The Ecphorizer

Toads Have a Blast
Susan Packie

Issue #61 (December 1986)

We Easterners figured that when the San Andreas Fault and Mount Saint Helens decided to hook up and become a team, the entire western section of the country would collapse into the Pacific Ocean, finally granting the Midwest its long-coveted beaches and fresh seafood. We were wrong. The toads did

Toads are carving out new tunnels...

I guess I'd better back up a bit. Before the West was lost, the toads had been hard at work chewing apart its foundations. They were strange critters, coming out only during the rainy summers to photostat themselves. The rest of the time, they were assumed to be hibernating.

Actually, they were chewing tunnels throughout the deserts and mountain ranges of the Southwest, then up into Idaho, Washington and Montana. Maybe they went berserk, I don't know. They were just supposed to have dug little holes and gone to sleep.

That special commission set up to make sure no more nuclear devices were being tested either above or below ground made the first report about toad activity. It seems that every time their boys were sent out to the Nevada mountains to have a look around, a truck or two would disappear into one of these toad tunnels. Some of the folks from those parts noticed that about the same time, the ground rumbled a bit and pictures fell off the walls, but this was attributed to the size and strength of the toads. Not to worry.

Desert residents had known all about how hostile toads could become ever since the 1940's. When they got really ticked off, they lit up the whole sky with their wrath. I don't understand what this means, but some general says that if it hadn't been for toad power, the Allies would have been defeated in World War II. I fought in that one, and I didn't see any toads in the trenches, but I'll take his word for it. Don't have much choice.

That general hasn't said much about what the toads are up to now, probably because he was out in one of New Mexico's deserts when the West collapsed. Yup, all those tunnels caved in. That entire section of the country sank about a mile. Then the Pacific Ocean came in and filled it up. San Francisco was crowding out Kansas City and Los Angeles was messing around with Dallas.

But you know all that. What you might not know is that toads are carving out new tunnels and deepening existing ones in Tennessee and Pennsylvania. The S.P.C.A. is sending out a team to investigate. So is the Army. Funny how the Army's always somewhere around wherever the toads get out of hand.

Well, that's it. Your friendly reporter from Maine is signing out. I think a toad is doing a war dance directly underneath my cabin. 

SUSAN PACKIE, whose wry fables have illuminated many issues of this magazine, has a BA in religion and an MA in anthropology.

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