"I'm not crazy. I'm perfectly sane!"
I was beginning to feel as if I was sweating it out under big bright lights in a dark interrogation room. They were circling around me asking questions like vultures waiting for someone to fall over dead so they could eat the carcass. "Why were you screaming?" "What happened out there?" "Why is your backside covered in mud?" Oh, the stress they were causing me!
Just moments before I had been serenely sitting outside trying to lure my beautiful house cat, Salem, into my arms. I was beneath a shelter meant to protect assorted ATV's, bicycles, lawn mowers, and just about anything else people like to keep without having it in the house. Just as I picked Salem up and started to make the walk from the shelter to the kitchen door, I felt raindrops start to pound against my skin so hard it actually made my face sting.
"Dianna! Are you out there?" My neighbor yelled from the inside of my kitchen. She tried to open the kitchen door and the wind caught it which forced it out of her hand. It banged against the side of the house and startled poor Salem. He jumped out of my arms and I tried to recapture him before he hit the ground. That's when I felt my feet sliding on the water logged ground.
Just as I felt my ample backside make contact with the wet earth, and not in a graceful manner, something struck out at my pants leg. I was screaming. I could hear myself. Somewhere above the sound of the rain falling on my metal roof, the dogs inside the house barking because they couldn't get outside, and redneck local boys revving up 4-wheelers to go "muddin," I could hear Salem yowling as if he was about to fight a wild cat.
Slipping and sliding all over the ground, I tried to regain my balance to stand up. My hair was wet and hanging from my head like an old kitchen mop and my heart was beating wildly in my chest. I was sure I had been snake-bitten and if I didn't get away quickly it would strike me again.
Saliva started to run out of my mouth. "Oh God," I remember thinking, "Please don't let me die out here in a pouring rain!" Then something landed against the calf of my leg again. This time it attached itself to my pants and I just knew I was a goner! I could almost feel the venom oozing through my bloodstream.
Salem sauntered past me and turned his face to look around, his eyes cool and curious, as I finally managed to stand on my feet. I bent over to scoop him up to save him from the snake I could feel holding onto my leg for dear life. That's when I realized it wasn't a snake at all...it was a toad. It was a small toad. It was a venom-free toad. A small, venom-free, harmless toad.
"Shhh, listen," I urged the interrogators.
"Listen for what?" They weren't listening at all. Nobody listened. I was counting on the fact that they never listen.
"He's getting away! Quick, stop him! Stop that bear!" I yelled out.
"Are you crazy? We're not going out there with a bear! How did a bear even get into the yard?" All of the teenagers in my kitchen, and the neighbor who had long forgotten what she wanted to tell me, were pressed against the window panes and the screen door to keep an eye out for the bear.
I couldn't very well tell them that a poor little toad had nearly given me a heart attack, now could I? A bear chasing me around the yard was a much better story and I'm sure everyone in the neighborhood will be talking about this tomorrow instead of complaining about all the rain we've had lately.
"I'm not crazy. I'm perfectly sane! Really!"
© Dianna Doles-Petry