just as the tree was about to eat me

I was standing in the middle of downtown Los Angeles on a fine sunny day in June. Just as the tree was about to eat me, I heard a harsh, croaking voice emanating as if from underwater. Because it was.

"Hey you," the voice said. "Yeah, you."

It seemed damned unlikely the frog was actually speaking to me, but I'm open-minded, I guess. So I looked right at him and said, "You talking to me," and somewhere DeNiro shivered.

The frog, however, did not shiver. In fact, he moved not at all. But he did say, "You realize that tree is about to eat you, right?"

I hadn't thought about that, but it was LA, the frog was speaking English, so it seemed reasonable that the tree might be both omnivorous and hankering for a snack. I stepped back.

"Smart move," said another voice, this one slick and bright yellow in tone.

"You're a fish," I said. "I'm actually hearing your voice, and you're a fish."

"Not just any fish," the voice said. "I am your lucky fish. Your very lucky fish."

I did not know what that might mean so I said, "What exactly does that mean?" Just then, as the tree was about to eat me and the frog was still motionless, the fish vanished. "So much for luck," I said to no one in particular.

"Oh, what are you complaining about?" This was yet a third voice, coming from somewhere behind me and along a wall covered with glossy green leaves.

I followed the sound until I came upon this fellow, fixed on his perch, eyes closed and mouth open in this silly look of surprise. It seemed a reasonable risk to take so I addressed the Green Man directly. "That's a silly look of surprise, sir," I said.

"Ah, you have a keen sense of the obvious," came the reply. "Now, while you're standing there, do you think you could move a little to the left?"

"Why's that?" I asked.

"Because you're blocking my view," he said. I quickly turned around to see and all was made clear.

"I guess you'd like to look at the lyre," I said.

"Precisely," he replied, and I stepped to the left.

"It's a nice lyre," I said.

"Indeed, indeed," said the Green Man. "Just like the one Orpheus used to play. You've seen them depicted, no doubt, on countless Grecian Urns."

I nodded. "But what I want to know is, can you play the thing?"

He snorted. "Can't you see, I have no arms? What would you have me do, lick the strings?"

"I suspect you have no tongue, either," I said. "But isn't that a lovely flower?"

The End.