It was sometime in the early 1990’s. The Phrogs were on their family vacation. Billy was the oldest of the cousins. He was one of those scrawny kids who was always getting into trouble.
Billy Phrog was walking around the campsite chasing lightning bugs when he tripped on a stick on the road.
“Damn it!” he shouted.
He scrapped his knee on the way down. He picked up the stick and noticed there was something strange about it. It was in the shape of a cane. He figured it was a wizard staff so he began pretending it as such. His imagination used to run wild.
He quickly lost interest in the lightning bugs as he ran around waving his ‘wizard staff’ and everything and everybody.
“Would you stop that, Billy, you look like a jack-ass.” his dad hollered.
“I zap the evil from within you! Magic Spell do your…”thud.
It was momma. She smacked Billy in the back of the head.
“You mind your dad you hear me.” she said.
Billy was shaken but not deterred. He tossed the stick down onto the ground. He sat down in the grass, leaned up against a tree and began humming to himself.
Later that night it was getting cold. Dad had let the fire burn. Billy was wrapped up in his sleeping bag trying his darnedest to stay warm. He wasn’t having any luck.
Billy Phrogg got out of his tent and began pacing the campsite. He was trying real hard not to make any noise for fear of waking one of the adults.
He walked over to the lake. There he sat down at the very edge of the dock. He dipped his toes into the water, looked up at the moon and began day-dreaming once again.
“Some day, I’m going to live in a big mansion at the top of a tall mountain and everybody is going to take me seriously then.” he muttered to himself.
There was a splash in the water. It was a fish leaping to get one of the lightning bugs. Billy remembered back to earlier in the weekend when his sister Brandy was trying to fill a jar with those magical little critters.
A few minutes go by. Billy quickly realizes he wasn’t exactly getting away from the cold by dipping is feet into the cold water. He had forgotten how he had gotten out of bed because of the cold in the first place.
“I wish I had my wizard cane. Then I could summon some warmer weather.” he said.
Billy began walking back towards the campsite. He heard a dog howling off in the distance. He decided he wasn’t ready to go back to bed just yet. He slowly began circling the campsite looking for his cane he dropped earlier. He heard a crackling. He looked up. It was his dad. Standing there with a flashlight in one hand and a belt in the other. Billy new what was about to happen next.
“What in blazes are you doing out of bed, boy!” his dad exclaimed.
“It was too cold.” he said with a quiver of fear in his voice.
“How’s about I warm up your back side with this here belt. That might take care of the cold now won’t it.” he said. Billy took the swatting on the bottom and crawled back into his tent.
The next day Billy was sitting on a tree stump eating breakfast. It was cold eggs and toast. Mom always cooked the eggs and toast before she woke the kids up. Dad had to have his hot, the rest could eat cold food.
Brandy walked up to Billy and asked if he wanted to go play by the beach. He nodded in excitement.
He knew the grown ups were going fishing. He always hated going fishing so he would rather explore the beach with his little sister anyways.
“What you so sad for? she asked.
“Nothing.” he whispered, with his head looking down at the ground as he walked, kicking the dust along the way.
“Are you sure? I’m your best friend you can tell me.” she said.
“I said it’s nothing can you forget it?” he snapped.
“Geesh, don’t bite my head off will ya, I was just trying to be nice.” she said
“Hey, I, um I am sorry Brandy. Dad woke up last night and whooped me for being out of bed. I was kinda dwelling on it that’s all. I didn’t mean to snap at ya.” he said.
Later that day the kids were digging in the sand when Billy came across a bag of peanuts buried on the sand.
“Hey lookie here, still a few fresh nuts in this bag you want to share, Brandy, Sally?” he asked?
“Ew, gross put that thing in the trash you sicko.” Sally snapped.
Brandy’s only response was to shake her head with a look of disgust on her face.
Billy sniffed the bag.
“Smells okay to me. Suit yourself more for me.” he said as he swallowed a mouthful whole.
Suddenly Billy began chocking on one of the nuts. Brandy started crying, rubbing her brothers back while Sally darted back to the camp site looking for a grown up.
She ran into aunt Tammy.
“Aunty, come quick Billy’s chocking!” she exclaimed.
The woman ran to the spot where her nephew lay gasping for air.
Billy was holding onto his throat when he saw his aunt leaning over him. Then he blacked out.
Billy woke up in a hospital bed. He noticed his dad was sitting on the little chair next to the bed. He looked sad. Billy smiled seeing his dad there crying for his sake.
“Hey dad, look I’m okay. How you doing” he asked.
His dad didn’t even look up. He laid his head in his hands sobbing. Billy looked over and saw his sister was also crying on the floor. His gaze kept turning towards his right hand. There by his bedside was his mother holding his hand. He couldn’t feel her hand upon his. Nobody was responding to to his pleas. Fear was beginning to sink in.
Then he noticed something. The doctor came in and tapped mother on the shoulder. He could hear the doctor telling his parents Billy wasn’t in a coma anymore. He was completely brain dead and they were going to have to take him off life support. He was in shock. How could they not see him laying there, alive, awake in the hospital bed.
He followed his parents out of the hospital as the doctors covered his body up. He walked beside his mom to his own funeral where he watched his family members all sobbing over his being gone.
“Hey, what the hell are you doing out here.” a voice called.
Billy turned around and it was his dad. He looked up from the water. Fear in his eyes.
“Dad, it was cold so I walked down to the lake. Please don’t be mad at me.” he pleaded.
“It’s okay son. I was just worried about you. It’s late you know. This lake is dangerous for a young boy at night.” his dad said.
Billy sat there with his dad thinking back to the day dream he just had of dying.
“Dad, can you sit here with me for a bit before we go back to bed? he asked.
“Sure thing son.” he said.
The two watched the fish jumping up to snag them some lightning bugs. Looking back on his life Billy regarded that camping trip as one of his best memories in life.