Hermits Rock

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Frog Goes to Washington: Chapter 1

The frog hadn’t even expected an interview—there were so many more qualified, Havard-educated brokers vying for the spot, and though he had gone to Vassar, he had majored in Women’s Studies—much less an offer. He had submitted his résumé on a lark (literally—the lark offered to carry it to Whittier Thompson Franks himself. “I’ll pretend I’m a carrier pigeon!” he had said) as he was submitting applications to graduate school. But when Richard Thompson himself had called to offer the frog the job, he said, “You are just the sort of out-of-the-box person we need to shake up this place!” Not one to throw a golden parachute out the airplane without it strapped to his back, the frog accepted the offer on the spot.

Soon he realized this would be the easiest job he ever had. Buyers were crawling over themselves to buy the mortgages he bundled. He turned $50 million his first month just by picking up the phone. He remodeled his office into a swamp, turned up the heat, and sold bundled mortgage after bundled mortgage. He invited over friends so he could inseminate their eggs in the mud under his desk; by six months on the job, the first tadpoles had hatched.

However, after the first year, everything fell apart. Nobody was buying anymore, and Whittier Thompson Franks was left holding billions of dollars worth of them. When the housing market crashed, all three partners sat on the log in front of the frog’s desk and said, “This firm is croaking. There is only one thing left to do. We need you to testify in Congress, or…”—each partner picked up a tadpole and squished it between his fingers.

That was all they needed to say.

 

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Washington. The frog shuddered at the thought of it. He had never relished the public side of his duties. The power lunches and dinner parties. The summertime soirées in the Hamptons. It wasn’t that he was antisocial – far from it – but human food was difficult for his digestive system, and he found the taste revolting besides. Worse than that, however, were the myriad misinterpretations caused by the rigidity of his face and the flatness of his voice. His glittering witticisms, polished lovingly in private moments, usually fell dead in public air, and the few times they went over well it was clear in their laughter that what pleased them was a frog with a sense of irony, not the irony itself. No, it was best for him to keep to the facts. This made life safe, but also dull – dull for him and whomever was seated next to him at the table.

Washington would be orders of magnitude worse. Millions would be watching, and the klieg lights focused on him. The public was out for blood, and the frog had walked among humans long enough to know that they would forgive anything from one they considered their own. But who could have sympathy for a heartless, frog banker?

He poured another whiskey and this time left the cap off the bottle.