I wrote a short story last week - here it is:
The alligator was monstrously huge. My neighbor down the street had told me she could hear the alligator grunting at night. My husband had warned me not to walk on the levee next to the swamp during the spring and summer. He said it’d be OK as long as it was still cold out.
Since my two knee surgeries last year, I’d been walking a little more every day, and now I was up to my usual distance of about two miles. Sometimes, to vary my walking routine, I walked up on the levee. My dog, Walter, liked having different things to sniff on the way.
Walter stood stock still when he saw the alligator. He froze in pointer position. I froze, too.
I hadn’t realized the alligator was on the levee, and we’d walked too close for comfort. I really did not picture my death certificate or Walter’s reading: “Cause of death – alligator attack.”
I’d watched enough National Geographic specials to know that the alligator killed its prey by dragging it underwater and doing the death roll. When I wondered how I would die, I always thought, heart attack, cancer, pneumonia, car crash. I never thought chomped to death by alligator.
I held Walter’s leash tightly and whispered, “Walter,” to get his attention. He didn’t move his head. I saw one ear quirk a tiny bit.
Normally, when I see creatures in the garden, I scream. I scream when I see frogs, snakes, devil’s horses, whatever. It’s just my first reaction.
I couldn’t even scream. Walter didn’t bark or growl or whine.
How to escape without either of us losing a limb? We ran! I haven’t done any running since I had knee surgery, but I ran! Walter didn’t even try to investigate. He was right with me.
The alligator ran, too. Then I screamed. I screamed and ran, and if Walter could have screamed, he would have.
I did not trip or fall. I have never been so fast in all my many years. I did not turn around to look at the alligator.
We got back on the street and kept running. We ran all the way back to our house, and I unlocked the door. We jumped inside, and then looked out the window.
The alligator was on the front lawn. I couldn’t believe he was there. I couldn’t believe we had escaped. I called 911.
“911. What is your emergency?”
“There’s an alligator in my front yard! He’s huge! Help!”
“What is your address?”
I gave my address and waited. It was only a few minutes, and I saw two police cars on the street in front of my house. The police didn’t get out of their cars.
Walter and I were looking out the window. I saw the police on their radios, hopefully calling for backup that included an alligator wrangler. The huge alligator just lay in the grass. I was hoping none of the feral cats were in the vicinity.
Ten minutes later, a man in a truck drove up and parked in our driveway. The police were still in their cars.
The man in the truck looked just like I’d pictured an alligator wrangler. He had on jeans and a t-shirt, baseball cap and white shrimp boots. I thought, “He should have brought help!”
The man looked at the alligator. He was holding some wide rubber band contraption, and I could just imagine that he’d jump on the alligator’s back and wrap the rubber band thing around its jaws. And that is exactly what happened in the next 30 seconds. God bless that man!
What kind of brave heart does a person have to have to jump on an alligator’s back and tie up its jaws? The alligator thrashed its tail back and forth and tried to roll over. The man held on as the alligator rolled over and flipped itself upright again. Now that its jaws were clamped shut with the rubber band, the police got out of their cars. They knew what was going to be asked of them next.
The man grabbed the alligator’s clamped jaws, and the policemen grabbed the tail, and they loaded the alligator into the back of the man’s pick up truck.
Walter and I walked outside and asked, “What are you going to do with the alligator? Shoot him, skin him, and eat him?”
The man laughed, and he said, “Nah, this guy is huge. I’m going to bring him to the alligator farm.”
I said, “That’s not like telling your kid, ‘Rover went to live on the farm,’ right?”
He said, “No, I’m really going to bring him to the alligator farm. I haven’t seen one this big in years.”
I thanked him and the policemen for their help, and I blessed them. So did Walter.