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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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There was this frog in a wings joint...
What happens when drinkers share the fare.
By MICHAEL KRUSE, Times Staff Writer
Published August 9, 2007
[Special to the Times]
This is the tree frog that Brian Utaski and Dave Epperson were trying to feed late the other night on the patio outside Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar.
TRINITY - Brian Utaski and Dave Epperson were drinking late the other night on the patio outside Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar when they decided to try to feed fried cheese to a tree frog.
The frog was sitting on a small gray electrical box on the brick wall of the restaurant. It was green and brown with stripes on its sides and was maybe an inch long or just a little longer.
Brian, who's 25, pinched a small piece off a breaded cheese stick, dipped it in the marinara sauce and set it in front of the frog.
"Go ahead and eat it, my friend," Brian said.
The frog was quiet.
The frog seemed to consider the cheese.
The frog was very, very still.
"Maybe he's lactose intolerant," Dave said.
Dave, who's 41, ate some of the cheese out of the basket on the table. In an effort, perhaps, to prod the frog to eat, he held a piece out toward the frog and showed it to the frog.
"This is some good cheese," he told the frog.
Lots of folks say nothing happens in Pasco after dark. That's not true.
Brian and Dave had been sitting here at this new place on State Road 54, talking about bridges collapsing, and hurricanes, and Pensacola, and beaches, and the new Adam Sandler movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, when all of a sudden there were the loud sounds of a nearby frog. They looked for the frog and spotted the frog on the ledge of the electrical box.
Out came the cheese.
The frog continued to stare at the cheese. Brian pushed the cheese a little closer. Nothing.
X Games highlights played on the flat-screen TV mounted higher up on the wall.
Brian picked the cheese back up. "Fine," he told the frog. "I won't feed you cheese."
"Maybe he didn't like the sauce," Dave said.
But then the frog turned his body more toward where Dave was sitting. He moved across the surface of the electrical box and into the remnants of the marinara sauce. He stood like that for a while. "Is he licking his feet?" Dave asked.
Brian decided to take some pictures of the frog. He aimed his digital camera and pressed the button and the light of the flash popped with a red tint. The frog leaped and hit the concrete with a wet slap and shot under the table and toward the parking lot and then onto the back of a leg of a chair at another table.
Brian went over there and had his camera and got onto his knees to get a better angle.
He had a cigarette in his left hand, and the camera in his right, and he hiccuped.
"Pose, baby," he said to the frog.
The frog poked his head around the leg of the chair.
Brian took a picture. Then another. And a few more.
Then the frog hopped off the leg of the chair and down onto the concrete and then across the rest of the concrete of the patio and into the mulch and disappeared under the oleanders by the parking spaces.
It was getting on to 12:30 or so. Past last call. In between songs, out there in the dark, frogs could be heard, a chorus of many frogs, probably looking for some tasty bugs and a place to sleep.
Brian sat back down at the table and tried to get rid of his hiccups. Dave suggested he should breathe in, breathe out.
What happens between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. is just as important as what happens between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and actually might say more about who we are and where we live. Night is based on that belief. Got an idea? Contact Michael Kruse at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 909-4617.