There was a girl, called Princess, who was, appropriately, a real princess, in so much as she could be, on occasion, a royal pain in the arse. This was due, largely, to the fact that she was named Princess and that just wasn't her, really. She was the kind of girl who was rough and ready and less into the girlie things. Unpolished. Zesty. A lesbian.
None of which relates to how she found herself, one day, idling along a towpath, whereupon her way was blocked by a cheeking-looking frog.
Princess was suspicious. She had once had a long and life-altering conversation pelican, on an ill-advised peyote-fuelled spirit journey. When she awoke, in her back garden, she discovered that the pelican was, in fact, a plastic Tesco bag stuck to a bush, or a dead seagull under a different, but nearby, bush. It was a real blow, because she'd forgotten what the pelican had said.
And so, her life continued on in the exact same way before, her life almost completely unaltered but for a new and profound distrust of talking animals.
'Hullo,' she replied, for she still had her manners.
There was a moment of awkward silence.
'Yes, well,' said the frog, 'I'm a talking frog. I imagine that illicits a fairly strong, guttural reaction, does it not?'
Princess shrugged and then nodded, and then, for no real reason that she could think of, she curtseyed.
'If you're scared, it might help if you... I don't know, just spitballing, you could throw me against the wall if you'd like,' the frog continued.
'But wouldn't that kill you?' asked Princess. She did not trust the frog, for he was very familiar, and a talking frog.
'I'm just trying to help you deal with your fear of me, that's all,' said the frog.
'I'm not going to murder you,' said Princess, 'unless you disrespect me or my family or, wait, what newspaper do you read?'
The frog looked Princess up and down. Over an obscure band's t-shirt, she wore a checked shirt that wasnot remotely tucked in to her low-slung skinny jeans. Her pockets bulged in obviously Apple-branded shapes and she was carrying a vintage Penguin book in her hand, spine cracked.
'The Daily Mail,' said the frog, 'and your mother is so fat, she has other slightly smaller fat people orbiting around her giant arse.'
Well that did it. Princess swooped down to pick up the frog, and he let out a little wheeze. For that level of disrespect, she would show him not to mess with a county-level shot putter. She pulle back her arm.
Princess dropped him back down to the path.
'You silly girl,' he admonished. 'Everyone knows you aren't supposed to touch a frog with dry hands! It's like touching us with fire hands.'
'I thought that was slugs,' said Princess, her alabaster skin rouging, girlishly.
'It's frogs and slugs!' the frog scolded.
Princess had had just about enough of this.
'Now you see here,' she said, waggling her index finger, on which was tattooed a small pelican. 'I've had just about enough of this. If you want me to kill you, does it matter if I have dry hands? Won't that help, kind of, anyway? You should be grateful, actually.'
'Who said I wanted you to kill me?' asked the frog, shockedly. 'I just wanted you to throw me against a wall, is all. So that I'd turn into a prince.'
'Oh yeah, that makes sense,' said Princess.
'We could try kissing, I suppose...' pondered the frog.
Princess had kissed a boy once because she thought she'd better be sure. It had been mildly pleasant, and the obvious signs of enjoyment on his part had been flattering, but in the end it did nothing for her. She had decided from that day forward never to use her stunning beauty to lead a man on again (for that kiss, we forgot to mention, completely ruined her kissing partner's life - a story for another time).
'No can do, Boss,' said Princess, knuckles to her hips. 'I don't swing that way, if you get what I mean?'
'But I'm a frog,' said the incredulous frog, 'it barely even matters that I'm a male one.'
'Nuh-uh, boyfriend. No spawn, no horn,' said Princess, who only slightly regretted putting on the American accent.
The frog looked most upset. He cried, saddeningly. He cried so much that Princess vomitted onto the towpath. The frog stopped crying for a moment, in order to be disgusted.
'I always vom when I see other people's blood or tears or vom,' explained Princess, as she wiped her mouth. 'What's wrong anyway?'
'I want to be a prince, and now a princess has come along and won't even kiss me and she has fire hands too! I'll be a frog forever,' sniffled the frog.
'Oh, pish posh,' said Princess, who didn't have the heart to tell the frog that she wasn't a real princess. 'Who wants to be a prince anyway? There's loads of those. Do you know how many talking frogs there are? One. And he's a right muppet. Trust me, frog, you're better off as you were.'
'Really?' asked the frog, eye-dryingly.
'Really,' said Princess, though she knew that she'd always prefer Kermit.
'And we could be friends?' asked the frog, desperately.
'Sure,' said Princess, as she looked around to check that nobody she knew could see or hear her.
'Princess,' said the frog as he hopped up on to her check-shirted shoulder, 'I think this could be the start of something really special.'
'Special needs, more like!' joked Princess and the two new friends laughed and laughed, all the way home.
To be continued...