When I was a kid living in Syracuse, New York, my parents bought a small home in a new subdivision. We were one of the first families in the neighborhood, so there were still several vacant home lots and fields and dirt lawns to explore as we waited for the neighborhood to develop and for the grass to grow in.
My sister and I would go outside in the morning and play in mud puddles and stomp around in the dirt and catch toads and throw dirt at each other and get in huge fights and then repeat the entire process throughout the day. It was awesome.
At some point, we really got into the toads...and began to think of them as our pets, and created little ecosystems for them in the window wells that surrounded our basement windows. We'd create whole toad colonies in there and check up on them and feed them and at some point probably threw them at each other, got in huge fights and repeated the entire process throughout the day. I'm kidding...although our track record with pets up to that point was not a good one.
There was the time we played hide-and-seek with our pet guinea pig (my sister hid him in the fridge...and he was thankfully okay and munching on some lettuce when I thought to look in there to find him.) There was another time that we played "lion in a cage" by lifting the floor register for our furnace and putting our pet kitten inside. The kitten was also okay...and I'm sure enjoyed the new home our parents found for it immensely. So it was not completely out of character for us to bring the "pet" toads into the house, play with them, and in moving them back outside, completely lose track of one of them.
Not wanting to be in trouble for losing a toad in the house, we decided that the best course of action would be not mentioning this to my mom. And we considered ourselves extra-lucky that my dad was out of town on a business trip. So we went to bed that night thinking that we would totally wake up early and find the toad and get him outside before our mom even knew.
The one part of our plan that we did not count on, however, was that our mom was going to spend the night watching a horror movie on television. In our sparsely-populated neighborhood and with my dad out of town and us asleep in bed, she settled in and began watching the 1972 classic horror movie, Frogs (Tagline: "When nature strikes back!"). You read that right. The 70s found people bravely wearing mint-green leisure suits while dancing the funky chicken and swinging with their neighbors, but seemingly terrified by small and innocuous amphibians. (There must have been something in those jell-o molds.)
I guess that as "nature was in the process of striking back" during the movie that night, our pet toad hopped out from underneath the couch in the family room and almost gave my mother a heart attack. Or at least caused her to wet her polyester bell bottoms.