It had been abnormally hot and steamy in the southern Florida swamp. While most of the gators loved it, Abigail had had enough. She was a Carolina gator who had met Al on a spring trip to Panama City. It was love at first sight, and they spent their time curled up in a hot tub some human had forgotten to drain.
When it was time to go home, Al invited Abby to come with him. She didn’t hesitate and had been living south of Miami ever since. It had been an adjustment. She thought it smelled weird, and all the gators did was lie around. She loved Al and she soon adapted. But this summer was too much.
Abby: Al, the heat is starting to make me cranky.
Al: Sweetheart, you’re an alligator. Being cranky is part of our charm.
Abby: I want to go somewhere for vacation.
Al: OK, we can go to somewhere on the coast. You pick the spot.
Abby: I was thinking a little more north.
Al: Back to Panama City? That would be nice.
Abby: Um. A little further north.
Al: How much further north?
Al: Where is Tennessee? I’ve never heard of it.
Abby: It’s north of Georgia.
Al: That doesn’t sound very tropical. Exactly how far is it?
Abby (hesitating): Well, I couldn’t get the exact mileage, but it’s about 850 miles.
Al: 850 miles! Abby, we’re alligators. It would take us years. There’s no way we can take that kind of trip. Find someplace closer or we’re not going.
Abby (starting to cry): Just look at the pictures. See, the humans are wearing shorts. That means it’s warm. And the place I found has a hot tub. It’ll be romantic, just like when we first met. We can leave the kids with your sister.
Al: What’s that big, furry thing standing in this picture?
Abby: It says it’s a bear. I’m not sure what that is, but I’m sure it’s well-mannered since it’s at a resort.
Al: I don’t see any alligators in these pictures. All the animals are furry.
Abby: I’m sure it’s just because of where they took the pictures.
Al realizes that Abby really has her heart set on going to this place.
Al: OK. How do we get there?
Abby: I thought that we could take an airplane, but we gators don’t have our own airline. Apparently, not enough of us fly. We used to be able to take All Animals, but they went out of business. The last one available is Creature Air Comfort, but they’ve banned gators.
Al: Isn’t that discriminatory?
Abby: Apparently not. In the past few years, there have been five instances of gators eating other passengers.
Al: Trust some hooligans to ruin it for everyone.
Abby: So the next fastest way to get there is by train. The only problem is that the trains from Miami charge gators double because of the eating other passengers thing. We’d need to go to Orlando to get a decent rate. Apparently there are lots of humans in the area who spoil the alligators, so they don’t bother the other animals.
Al: Well, there’s one positive to the human invasion down here. So how do we get to Orlando?
Abby: Well your sister Jean told me about something the humans have, called ride-sharing. Some people do it because they’re friends, but other people do it for anyone to make money.
Al: Well, that’s great, but we don’t know any humans.
Abby: Jean does. Some guy who was out here taking pictures. He said that driving alligators to Orlando would make him “viral.” We don’t know what that means, but she made sure that he would deliver us to the train station alive and in good shape.
Al (defeated): So when does he pick us up?
Early Saturday morning, the driver arrives in an old pickup truck. He has filled the bed with water after laying down blankets for their comfort. He has a friend who is recording everything while talking the whole time. Abby and Al climb in, ready to start their adventure.
Next time: Tennessee is definitely not the tropics.
(Pictures courtesy of Google Images)