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by: Max Burbank

"Where Fwog?"

Donít answer. Itís possible sheíll go away if you donít answer.

"Where Fwog?"

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 Fwog?!"

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.

What was that you said Baby Tad?!?!?
Baby Tad

note: 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 that idea...

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