Wirt sat against the tree in his backyard, muttering to himself as he flipped through one of his poetry books.
"Tennyson? Too complex. Dickinson? Too simple. Poe? Hmm...no. He's either too romantic or too macabre."
"Hey, Wirt! Are you talking to us, or to those people with the weird names that you keep saying?"
Wirt looked up. Greg was hanging upside-down from the branch above him, his pet bullfrog clutched tightly to his chest. He righted himself and dropped to the ground as Wirt closed his book with a weary sigh.
"I'm talking to myself, Greg. I'm trying to get some inspiration. I have to write a poem for school, but—"
"Well, that's nice. You're great at writing poems! Tonight I have to do subtraction. With numbers as big as ninety-nine!"
"I'm not good at writing poems, Greg. I'm—adequate at best. And I'm going to have to read this in front of the whole class, so—"
"Ooh, read that one you wrote for Sara, about, um—sailing, and seeing the stars and stuff?"
Wirt frowned. "I'm not reading that one. To anyone, ever."
"Or how 'bout that other one about Sara, where you're counting, and—"
"I'm not reading any poem about Sara in front of the whole class, Greg!"
"Then how about that song you did for Lorna that's also about sailing and—"
"I'm not choosing ANY poem that I EVER wrote about a girl!" Wirt was beginning to grow red in the face.
"Then I guess that one you wrote for Mother's Day is out, too," Greg mused, putting a finger to his cheek as he walked in a tight circle on the grass. "Then you...should write a poem about...oh! You should write one about Jason Funderburker!" he said, holding up his frog with a triumphant look on his face.
"RIBBIT," Jason Funderburker agreed.
Despite himself, Wirt smiled. "I don't think there's a single word that sounds good with 'Funderburker,' Greg. Besides, human Jason Funderberker is in my English class. It would get confusing."
"Yeah," Greg said wistfully, sitting down on the lawn. "He really needs to change his name already."
Wirt leaned against the tree. "Don't worry about me. I'll find a nice poem to inspire me and get—something out by tomorrow. Even though it'll probably stink."
"Well, maybe I can help inspire you!" Greg said, standing again and spreading his hands excitedly. "I'll come up with a poem that'll help you come up with one!"
Wirt quirked an eyebrow. "Oh, really? And who's gonna help you come up with that?"
"I can come up with a poem easy! Like..."
He put a hand to his chin, glanced around the yard and then snapped his fingers as he glanced at Wirt. He straightened up to his full, rather meager height and cleared his throat. "Ahem—
"I once had a brother named Wirt,
Who spilled ketchup onto his shirt.
The ketchup was red
And made him look like he'd bled
When onto his shirt it did squirt!"
He grinned, staring up at his brother expectantly. Wirt looked
"That's...actually got a pretty good rhythm for something that you just made up off the cuff."
"I was inspired by this real-life ketchup stain," Greg said, jabbing a finger onto Wirt's chest.
He looked down. "Huh? What stain—"
Greg brought up his finger to flick Wirt on the nose.
"...Of course," he said as Greg giggled and Jason Funderburker croaked in amusement.