Toad Dreams

by Rich Stasio

John sniffs the air. He smells it. The rush hits his brain, transported back in time. Memories are flashing at the speed of light. His blood vessels open and a drop of adrenaline touches his blood. He likes this feeling. He thinks to himself how it makes him feel alive, in touch with his spirit. Not this nonsense of what he is supposed to be like, or conditioned to be like, but his primal self. The self that knows exactly who he is, what he wants. John looks at the moon and wants to howl....

It is a dark night October night. The air is crisp and fresh. The moon is full. John runs through the woods sucking the air into his lungs. He feels the efficient exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide, the heart beating, the adrenaline rushing, and the feeling of efficiency. He knows this is his time. His energy is at its peak. He stops in the middle of the trail. John has nowhere to go in particular. He pulls a cigarette out of his pocket. John thinks to himself... "Fuck cigarettes, I am better than them...They can't hurt me... Whatever kills you makes you stronger right?" His lungs from being a conditioned runner suck in the smoke with a greater power. John thinks to himself that he has vitality to burn....

As John inhales his cigarette watching the clouds pass in the brightly lit night sky, he hears a bush rumble. A toad comes out. An unbelievable toad comes out. A 50lb toad to John's estimation. Being a regular guest of the completely normal world, where nothing out of the ordinary ever happens... (and by out of ordinary we mean flying dragons, visiting aliens, unicorns, etc....) The toad gazes at John and freezes him in his spot.... His cigarette hangs from his mouth dumbfounded. The glimmer of the moon reflects on the toads eyes, showing John thousands of eyes of wisdom . To John's horror, the toad opens his mouth, curls a pipe out of his tongue, and shoots a flame out of his nostril to light it.

John still frozen watches the toad with utter belief. The toad opens his mouth and says.... "Boy... Who do you think you are? Who do you know you are? Who do you feel you are?" The toad releases his gaze, and suddenly John does not feel frozen... His facilities are back. "WELL boy?" bellows the toad. John thinks about being offended being called boy at 25 years of age.... But he just knows this toad is old beyond belief. "BOY I SAID WELLL" said the toad this time louder and even more demanding. John opened his mouth to reply and before he could get the first word out the toad flared his nostrils with flames shooting out, and before John had a second to think, he got knocked to the ground by a big wet tongue. " The toad bellowed "YOU KNOW NOTHING!.... now listen..." and the toad spoke....

"In life there are always at least two choices. Left or right. Up or down. Yahweh or Lucifer. Jesus or Mohammed. How can there be any wrong choices, when there are no right choices. You are a child of the light, but you are also a child of the earth. Light and dark is the constant struggle of the inner self. You must be good...but you also must be bad. Too much good always turns bad, and too much bad is never good. They have their time and places, and one cannot exist without the other. The body is a vessel for this, and exists as an agent. "

John listened to the Toad's conversation intently...and went to open his mouth to ask a question but before he could, the Toad said, "There is no knowing boy. And you know it. There is only one rule... and that is there are no rules. Go bad... Feel it. Release it." The giant toad then spat has tongue out again engulfing John's head. The toad touched John's soul and told his soul "There is nothing to be afraid of" John felt this.... He felt the red energy from the toads soul to his own. Suddenly as he came...the toad vanished. And John was no longer astonished. He walked home, smoked another cig and felt different. He was not sure how long it was going to last, or sure if he was any wiser. He just knew he did not know anything.

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