Within half an hour Myrtle was snoring gently, her head tilted to the side, the novel open and forgotten on her chest. She dreamt of being awoken by a prince; of riches and beauty rarely bestowed on the common people and of fairytale endings to unhappy beginnings. The intrusive banging of the cat flap and an odd drawn out screech from Marshmallow brought Myrtle crushingly awake. She muttered under her breath. To the unseen observer it sounded like she was asking a dream prince to kiss her again and complaining that she hadn’t yet slept for a hundred years. Bewildered, she looked around for the cat and found him sitting on the Turkish carpet with a huge grin on his face. Myrtle insisted on calling the richly hued carpet her magic ride to the chagrin of family and friends alike.
Marshmallow was sitting on the very edge of said carpet grinning idiotically at her. Later, Myrtle would swear to any judge and jury that the cat winked at her lasciviously and gestured to an oddly shaped, olive green ball that sat in the exact centre of her magic ride. The ball said: “Ribbit”, as frogs usually do, having no human speech mechanisms. Myrtle, suffering from Ranidophobia and believing that frogs were a bad omen, shooed the croaking ball away. She was afraid that if she dared get out of the armchair, the croaker would leap upon her and her body would be covered in warts within the hour.
“Stupid cat, why on earth would you bring this monstrosity inside? Couldn’t you find a nice female cat instead? “Marshmallow merely grinned in an all too intelligent fashion. Myrtle was sure she had gone to sleep and had awoken in an alternate universe in which cats were intelligent and frogs watched you with their beady eyes, looking for the world like superior, royal beings. She shook her head in an attempt at clearing the vestiges of sleep that still clung desperately to her mind.
“Ribbit,” the frog voiced his opinion on the matter. Myrtle looked at it closely. On the dimpled head sat a tiny golden crown, decorated with emeralds and diamond slivers. Over its back, a gossamer mantle of golden silk, fluttered breezily.
“Ribbit,” it said once more, this time holding a set of jewel encrusted toe nail clippers in one webbed, pseudo hand. Myrtle gingerly reached for it, being careful not to touch one single millimetre of the frog’s coarse skin. She held the tiny toe nail clippers close to the lamplight, marvelling at the fine craftsmanship and the dazzling array of jewels. Surely, she was still stuck in a dream reality? This couldn’t be happening……or could it? She had to admit that toe nail clippers were not an acceptable, normal gift, except maybe in frog world. To her untrained eye, however, the jewels were real enough at least. Myrtle decided to pinch herself, hard, only to find that she was very much awake. To get her attention the frog croaked insistently. This time it held out an exquisite flower carved out of a single, large pearl. It even nodded wisely at her as she audibly exclaimed at the singular beauty of the gift. Frog and human looked at each other for what seemed like ages, but must in fact have been but a minute. The frog puckered up its fleshy lips and made a rude smacking noise. Myrtle realised it had just asked for a kiss in the only way it knew how. What if this was indeed her long lost prince changed into a frog for pissing off the local witch? Maybe a soft kiss on those slimy lips wouldn’t hurt and it would be transformed into an elegant, handsome male. Just what the doctor ordered for Valentine’s Day.