contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper."
— Thomas Jefferson, January 12, 1819
The offices of the Haven Herald were unusually quiet. This time of day there should have been the hustle and bustle of the Teagues brothers working on putting the paper to bed, but instead they were sitting at their desks, lost in thought, trying to ignore the noise coming from outside.
"Well." Dave cracked his knuckles before placing his hands down on the keyboard and stared at the blank screen in front of him.
"So." Vince looked up at Dave from his desk and shrugged, absentmindedly tapping a pencil against his lips.
"So. How should we begin? Haven is still cleaning up from..." Dave typed as he spoke, "From... from today's unusual weather phenomenon?"
"It doesn't get any more unusual than this," Vince pointed out, speaking a bit louder than normal to drown out the caterwaul of two cats going at one another right in front of the Herald's door.
"Oh, I don't know. There was that time back in '83 with the–"
Vince waved his pencil at Dave, cutting him off. "I thought we agreed never to mention those."
Dave held up his hands, placating, "I know, I know. But you have to admit that was equally as unusual as what happened today."
"Fair point." Vince squirmed in his seat. "Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about them though."
"At least you were wearing a raincoat. All I had to protect me was my hat."
"I always take my raincoat with me when the forecast says there's a chance of rain. It's common sense around these parts."
"I always take my raincoat with me when there's a chance of rain," Dave said, mimicking Vince. "And since when are the weathermen ever right? Besides, when I heard them talking about how it's going to rain I assumed, the same way most people would, that it meant there would be some sort of water-based precipitation."
With a shake of his head Vince said, "This is Haven, making assumptions of any kind only gets you into trouble here. After living here more than sixty years I'd think you'd remember that."
"I know, I know, but frogs? Snow, sure. Sleet, why not? But frogs?"
"A rain of frogs." Vince shuddered.
Things in the office were quiet for a moment, other than the occasional bark, woof and meow filtering in from outside, before Dave asked, "Did we ever determine whether they were frogs or toads? I seem to recall Eleanor telling me–"
Vince rolled his eyes. "I don't believe it, twenty-seven years later and we're still debating it. Frogs. Toads. Does it really matter?"
"No, I suppose not," Dave said, but muttered to himself, "There's just that little thing called 'journalistic integrity' and all."
"I heard that."
"You were supposed to. Besides," Dave cleared his throat, "None of that helps us come up with how to word today's article."
Getting up and starting to pace, Vince said, "The Troubles do have a tendency to make our job interesting, don't they?"
Dave leaned back in his chair and put his hands behind his head. "Sure feels like we're doing more creative writing than fact reporting some of these days."
"Well, it's not like we have a choice, we can't have the Herald being on par with the Brunswick Times Record or the Waterville Morning Sentinel."
"Let alone the Biddeford Journal Tribune," Dave added with a chuckle. "Lord knows we wouldn't want that."
"Definitely not. We'd never live it down. I think I'd rather be compared to the National Enquirer or the Star than that!"
"So, back to the matter at hand...."
"All right, the matter of hand is how to write up today's events in a way that doesn't make us look like we've been dipping into Grandmama's elderberry brandy."
"Exceptional stuff, that elderberry brandy. I wonder if we have any left." Vince absentmindedly rubbed his chin as he thought out loud. "That bottle she kept for medicinal purposes, where did we wind up putting that? Last I saw it I think it was–"
"Vincent," Dave grumbled, his voice low, "forget about the brandy! Focus!"
"You're right, of course, you're right." Vince sat back down. "So where were we? Haven is still cleaning up from today's unusual weather phenomenon?"
There was a loud growl and a yelp from outside, along with an enthusiastic shout, "Got another one!"
"What do you want, a medal?" they heard someone yell in response. "Put it in the truck with the others and then get back to work!"
Dave and Vince looked at the window and then back to one another. "Sounds like the Hawkins brothers really have their hands full today. Can't say I'm surprised though, there's only the two of them working animal control for the whole town."
"Normally that wouldn't be a problem," Vince said.
"True enough. It's only when the Troubles are at work that it's an issue."
"And only when they're working a certain way."
"Exactly. Like that time in '83."
"Enough about the frogs! There will be no more talking about the rain of frogs!"
"All right, Vince, all right, that's it about the frogs. Now, getting back to what happened today..."
Vince took a deep breath. "Today. Right. So. Just how does one write about this without sounding like they need to be committed?"
"We could just write what happened and hope everyone assumes we were talking figuratively." Dave grinned.
Vince snickered. "When we were actually reporting the facts literally. I like it. Now why didn't I think of that?"
"Well, we both know I have the brains in the family," Dave said, his tone light and jovial.
Teasing back, Vince said, "Which is fine by me since I have the good looks."
Dave snickered in response, but didn't say anything.
"So, we write an article about how traffic slowed to a crawl and some trees were damaged and a few power lines came down because-"
"Because it was raining cats and dogs."
"Raining cats and dogs.... Works for me."
"You know, we could write this from home and send it in remotely."
"Not a bad idea," Vince said and started shutting down his computer. "After a day like today, I could use a mai tai."
Dave grabbed his hat. "I'm driving. You're likely to steer us into a poodle."
Vince groaned at the pun. "It's going to be a long day," he muttered as he shut the lights and followed his brother out the door.