There was a dead frog on the doorstep when I arrived at the ‘office’ on Tuesday. The office is or was and probably still should be a basement flat, in a large converted house, in a residential area in the North of London. I’ve never seen anyone enter or leave any of the other flats - not that that is relevant here. I’m just setting the scene.
The basement is reached by means of ten (or maybe eleven) steps, to the left of a path at the end of which is the front door leading to the rest of the building. There is, I imagine, a hall leading to a flat directly inside, and also more flats above. People like me, living their lives, being exploited by the system etc.
I stepped carefully over the frog, vaguely hoped someone would move it and moved on.
Sometime later V arrived at the office and said:
“There is a dead frog on the doorstep ...”
“what does it mean?”
My first answer was that it meant nothing. The frog had been injured in some way, crawled to the doorstep and then died. Or maybe I cat had mauled it, dumped it and wandered off, miaowing. Perhaps it had just died. Maybe from dehydration. I speculated - unlikely due to the rain that has been pounding London recently.
And wondered aloud (putting paid to any chance of a pay rise)
“Maybe a prince was unlucky?”
V sighed, scowled, sat down next to me, stared at me with eyes brighter than should be possible in the half light of the office (mental note - look this up), and explained that ...
... everything has a meaning.
A dead frog on the doorstep has a meaning. It is an omen. Omens are important in our line of work.
Well, I decided not to explain that while omens might matter to a witch such as she, but to a coder, developer, web master such as me, they meant nothing more than the random number generators used on our web sites.
“What can a dead frog mean?”
I started to answer, and discovered that the question was rhetorical, and that if I valued my job to remain completely quiet and listen.
And after what seemed like a lifetime she finished with :
“Omens aren’t important to you as a scientist? So tell me about mirrors and dreams”
I mean not literally.
But she left too quickly for me to think of a witty response. Yeah. Mirrors. Dreams. My bete noirs. My weak points.
Back in the real world, I check logs, servers, daemons and all the usual dev. op. malarky.
Finally, I check my e-mail, and discover one from V, dated from yesterday:
“Dead frogs on doorsteps mean that people like you should pay more attention to details. It’s the coven book group tonight, I’m hosting. And you know what Malintzin thinks about dead things”.
That’s a bit rich. If your namesake was an Aztec princess, you would’ve thought that blood and gore would be part of the day to day.
Or maybe she would try and re-animate it or some such.
I smirked as I went to remove said frog, which was as it happened a mistake, given the later consequences.
My final thought while watching the others at the end of the garden, and b4 entering the deep and (with any luck) dreamless, was that I didn't see the frog yesterday.