Chapter 2: Creeque Alley

I’ve been prepping for the new job. They needed all kinds of documentation to prove I’d be legal for them to hire as an employee, which I suppose is understandable, but I quickly found out that the places I needed to get that documentation from, or send it to, weren’t always mobile-friendly. I was going to need to find an actual computer.

Rustic Willow Creek

I wasn’t able to find a computer I’d be able to access in Del Sol Valley (no doubt because everyone who lives there is assumed to be rich enough to have their own), but I did track down the address of a public library with computers in Willow Creek. I have to say, the transportation system around here is top-notch. The trip was really quick, and I didn’t have to spend a dime to get there, which was a good thing since I don’t have the proverbial two nickels to rub together. Don’t ask me why anyone would want to rub nickels together. And why not dimes, or if you really want to show off your obscene wealth, quarters?

Anyway, I soon found the library and headed inside. The first thing I noticed was that it was really warm; I’d been outside for so long I’d stopped noticing the winter cold was slowly freezing me to death. Also, there were bathrooms, which were a very welcome sight for someone who hadn’t seen one since the day before.

Plumbing, I’ve missed you

I settled in, got all my online chores done, and may have whittled away an hour or two playing some games; I really wasn’t in any hurry to get back out into the cold. I also took some time to look up some information about Willow Creek, since it was my first visit to the town and I’m sort of a geek when it comes to digging up trivia about the places I wander through. I mean, I’m pretty much a big old geek in general, but useless local trivia is definitely one of the things under my personal geek umbrella.

One of the fun facts frequently mentioned about the area is that it is home to a wide variety of frogs. As it happens, people flock to Willow Creek from miles around to find, catch, and even breed these frogs. Some people apparently make a pretty good living at it. These words were music to the ears of someone broke and desperate enough to try to make some money off the sexual escapades of wild frogs.

Toadally Into It

I was pretty excited to hear that one of the prime frog-hunting spots was located not far from the library, at a local park. I quickly read up on everything I needed to know to catch a frog, from their preferred habitats to what a froggy mating call sounds like. I practiced it a bit there in the library, but all that accomplished was to annoy a few readers and a particularly crabby librarian, none of whom had any discernible urge to mate with me, despite the librarian being decidedly a bit froggy-looking.

A Face for Eating Flies

Bracing again for the cold, I left the comfort of the library and walked to the park. It didn’t take a lot of searching before I found what I was looking for: one of the hollow logs the local croakers call home. They like to nestle deep inside those things, so you have to reach pretty far into them to find one. If you happen to have a fear of swamp creatures that live inside dark, damp logs biting your arm off at the elbow, I’m not sure I’d recommend a career as a frog hunter. I, however, possess a startlingly absent sense of self-preservation, so I leaned down and reached into that waterlogged stump as far as I could.

Big Frogs, No Whammies!

To my own surprise and excitement, I soon felt something spongy and wet and definitely at least a little bit froggy, so I got a good grip on it and pulled it out. Jackpot! I held in my hand (which had, thankfully, not been chewed off by a swamp monster) a somewhat startled, confused, and presumably angry frog. For once, the internet had actually been right about something.

I quickly stashed Kermit’s little cousin in one of my many pockets and went looking for another log. You may remember me mentioning that most of my wardrobe consists of pockets, and this is exactly the reason why — I’m sort of a compulsive collector, and having a lot of storage built into my clothes comes in really handy when transporting shiny rocks, pretty seashells, or recently-displaced amphibians.

Man Cannot Live on Frog Alone

I managed to find three of the little critters, along with a few interesting crystals and even a couple of fossils, before the cold started to get unbearable again. Since I am no fan of hypothermia, and had no idea how much my croakers and other baubles might be worth, it was time to head back to the library to find out. After that, I was really going to need to find a shower. Digging through wet stumps in a cold bog had left me smelling a bit swampier than I, or the other people I associate with, would typically prefer.

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