevitably loses count and has to start over. He reaches 75, exceeds 76, but then fumbles and forgets which of the frogs he’s already counted. Quit jumping, he hisses. Stop moving, he cries. He counts them with his fingers until he gives up and takes a nap. When he wakes, he goes to the supplies store to get a red marker. He writes on the frogs, counting each and every one, little by little, not noticing how the numbers wash away when the frogs splash. It takes the old man hours before he realizes his red marker is a red highlighter. It’s useless. He gives up again and takes a nap. When he wakes, he calls someone wearing a suit and requests a billboard on the highway that promotes his frog basement. An experience open to the public for just a few dollars. If anyone can properly count how many frogs are in the basement, they don’t have to pay.

Benjamin Niespodziany is a night librarian at the University of Chicago. He runs the multimedia blog [neonpajamas] and has had work published in HOOT Review, Occulum, formercactus, Pithead Chapel (forthcoming), and a small batch of others.