Eliza and the Frog (II/VII)

← Previous | Next →

Liril is terrified the day she is going to begin to want things again.

It is spiraling in on her.

She wakes up and she hears the sharp screech of the timing frog — it’s trying very hard to screech up the dawn — and she knows that today is going to be the worst of all possible days.

Not even a joke about elephants will let her find forgiveness in her heart for Melanie, today.

The sands dripped through the hourglass
And the hour of the wolf closed in at last
And life is sweet and the sun is high
But the flesh and the fire are born to die

Not, she thinks bitterly, that Melanie is going to bother making jokes today about elephants.

Her eyes close for just a moment. It is an involuntary reflex. Sleep looms close.

The screech of the frog drags her back into the world.

“Shut up,” Liril says.

The frog glowers balefully at her. Its belly is made of brass. Its skin is covered in fanciful ornamentation. It is most likely an entirely inorganic frog, but it affects to personhood like she does and it draws back from the dresser at the side of her cage with an offended scrape.

“If there is not a person to call the dawn,” the frog says, “it will not come.”

Liril opens the door of her cage. She drops down to the floor. She pads over to the dresser and selects a dress.

“That is why I screech,” the frog explains.

“That is not why you screech,” she says.

It frowns at her.

“You screech because it is your mechanism,” she says.

“I converse,” it says.

She finds a bracelet made of small colored chunks of laminate. She slips it on.

“I pass the Turing test,” it says.

“Why do you think you pass the Turing test?” she asks it.

“You perceive me as sentient,” it answers.

She hits it on the head. She would like to hit it very hard indeed but in fact it is a gentle tap. She is not sure if that is because Liril is a soft-hearted phenomenon or because at some point the monster asked her not to injure things save as his instrument.

Nevertheless it rings, deeply, like a bell, from the motion of her hand.

“I don’t perceive you as sentient,” she denies. “I don’t perceive anything at all. You are anthropomorphizing me in an unwarranted fashion.”

[The Frog and the Thorn – CHAPTER ONE]

March 18, 1995

“That is a loophole in the Turing test,” the frog concedes.

let’s try Wednesdays and Fridays for a bit, with Mondays going to Chibi-Ex.

← Previous | Next →

View On Imago

Categories: Histories, Histories and Stories, Hitherby, On Monsters, Under Construction - The Frog and the Thorn