Donít answer. Itís possible sheíll go away if you donít answer.
Donít, donít look up, donít look away from your book at all.
Donít give her any indication you have anything to do with her,
you donít even know her, all right? This is not something you
want to be a part of. Trust me.
"Dada. Where Fwog?"
A tiny hand is tugging at my pant leg. Looking down (I told you
not to do that!) her giant, anime baby eyes lock with mine.
"Dabby. Where Fwog?"
The nickname. The damn nickname. Because she knows. Itís in her
Baby manual. The Nickname will always work.
She's twenty-two months old and she made up a nickname for me,
and lately sheís decided that her Mother canít put her to bed.
Itís me. It has to be me every night. Itís my job. And thatís
all right. Itís kind of sweet, actually. But see, I donít get to
work alone. I have a partner. Baby Tad.
She got Baby Tad for Christmas. Heís a Baby Frog the size of a
terrier and he sings. See, I was naughty all year and instead of
coal in my stocking, Santa brought my daughter Baby Tad. And Iím
a bad father for even thinking that, because she loves that
frog, that frog is what the French call a "sine qua non". See
how I did that? French? Frog? Thatís pretty funny, right? I may
be sleep deprived, I may have no time to call my own at all, but
it hasnít effected my sense of humor. If only I could get Tad to
surrender to the Naziís, Iíd be all set.
"Dabby. Dabby! Where Fwog?"
Hereís how it works. My daughter and baby Tad and I retire to my
darkened bedroom and lie down together, Baby Tad sings a
six-minute cycle of lullabies, then she says "More song, Fwog."
And we repeat this process until she falls asleep. Itís kind of
a slow hour to an hour and a half in six minute lullaby singiní
Frog segments. What happened after the Republican investigatory
committee demanded Martin Sheen accept censure? Iím not sure,
but I think it had something to do with a singiní
"Dabby! Dabby! Where Fwog, Dabby?!"
A note of panic has crept into her voice. Thereís no point in
delaying this and after all, how hard could it be? Baby Frog is
right where we left him last night, at the foot of my bed.
But you and I both know heís not there, donít we? We didnít even
really have to look to know he wasnít there. Looking was a mere
formality. But letís not panic, after all, Baby Tad isnít frog
sized, heís bigger than my Daughter for Godís sake. The house
isnít very big. How hard could it possibly be to find something
the size of a fireplug that looks like a Day-Glo green malformed
Dwarf in a yellow jumper? Well, let me put it to you this way.
The Lindbergh baby? Still missing.
"Where FWOG, Dabby?!"
And the hell of it, see, she knows, she KNOWS where Fwog is,
because you know who doesnít know? You know who has not one damn
clue where frog is? Dabby. Because, and Iím only being honest
here, I donít play with Baby Tad all that much. Sheís shoved him
into some little Baby hideyhole, some toddler size cranny that
exists next to, but not in, my dimension. The little singin'
Bastard is keeping company with a wide selection of sippy cups
full of month old milk solids, socks, bibs, soiled diapers and
over seventeen thousand pacifiers. I am down on my side sucking
lungfulls of dust waiting for my eyes to adjust so I can see
under the couch and while there are enough baby toys under there
for an orphanage, Tad is not among them. I knew that because
Baby Tad could not fit under there unless you coated his
horrible Frog body with Vaseline and asked a Russian Weight
Lifter to take a moment out of his steam bath and SHOVE THE
LITTLE FREAK UNDER THERE. But see, now, Iíve already looked
under everything baby Tad would fit under. Twice. What was it
Sherlock Holmes said? "When you have eliminated the impossible,
whatever remains, however improbable is WHERE YOUíLL FIND THAT
GOD DAMN SINGIN' FROG!"
"Where Fwog, Dabby, where, where, where, Fwog, oh where baby
And I whirled on her and I screamed "I donít know where Fwog is,
I am LOOKING for Fwog but the truth is Dabby doesnít give a
little tin CRAP where Fwog is! Dabby hates Fwog, oh, yes, he
does, hates him right now with a dangerous passion and if Dabby
happens to find the hammer before he finds Fwog? Well! Fwog is
going to be in a mighty tight corner! Do you HEAR me little
missy?! A MIGHTY TIGHT CORNER, I SAY!!"
And then I did an interpretive dance involving violent, spastic
hammer blows and Baby Tad's piteous attempts to shield himself.
I played myself and Baby Tad and did all the sound effects, too.
The choreography was improvised but it came out pretty good.
Of course, I didnít really do any of those things. I looked for
Baby Tad until I found him. He was at the foot of my bed. My
Pajamas were on top of him. See, my wife says I should put away
my Pajamas when I get dressed in the morning, but sheís insane.
I solved the problem my way and it won't happen again. Threw Ďem
out. The hell with Ďem anyway. Bastards.
My Daughter was quite giddy with relief, and honestly, seeing
how happy she was I'd found Baby Tad, I wasnít angry anymore. I
felt foolish and ashamed for having been so mad in the first
place. Sheís a baby and she wanted her Dabby and her Fwog and
she wonít be a baby forever or even that much longer if the
truth be told. I lay down with her and I felt happy to be
Father. Until about the third time through Tadís six minute
lullaby set when his batteries started to run down.
Because if we have any fresh batteries? Iím pretty sure they're
with the Lindbergh Baby.
Max Burbank is starting to think that "FWOG" is actually alive
and planning to kill him. We don't know where on earth he got