They were all in a line. Twenty-two of them. Twenty-two frogs all sitting, patiently in a neat row is a weird enough sight. Facing them was a boy in a freshly unflatpacked wheelie office chair. He was staring at each frog with a casual but considerate eye, one after the other. This one had a wart or a lump close to its eye so it made its face look wonky. That one had a tattered and broken looking foot. Another one had some sort of little tail. Further down the line was one that only stared at the floor. He felt bad for that one. It could have some social disorder, and here he is forcing it to sit in a row with a big bundle of other frogs. The boy wheeled to it. No, not it. Him. The boy wheeled closer to...Simon. The moment his chair stopped the boy picked him up, with little gloves on. He heard the heat of skin burns frogs. The frog flinched a bit, but settled quickly. Then the boy kissed it. Not a long kiss, certainly no tongue. Neither party seemed to enjoy it. It was a light peck and that was all. The moment it was done the frog was placed back in the line.
He always had a mild fascination for that Princess and the Frog story. He only heard it twice, but something about it never stopped repeating in his brain. So now he kisses frogs. Every Thursday his Mum has to work late so, after school, he'll stroll down the lane with three shoeboxes and place as many frogs as he deemed able to fit comfortably into said boxes. He'd then roll out bin bags on his floor and place the frogs in a line. They jump about when you first place each one, but eventually they settle. He doesn't think they'll be princes. He wouldn't really know what he would do if one turned into a prince. What would a boy do with 21 frogs and a prince in his room? Probably ask him for help kissing more frogs. If one is a prince surely others would be. He'd have to go trying to find all the other princes in all the other frogs. It'd become a chore pretty fast. No, he didn't want there to be a prince inside a frog.
But he feared that was the case.
He'd spend about half an hour every Thursday kissing frogs because what if? What if there was a man inside? What if, even less than that, there was a thinking mind inside a frog? Well, that man or man-mind lives a weird life. Surely being a frog with a big thinking-people-brain gets boring. If he's in there and a kiss gets them out it must be worth the try. If it doesn't get them out well then the whole ordeal has at least given the people brain inside the frog something to think about. It lets the people frog brain know "someone out there is trying". Someone is trying to free you or to show you some love.
Of course, that's what was key. Showing some love to whatever was out there. Out there, in this case, being inside a frog's head. That meant he couldn't kiss every frog.
The boy analyzed each frog one at a time. Those and only those that he felt a personal connection to got a kiss from him. Firstly, it would be a meaningless gesture if he didn't feel some love for the frog in question. Secondly, only true love's kiss freed that original frog from the stories. And thirdly, if a frog he felt no personal connection to witnesses another, better, frog getting kissed, well then the unkissed frog may strive to develop itself and become a better frog just to get that kiss.
The boy had thought this through a lot. He knew none of it made sense. But he also knew that didn't really matter. It made some form of sense to him. He would say that sure it does no harm, but he also thinks about diseases and things. It's just that thinking about diseases bores him. Kissing frogs while thinking about what the frog thinks is a pretty neat pastime. He also likes hockey. But he only plays that on weekends and Tuesdays.