The Kissing Booth

floating-bed

Click the pic for the original challenge. Written for Ermilia’s Picture It & Write.

I can’t really say we got arrested. We were nine years old. Well, Jessi was. You couldn’t handcuff a couple of girls our age anway. The cuffs would just fall off. But we ended up in the back seat of Sheriff Thompson’s car because there wasn’t enough room for us both in the front.

“Did Jessi put you up to this?” Mama asked when he delivered me to the door, glaring suspiciously at Jessi who was waving politely from the back seat.

“No, Mama.” I shook my head.

It was a silly question. Of course Jessi put me up to it, as much as she ever put me up to anything. I’d learned by then, however, that answering yes to that question meant I wouldn’t get to play with Jessi for a while.

“You’ll have to have a talk with her,” Sheriff Thompson said apologetically. “Maybe you can sit down with the Warrens and talk it over together, whatever makes the most sense. We just can’t have the kids selling things in the park without a public permit. There’s an ordinance. You understand.”

“Of course, Ralph,” Mama said, waving back at Jessi with a fake smile of her own. “What exactly were they selling?”

Sheriff Thompson looked uncomfortable. With most kids, it’s probably something like lemonade. “I better let your daughter explain that. I’m sure it’ll make more sense coming from her. There’ll be the matter of the $24.75 too. You’ll have to sign for that at the station.”

After he’d gone, I stared at my toes. The temperature in our house went up several degrees while I waited for it.

“Flower Anne?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“The sheriff said he had to let at least a hundred frogs go. Were you selling frogs?”

Wow, it was hot in there! “No, the frogs were free.”

“Then what exactly were you selling?”

“Kisses.” It had sounded a whole lot better when Jessi suggested it.

“Kisses! Eight years old and kissing boys? What will your father say?”

“Ew!” I looked up in alarm. “Not boys! They were kissing the frogs. Five frogs for a dollar.”

“Kiss five frogs?” Mama’s skin threatened to turn as green as the frogs’.

“That way you don’t have to kiss a thousand.” My logic was suddenly sounding shaky even to me.

“Why on Earth would anyone kiss a thousand frogs?”

“Mrs. Warren said some people will kiss a thousand frogs to find one prince.”

That’s where we got the idea. We had no idea she was talking about a friend’s long string of ugly boyfriends. Jessi thought it wouldn’t be so bad to kiss one frog if you just knew which one was the right one. I might have suggested pretending we were smart enough to tell. Charging money for it was Jessi’s idea, though. That’s the truth.

We made up little hand-written advertisements and handed them out in school. Okay, I made them up, complete with a little frog princess I got pretty good at drawing by the fourth or fifth one, but Jessi helped hand them out. That’s how we got caught. Someone’s parents found one of our ads and sent Sheriff Thompson out to the park in the center of town where Jessi and I had caught as many frogs as we could and erected a frog-kissing booth at the edge of the pond. A long line of kids all ran away when the sheriff showed up to make us take down the booth and let the frogs go.

Reluctantly, I explained all this as Mama listened patiently.

“Please don’t tell Daddy,” I begged.

“Your father’s sure to hear about this,” she answered with a sigh, “but we can deal with it then I suppose. There’s something I don’t understand. If it was a dollar even to kiss five frogs, what was the seventy-five cents for?”

“Jimmy Cathcart said you get warts from kissing frogs, so we sold him wart insurance.”

“Seventy-five cents insurance, on a dollar!”

“No,” I scowled. “Insurance was only a quarter. Jimmy went three times.”

© 2013 Anne Schilde

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About Anne Schilde

Image "Webster's Kiss" © 2011 Anne Schilde Thanks always for reading! ♥
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29 Responses to The Kissing Booth

  1. Delightful story!!! :)

  2. II says:

    so cute!

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Thanks, Thu. I love feeling like I brought a smile. It seemed like a bit of a stretch, but that bed in the middle of the lily pads made me think frog princess and the story just came out.

  3. joetwo says:

    Jimmy sounds like an optimist. Pity the law stepped on yous business venture.

  4. Adam Drake says:

    So simple, yet beautiful, light and fun. I loved it. Smiled the whole way through.

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Thanks, Adam. I had some ideas to further complicate it, the most obvious being Jessi and I catching the frogs and puzzling over how to tell if they were boy frogs or girl frogs. I thought about sketching one of the hand-drawn ads and coloring it with crayons. I decided simple was better. Thanks for sharing your smiles!

  5. Randy Mazie says:

    Very cute story. Loved the wart insurance.

    A little overkill perhaps with the police bringing the girsl hiome, but better than the girls walking home, frogs-in-hand, wearing their hoodies and getting .. (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one). Randy

  6. Anna says:

    Ha ha! Wart insurance :D I remember as a child taking things completely the wrong way from teachers, or parents, or TV presenters for that matter. I am somewhat glad that not everything was always explained as it kept some of the magic… though I can’t say I ever kissed frogs. Not of the frog variety, anyway.

    • Anne Schilde says:

      How funny! Yeah, I’ve had a couple of those other frogs. I can’t find the right words, so I’ll just repeat yours, “I am somewhat glad that not everything was always explained as it kept some of the magic.” ♥

  7. neenslewy says:

    The literal minds of the young – fantastic, humorous story! You do have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince – I never thought of the insurance though! Funny how that only comes into play once you have met your prince!
    Loved reading this – great characters, easy to get right inside this piece. Reminds me of childhood summers filled with make believe games and freedom!

  8. Ermilia says:

    Hahahaha, I love the line about insurance. This part also made me smile – ‘“That way you don’t have to kiss a thousand.” My logic was suddenly sounding shaky even to me.’ I love how things can seem logical at one point but then silly the next. :P Great story, Annie. Super cute. :)

    - Ermisenda

    • Anne Schilde says:

      In actuality, I’ve sold the world wart insurance for $0.00. :) I’m really good at reasoning things out and then wondering what the heck I was thinking later. It’s like there’s two of me and we don’t think much alike. I’m glad you thought the story was cute, Ermi.

  9. Ermilia says:

    This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. You just made my week.

  10. nightlake says:

    very humorous. The police has to step in and spoil the fun

  11. gemini says:

    What a lovely story. I went back in time a little then Anne and imagined plotting such a sale lol! I have kissed a few frogs in my time too, but still not found my prince! Xx

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