July 12, 2020

The Divine Frog by Fiona Pimentel

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frog 3Somewhere on a tiny island in the Caribbean Sea, almost 300 miles from the nearest country, a parish community sits peacefully in church for an early morning service. Some of them have just got out bed, and rushed to church without so much as taking a shower, for fear of being late.

The preacher himself may well be in that category of late risers, as he seems to have sleepily picked up a sermon that he wrote while living elsewhere. “We constantly tell our children that our country is the best country,” he states. The congregation members look blank, as each one considers the fact that they have never said this to their children, nor were they ever told it as they were growing up. They come from all over the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Canada and the UK. One solitary visitor nods understandingly.

The preacher continues, “We think that our democracy is the only one in the world.” There are more blank stares, as the church attendees quietly muse to themselves that this could be said about another culture, but not their own, nor that of the island where they are living. The visitor again agrees with the familiarity of the statement.

The line of preaching continues in the same vein, until the punchline: “There are other countries that exist, other democracies than the United States.” Jaws drop as the parishioners realize that the preacher either actually believes himself to be living in the US, or is still asleep, and is having some sort of bizarre sleep-walking-and-talking experience.

Divine Providence intervenes in an unusual form. A lady suddenly runs across the church, trying not to screech too loudly. Thankful to be transported back to the Caribbean, members of the congregation wonder if there is a visitation from a duppy, or what else the matter could be. The lady apologetically gasps that there is a frog in the church, which is clearly just as frightening to her as any duppy. Several other ladies discreetly move seats to avoid the feared creature.

The preacher is finally silent, but not after making some quip about how in other cultures people like frogs. The congregation is again at peace, and the visitor from the U.S. is delighted to have witnessed some genuine local Caribbean culture.

Fiona Pimentel is a writer and poet living in the Cayman Islands. She is a member of the Cayman Islands Writers Circle

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