Man With Toad on Head

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This article chronicles a series of mysterious incidents occuring on a subway. IF you have any information regarding what happened, please stand in a bucket of water.

Day One.[edit | edit source]

Roger stepped on to the subway. He was on his way to work. He worked in an enormous office building. He had worked there for 48 years, and he still had no idea what his job really was. He just sat at a computer and did whatever his boss told him to. Sometimes this meant copying a row of numbers in to the computer. Sometimes it meant proofreading endless pages of stock-exchange data. And other times it meant licking his boss's toes.

Roger heaved a sigh as he sat on the dilapidated subway next to other tired-looking people. The woman on one side of him was slurping on a cup of coffee. The elderly man on Roger's other side was administering electric shocks to himself, using what looked like a car battery. Roger stared straight ahead, avoiding eye contact with the other passengers. He listened as the subway's loud engine kicked in and it began to move. He breathed in that distinctive subway odor--hot, stale urine.


After ten minutes, the subway came to a stop and an obese man stepped in to the subway. Like everyone else in the subway, he wore a business suit (his was brown) and he carried a briefcase. Unlike anyone else in the subway, this man had a toad perched atop his head.

The author paused to itch the back of his neck.

The man with the toad on his head sat down. The subway continued to move. It rolled to a stop at Roger's station, and he got off.

Day Two.[edit | edit source]

The next day, Roger again got on the subway at the exact same time. The exact same group of people was on the subway today. Roger turned to the man with the car battery and said, "Why are you electrocuting yourself?"

The man gazed dolefully at Roger, yawned, then proceeded to electrocute himself yet again. Puzzled by this, Roger took a few moments to notice that the man with the toad on his head was again sitting on the subway.

The toad man abruptly stood up, looked around at the other passengers, and opened his mouth as if to speak. After a few minutes, he closed his mouth and sat back down.

Roger noticed that the subway's ceiling had turned dark blue.

Day Three.[edit | edit source]

When Roger got on the next day, a few of the regular subway passengers were gone, including the car battery man. The toad man was there, though. He was stroking the toad who was sitting on his head.

Roger looked at the ceiling and saw that it was still the dark blue shade that it had turned in to yesterday. None of the other passengers seemed to have noticed.

Then, the toad man stood up, and opened his mouth again. After taking a deep breath, he spoke: "Mankind. Mankind. The only animal that builds its own cages. The only animal to cage itself in." He sat back down, and the toad gave a deep, belching CROAK.

Roger looked up to see that the ceiling was a lighter blue. He noticed that the stale urine smell was gone. The subway doors opened, and he got off for work.

Day Four.[edit | edit source]

Roger was eager to get on the subway today. He climbed aboard, to see that even more of the regular passengers were gone, but the toad man was still there. The toad man stood up, opened his mouth, and said: "We're still perplexed by the same things that have perplexed us since human history began. Ancient greek writers wrote about the same endless, meaningless cycles of brutality and war that we're plagued by today. Shakespeare wrote about how Time brings us to life only to confuse us, then kill us abruptly. They lived hundreds of years ago, yet the questions they asked still are just as relevent today as they were then. Humanity could reach for the stars, but those questions would still plague us. Still plague us. We certainly won't find the answers if..." he seemed to lose his train of thought. He picked up his suitcase, and seemed on the verge of opening it, but then he said "Too soon." He sat down.

Roger looked at the ceiling to discover that it was still brilliant blue, but now there appeared to be wisps of cloud floating across it.

Day Five[edit | edit source]

The next day, Roger sat beside the toad man. The toad man gave Roger a reproachful look, stood up, and crossed to the other side of the subway.

They sat in silence for 20 minutes, then the toad man stood up and said, "Here we are, in our concrete world, repeating ourselves, wasting time. We're all businessmen. All of us. Look at our clothes. Look at what we do on a day-to-day basis. Look what we've made our lives all about. It's so artificial! And when we die, what happens? We get an obituary written in our memory under the Sports section. An obituary that other businessmen read while they eat cereal. We're all newspaper clippings in the end. Then we get buried under ROCKS. ROCKS!!! CONCRETE!!! WHAT ARE WE??? WHO ARE WE??? We never ask ourselves those questions, because we're too busy picking out ties for tomorrows dinner parties!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!" The last word was a drawn out, bloodcurtling scream. He opened his suitcase yet again, and Roger distinctly heard several croaks coming from inside. The man said, "Just a little longer" in to the suitcase, then closed it and sat back down.

Roger felt ashamed of himself, because his life exactly matched the sort of concrete-surrounded life that the toad man was talking about. He hung his head, only to discover that the floor of the subway was now covered with gorgeous green grass.

Day Six[edit | edit source]

Roger arrived on the subway, which now had a grass floor and blue sky instead of a ceiling, and sat down. No one else was there except the toad man.

The toad man stood up as usual and said, "Mankind, stuck in a cage of its own making. Wondering about the same questions it wondered during Shakespeare's time: What is death? Why are we alive? What's the point? WHY TOADS????" he screamed the last two words, and his voice broke, "BUT LIFE isn't considerate enough to actually ANSWER any of those questions, oh no. We're CLUELESS!!! CLUELESS!!! All we know about death is that it will defeat us all! DEFEAT US ALL!!@! We know our time is limited and yet we SIT AROUND!!! WE SIT AROUND!!! AUUUUUUUGHHGHGHH!!! BLALAUUAUGUUAUUAAH!!!! AUAUUGOGGOOOAOOAOUGU!!!!" At this point, the toad man was no longer saying coherent words, but instead unleashing a torrent of agonized screams. Roger saw the walls of the subway shaking and the grass at his feet growing greener. He saw flowers growing up amongst the grass, and he understood. He stood up and joined the screaming, and the instant he did so, the walls of the subway exploded, the seats burst in to dust, and suddenly he and the toad man were standing in the middle of a serene pasture with green grass, rolling hills, meadows full of flowers and a brilliant blue sky.

"Where are we?" asked Roger.

The toad man said nothing, but opened the briefcase, out of which sprang about 30 toads. All of them eagerly hopped in to a nearby trickling stream. "My children are free," said the toad man.

Roger cast aside his own suitcase and flopped on to his back, looking up at the lazy clouds.

After what seemed like 50 minutes, he heard a sliding door open. He looked up and saw that the subway door had opened--a portal back to the city.

"You can stay here," said the toad man, "Or you can get off the subway. If you choose to get off, you'll still be able to get back to this place. You've made the necessary choices. You have the necessary strength."

And so, Roger chose to get off the subway, but every trip on the subway meant a visit to Paradise from then on. Every day he got off in the morning and got on the subway, and when he stepped through the subway's door he stepped through a portal in to the green pastures of his and the toad man's making. Roger and the toad man had created a paradise in the middle of a smog-filled city. It was their secret--theirs and the toads'.

It made everything much easier.