As the alarm turned to midnight my dad hit the off button and nudged my arm to wake me up even though I never fell asleep. I jumped out of the hotel bed to get dressed. We left the room at 12:15am and drove to the Tejon Ranch which luckily was only five minutes away from the hotel. Fortunately, I was not driving because I was still getting the eye boogers out of my eyes. While we were pulling up to the pond I grabbed the flashlight from the consul and threw on my chaps. Even though it was 80 degrees and I was dripping sweat when I got out of the truck, I was not going to risk getting bit by a rattlesnake. Meeting my dad at the tailgate of the truck, he was getting the gig and my job was to make sure there were no rattlesnakes around where we were about to walk. After my dad locked up the truck, he walked in front of me with the flashlight to get to the pond. Walking through the bushes and tall grass we were around twenty yards from the pond and my dad whispered, “I am going to point the light into the frog’s face and it will be blinded by the light and that is when you stick the frog right in between their eyes.” I was so pumped to be frog gigging with my dad for the first time. He always told me stories of when he and his dad went hunting and fishing together, and I wanted that as well with him. As we were quietly walking around a big rock, we could hear a few frogs croaking. We shot a look of excitement toward each other and nodded in unison that were both ready to get this frog. As my dad shined the light onto the rock we saw the frog I focused on putting the three point spear quickly but steadily onto the frog. I quickly struck the frog right between eyes, and I did not move a muscle until my dad had the frog in his hand. I was so excited that I got my first frog. My adrenaline was pumped, and I was excited to keep going. As we walked around the pond all I could think of was how much fun this was, and I get to spend time with my dad. During our walk we whispered back and forth jokes and try not to laugh too loud so we would not scare off the frogs, but sometimes it was too hard to hold it in. When we got halfway around the pond, we saw two frog’s eyes glowing in the water fifteen yards from us. As we approached the frogs, I felt like a lion creeping up on its prey not taking my eyes of the frog. I could feel my sweat rolling down my forehead to my chin. My mind was set on one thing and one thing only, the frog. As we approached the frog, my dad shined the light on the frog and this time I was more confident than the first time. As I struck the frog I became too excited and pulled the gig out of the frog before my dad had the frog in his hand. When I realized we lost the frog I was so mad at myself and was discouraged. My dad looked at me and reassured me, “It’s all good, you took your time and focused on what you were aiming for.” After my dad said that to me I realized isn’t that what hunting and fishing is all about? You are not always going to get your kill. It is about working hard to get the animal or being patient for the fish to bite the bait. At around 2:00am we decided to wrap up the night and head back to the truck. We got a total of ten frogs and couldn’t have been any more excited. While heading back to the truck, I could hear footsteps behind me. I was nervous since it was 2:00am and I did not know who it could possibly be. As I turned around I could not see anyone so I assumed my imagination was getting to me. A few minutes later I heard it again but much louder. My heart felt like it was going to pop out of my chest because I was so scared of what could possibly be behind me. I did not want to look behind me because who knew what I would face. I slowly turned around with my eyes shut at first then slowly opened my eyes and nothing was there. I was certain this time there was something or someone that was there so I tapped my dad on his shoulder and told him,
“Papa, I am hearing footsteps behind me and I am really scared.” He looked at me and to no surprise he said,
“Maybe you’re just paranoid.” I looked at him and told him in a serious voice
“Just stand still and please listen for it because I am certain of it.”
Half of me wanted to hear it again so my dad did not think I was crazy, but the other half of me did not want to hear it again because I was terrified what we would find. The crunching sound appeared again and I shot my dad a glance of “I told you so” he slowly lifted the flashlight to where the noise was coming from and what we found will never escape my mind. As the light reached the noise we saw boars’ eating apples hanging from the low branches from the apple tree. The pigs were eating the apples whole and that was where the crunching sound was coming from. I felt so stupid but was so relieved so my only reaction was to laugh. Pigs have bad eye sight so they did not realize the light was shining on them, but their sense of sound is on point so when they heard us walking back to the truck, they ran away. We continued walking to the truck and laughing about the night. Finally, we got back to the truck and started driving back to the hotel. We instantly started talking about the night we just experienced. By the time we got back to the hotel it was 3:00am and we were ready for bed. I dragged my body into the room and flopped myself onto the bed and fell asleep.
I decided to write “Froggin’ Out” because not only is it a true story, but I love reliving hunting experiences. I have been hunting for about ten years and hunting will never get boring to me. Each experience is like a snowflake, because no hunting experience can be the same. In my story I wanted to write my experience in first person to give off a more personal story. The two stories we read that brought me back to this specific experience was “A Small, Good Thing” written by Raymond Carver and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” written by Flannery O’Connor. In class we discussed how in “A Small, Good Thing,” there was a lot of minimalism. As readers we were able to make guesses on what we thought was going to happen. For example, when Scotty was hit by the car in the beginning it never said who hit him so I automatically thought it was the baker. Throughout the story our imagination took ahold of the story. It relates to my story, because while my dad and I were walking back to the truck I heard a noise behind me and my imagination jumped from it being something small to a killer behind me. In the short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” the suspense of what the killers were going to do to the family also led me to writing my paper. During my experience of walking behind my dad and being terrified it reminded me of the grandma hearing the gunshots and not knowing what was going on. Even though I did not hear gunshots, the footsteps reminded me of the feeling of the not knowing. To me the anticipation was the scariest part of the whole experience. The thing we fear the most is the unknown.
One thought on “Froggin’ Out”
Brooke, your narrative presents an engaging account of your first frog gigging with your father. Shifting the focus from description to analysis in your critical reflection would strengthen the project. Compare: “In my story I wanted to write my experience in first person to give off a more personal story” with “I chose first-person point of view to create a more personal experience of the hunt that places the narrator in the story.” I encourage you to submit your story to Cantos and/or to SOURCE. Cantos accepts email submissions through March 6 at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submission guidelines for SOURCE 2015 should be posted online in February or March.