Thursday, July 19, 2007

If the Palace Flophouse Boys had SUVs

A wave of frantic, frustrated frogs, big ones, little ones, brown ones, green ones, men frogs and women frogs, a wave of them broke over the bank, crawled, leaped, scrambled...

...But never in the frog history had such an execution taken place.
John Steinbeck, Cannery RowSteinbeck's tale of Doc, Mack, Hazel, Dora, and of course, Lee Chong on the street in Monterey named for the industry surrounding a small, oily fish is one of my favorite books of all time. I've read the short novel (and it's sequel of sorts, Sweet Thursday) at least once a year for the last 20 years.

True, I'm a fan of Steinbeck's other works, but his tales from the "Row" will be one of the few books I'll be cremated with at the end of days.

In my small town there is a large, recently constructed and brightly lit locally owned bank that sits on the main drag through the city.

Dominating the more than ample parking area is a multi-lane drive-up teller service area, completely protected from bad weather elements, with nightime lighting provided by what must be banks upon banks of daylight balanced xenon bulbed tunnel light fixtures -- ultra secure for a late night ATM withdrawal, or drive-up window transaction during a white-out snow storm.

But in the wilds of a rural Oklahoma small town in the heat and humidity of a steamy July night, these same beacons of brightness and safe-and-soundness draw the entire varmint food chain from miles around.

Little bugs bring the big bugs. Big bugs bring the slimy and slithery beasties, which bring the furry critters at the top of the varmint food pyramid -- most of which possess the survival instincts to dash away home at the first sign of a Dodge Durango rolling on 20's and looking for a quick pull of a pair of Jackson's from the auto money machine.

Not the frogs again!

After a busy Friday night at the banks drive-up ATM, the toady carnage remaining in the driving paths leading up to and away from the cash machine robot is enough to swear off nutritional ingestion of any kind for a good day or two.

What the frogs and toads must think of this killing field, or why they keep allowing themselves to be lured into this rotating wheel of deep tread radial death is beyond me.

So, I turn to Steinbeck for answers, for it has been awhile since I visited the "Row."

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