Amazing Kids! Magazine

Verdant Passion

By Jacques A. Bettig, age 17, New York


As I approached the glistening brown swamp, I watched the softball-sized lumpy red toads leap from one damp lily pad to the next. Their perfect calculation of the distance required to land the jump resembled the finesse of an Olympic pole vaulter, and one would hardly expect such grace from such hideous creatures. I continued to saunter along the tranquil ridge, letting my leather army boots mercilessly crush small brown leaves whose faint crunches sounded much like a child’s unanswered wince of desperation. The few leaves which did survive the fatal blows were mixed in with the dried dirt on the shoes’ rubbery soles, and subsequently lost their earthly innocence.

I stopped walking and tilted my head up, while my frail arthritic fingers struggled to rest my glasses on the broad bridge of my nose so I could see the hazy green figure in the distance. It was a large bulbous humanoid, possessing similar bodily dimensions to the overweight man who ran a small dimly lit comic book store which reeked of mustiness on Bay Ridge Avenue. The only differences were that this character had two cylindrical antennae which tapered from its skull, and in addition, had a repugnant skin complexion which couldn’t be attributed to even the most malevolent of human diseases. For this mystical creature was indeed green by nature, and the blaring light from the playful afternoon sun glimmered majestically on its naked body.

Drops of tepid sweat rolled down my temple as my wiry legs trembled at the sight of the divine beast. After a few seconds (although each respective one felt like an epoch), I was finally able to overcome the complete paralysis of my feeble body due to the utter shock of my encounter. My mouth slowly hinged open like an ancient treasure chest, and my tongue mustered the strength to press against the roof of my mouth to form the words of two sentences pronounced with unrelenting conviction. “Shrek is love,” I said as a smile of foolish joy ran across my face. “Shrek…is life.”