A narrow footpath, wet and slippery, led us around the edge of a field.
It was dark and February cold at a beach just north of Santa Cruz.
We navigated by sound; I couldn't see Bob's overshirt in the dark
and didn't know him well enough to reach out and grab the flannel.
It was too cold to be without a down jacket.

The ocean grew louder.
The din of a million chirping frogs merged with the crashing waves.

Tony and Bob led the way. Tony had been out of juvie for almost a week;
we'd helped Bob escape earlier that afternoon.
He'd take off for Idaho the next day. Len followed behind me,
carrying two beat-to-shit sleeping bags. I had an imitation Navaho blanket
balled up in my arms.

"I think I'm stepping on frogs, man."
Tony's voice floated back toward us.
"I don't want to be stepping on frogs."

"I'm squashing them." Louder.
"There's nowhere to walk that isn't frogs." He was crying then.
"I'm killing these fuckin' frogs."


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