This is a true story
In my last year in junior high
, I was required to take my first serious science
class, which was at times difficult
, because I wasn't scientific
ally-minded, and at times easy
, because I had a talent
for rote memorization
. One of our projects for the year was going to be dissection
, which I already knew I wasn't going to enjoy. I could memorize all the parts of a frog
, but I already suspected that wasn't going to help me actually locate
a frog's kidney
s or whatever when it came time to digging in its guts
So the time came around the middle of the year, and the science teacher
got her delivery of pickled frog
s. That was, no doubt, the only way you can get junior high kids
to cut up a frog -- it's hard enough convincing them to slice
one open, but if they had to kill
them, too, you'd lose most of the girls and a good percentage of the boys. We came in one morning, and there was a dead preserved frog sitting in a pan in the middle of each desk.
My lab partner
was a hateful bitch, but in junior high, all but about a dozen of the girls are hateful bitches. It's hormone
s, ya know. We'd been assigned to each other, and neither of us were happy about it. She'd gripe
about me loudly, and I'd grind
my teeth loudly. Of course, it did us no good. We'd already decided that I would be doing the cutting
, and she'd look over my shoulder and make gag
ging noises. Teamwork
-- ain't it grand.
We were close to finishing the project. The frog had been safely pinned to the pan, its stomach slice
d open, ribs
separated, insides prodded, and various organs removed and crudely sketch
ed. I was scoop
ing out as many egg
s as I could to get a better view of the scenery
when she digs her nails into my arm and whispers, "It moved
I think all I said was "Leggo my damn arm
." It couldn't move
. It had been dead
for who-knows-how-long. It had been preserved in formaldehyde
. Its limbs were pinned to the tray. Its guts
had been mostly removed. This was, as they say, an EX-frog. But she digs her nails in harder and whispers, "Look at the leg!"
And damn if the leg
It wasn't moving much with that pin
through it, but it was jerk
ing a bit like it wanted to kick free. I goggle
d at it for a second, while completely forgetting about her nails in my arm. It couldn't possibly be a delayed nerve twitch
, I thought. It had been dead
for too long. But it was still jerking, and I finally regained the ability to function. This was still a science project
, so I got down and looked at it more closely.
d, and cloudy
. But they were also moving
. And the mouth
ing and closing slowly, almost like it was trying to breathe
. Or speak
By now, my lab partner had run from the room sobbing. The science teacher looked puzzle
d and asked me what was the matter.
None of the other dissected frogs in the room had started moving. I looked down, and the frog's leg wasn't twitching anymore. The mouth was now very firmly shut.
"Nothing's wrong," I said. And I didn't mention it again.