James Kochalka and the Frog
A Australian Green Tree Frog

Image via Wikipedia

I was staying in a hotel in New York, and James Kochalka was with me (though not sharing a room), and we were friends. Somehow James found a small frog, and was attempting to make it his pet, but the frog took more of a liking to me.

Actually, there were two Jameses, the standard one, and one that was James-At-About-10-Or-So. I think it was 10-James who found the frog, and Adult-James was sort of an observer. I was friends with both, although I think I ended up being a little bit more of a bully to 10-James — or not really a bully, more of an inadvertent one.

The Adult James, the 10-year-old James and I were standing outside of the hotel, going to hail a taxi. I was holding the frog, and the 10-year-old James was just sort of tagging along. He was vaguely sad about the frog wanting to be with me, but not too bad, since it wasn’t like I’d taken it from him or anything. A loud noise went off and I got worried the frog might hop into traffic or something, so I had decided to take it back into the hotel room (which was a penthouse suite type deal). To transport it, I had an empty CD spindle; the kind with the plastic tub that goes over the top, only this particular one didn’t actually have the spindle. I guess that would make it more like a small bucket with a twist-on lid, but in the dream, it was clear that it was once a CD Spindle, just without the central pole. It was one of the larger sized ones, like for 100 CDs. I put the frog in and went inside the hotel.

Unfortunately, the CD Spindle didn’t have any air holes. The frog’s body heat was cooking it[2] and the container was getting all steamed up. Even though this is a very small frog[3], like maybe the size of a briquette. 

Through all of this, with the steamed-up container, the frog had turned from green to orange, and was getting crusty; the frog’s skin looked like the breading on a chicken strip, only frog-shaped, since the frog was still both a frog and a living frog. Though I feared the living part was tenuous at this point. 

I start to panic and I ask a porter, I don’t recall) for help. The porter says it’s a temporary thing and nothing really to worry about, but to give the frog air. So, safely inside the Penthouse Hotel Room (which had things like antique furniture, lots of rooms, maybe a piano), I open the container. There’s a big plume of moist heat (you know, if you cover something up, for example, covering your hand until it sweats, when you remove the cover, all that sweat and heat condenses to moisture). The Orange Crispy Chicken-Breading’d Frog sits there and is Not In The Best Of Shape, but it slowly goes back to normal and eventually loses the breading-look. The crispy looking skin just sort of deflates back into the frog’s normal green skin, and everything is back to normal. 

[1] Which I think is pretty awesome. There’s even a story about how, when he was making Blue Velvet, even though the word “Fuck” appeared in the script (which he wrote) about 150 times, he refused to say it on set, instead referring to it as “that word”.

[2] Even though frogs are cold blooded, this would be kind-of-sort-of-possible. Their muscles give off heat and energy from moving, so frogs are indeed hotter than their environment, but it’s a relatively small heat (not nearly as much as, say, a mammal or bird), and as such, it’d have to be a really efficient oven. 

[3] To shed more light on the size of the frog: I think it was a tree frog, although a particularly loving and emotive bright green tree frog

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