October is the month for scary stories, right? Well, here’s mine: Last Monday I nearly died of fright, and to make matters worse, my pants were down.

The day began like most Mondays in the weekly newspaper world as I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to work wondering what had happened over the weekend while I was off the news desk. I breathed a prayer Heavenward for a quiet deadline day.

I’d perused most of my emails and edited several articles, but was still a bit sleepy when I took a break to use the restroom and eat my granola bar.

I wasn’t sleepy for long.

Something that didn’t belong in the toilet was waiting patiently to scare the, well you know what, out of the first unsuspecting visitor.

That would be me.

I’ll spare you the details, but I had already taken care of business when I glanced down to see Mr. Toad (his size leads me to believe he was the patriarch of the family) lounging inside the toilet bowl.

Y’all I’m not scared of frogs, toads or snakes — cockroaches are another matter entirely  — but the thought of that fella jumping from his resting place while my pants were down made me shudder all day long.

I had a decision to make: To flush or not to flush. Now I understand Hamlet’s inner conflict more clearly than ever before.

It only took me a few seconds to decide. I closed the lid and flushed.

You guessed it. Mr. Toad was still vegging out in his private little pond when I opened the lid again.

Bossman walked in the back door as I exited the bathroom so I pointed, but words wouldn’t come. Finally, I muttered something about frogs and toilets and he figured it out.

Mr. Toad was scooped from his pond in a styrofoam cup and safely deposited outside, but I’ll be checking the toilet bowl more carefully from now on. In fact, I nearly jumped off the seat later in the day when I realized I hadn’t looked first.  

My advice: Check that bowl every time. You never know what might be lurking where, or when, you least expect it.

• Sarah Tarr Gove is news editor of The Blackshear Times. Email her at