21

Springtime in the Subdivision – Part 2

Protesting Cats | Occupy Cuteness seantrank.com | sean.trank | Flickr

Where we are: Fred Fido and two friends have volunteered to police the subdivision for outside violations of the Association’s code. Some of the other residents think Fred is taking his responsibilities a little too seriously. Jim Giraffe, the Association President, has called for a meeting to discuss the rules. See Part 1 here.

Jim: Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for attending this meeting. We have some important business to discuss.

Al Angora: We certainly do. I want you to put him on a leash.

Angry Dogs Compilation - YouTube

He points at Fred, who bares his teeth.

Al: Figurative speaking, of course.

Fred relaxes a little.

Jim: Al, those are pretty strong words. Are you sure that’s what you meant to say?

Why Do Cats Hiss? | Cuteness

Al: Yes, I’m sure. He got Fluffy crying, and she begged me to come home and cut the grass. It wasn’t even a quarter inch over the required height.

Fred: But you admit that it was too long.

Al arched his back and sat down.

Peppi Pomeranian: I agree with Al. Fred is going too far. I was watering my lawn on the correct day when Fred came by and said that my lawn was wet enough.

Funny Dogs Playing With Hose Compilation - YouTube

Fred: She was wasting water. It was running into the street.

Peppi: That’s because I forgot to turn off the water when you and your crew started yelling at me.

Fred: So you acknowledge that you were wasting water.

Peppi growled and sat down.

Warm weather prompts early alligator appearances in Myrtle Beach ...

Jim: OK. Fred and his friends may have been a little over-enthusiastic. But that’s no reason to be hostile. Remember, he is volunteering his time, and the neighborhood looks a lot better.

Sarah Squirrel: I don’t care. We got a citation for having a lawn ornament. The “ornament” was my mother-in-law sleeping in the sun for a couple of days in a row.

Amelia Alligator: He did the same thing to me about my kids. He said he didn’t know that alligators have to bask in the sun to stay alive.

Meme Maker - everyone-talking-about-cats-and-im-like-bears-are-cool

Ben Bruin: He gave me a noise citation in the middle of the day. My neighbors didn’t call to complain. They know it’s just my natural voice.

The animals started to talk over each other, getting angrier as time went by. It seemed as if Fred had upset everyone in the neighborhood.

Cute animal picture of the day: baby giraffe

Jim: All right, everyone. Let’s settle down so we can discuss this like civilized animals.

Fred: I’m sorry if I offended you. I was just trying to be helpful.

Peppi: You used to be a good dog, Fred. We were buddies.

Amelia: Yeah. You were the first one to welcome us to the neighborhood.

12 Baby Skunks That Are Just Too Stinkin' Cute! - I Can Has ...

Some of the other animals nodded and shared stories.

Steve Skunk: I agree. But you still have to go. You complained about the smell in the house that was getting outside through the open window. Seriously, Fred? We’re skunks.

Al: Sorry, Fred. I agree with Steve. I want you to find something else to do with your spare time.

Fred’s ears and tail were drooping.

Do Dogs Grieve Other Dogs? – American Kennel Club

Fred: I guess I need to quit. You’ll have to hire a professional to do the job.

Jim: Wait a minute, Fred. I like your attitude. Let me think of some way we can compromise on this.

The animals groaned and looked at each other.

Al: You better think of something fast, or we’ll get rid of you too.

Black tabby is angry. | Turkish angora cat, Turkish van cats ...

Next week: Will Jim’s plan work and bring peace to Mountain Valley Estates?

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

14

Ellie Alligator, Exchange Student

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Swampland High School in the Everglades has started a student exchange program with Great Lakes Academy on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The program is 6 months long – July – December. Below are selected entries on the school’s blog. 

July 1 – Hey Fellow Swampies, It’s me, the Elinator. That’s right, it’s Ellie N. Alligator with her first report from sunny Michigan. I’m so glad you elected me as the first exchange student in our new program. The flight up here was a little scary. Can you believe they were going to make me fly cargo because some family of sheep felt threatened? Like I was a savage or something. I had to sit way at the back, but at least I was inside.

Anyway, I’m staying with the Stones. They’re really nice, but they’re Turtles! I knew there weren’t any alligator families up here, but I didn’t know there really aren’t many big reptiles at all. A few iguanas but that’s about it. These turtles aren’t big enough to eat the kind of food I eat. Mrs. Stone said we’d figure something out. Gotta go. They’re going to show me around Manistee.

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 July 15 – Michigan is so weird! Remember how we decided that this would be a good place to exchange students with because it’s hot and humid part of the year? They think 85 degrees is hot. I mean, it’s pleasant but what’s going to happen when it cools down? And the big lake that we all thought would be fun. Flash – it’s cold water! And it has a cool breeze coming off it. that kind of ruins the hot and humid. It’s really nice basking in the sun, but this is not what I expected.

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August 8 – I just found out about my classmates when school starts. The place is full of mammals. I mean the biggest collection of furry creatures I’ve ever seen. There are beavers, skunks, lynx, and even a couple of bears. Bears around here are big! If the bears are regular students, no one better tell me I’m scary. We toured the school. It’s all inside, can you believe it? They said it was because the weather gets cool and wet. And then it snows. How am I supposed to store up energy? Apparently that’s not a problem for furry animals. I’m starting to get a bad feeling about this.

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September 12 – I am not having fun on this trip. The other animals are really nice to me, but I miss all of you. No one speaks Gator up here, so I’m always trying to find the right thing to say. And the teachers won’t give me enough time to get from one class to another. They say that I could move faster if I wanted to. I tried to tell them that we only run if we’re chasing food, but they don’t care. Maybe I should pretend they’re some kind of delicacy. Just have to remember it’s a game before I eat them.

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October 30 – It is cold here. I can barely move most of the time. Both the Stones and the school have bought me heat lamps. I know they’re doing the best they can, but this is no place for alligators. If they turn the heat up high enough for me, everyone else is too warm. I saw something called a sweater in a catalog. They’re made out of wool or fake wool, and you wear them to keep warm. I wonder if they come in alligator sizes?

Image result for alligator in snow"

November 20 – Remember how we all thought it would be fun to see snow? It isn’t. It’s cold and wet and disgusting. And there’s a lot of it. It’s been higher than me since the first time it came down. All of the mammals love it. They can run around and play in it. I sit under my heat lamp and shiver. I want to know who did the research on this place. I am never coming back.

Image result for alligator in swamp"

December 5 – I’m back!! The people in Michigan felt so sorry for me that they let me come home a month early and still earn full credit. I’ve been in the swamp for 3 days and am finally beginning to feel normal again. It is so nice to be able to go out and lay in the sun. I’m surprised my tail didn’t freeze off up there. Gotta go. I still need a lot of sun to get my old energy back.

Advice: Michigan is nice to visit, but two weeks is definitely enough time to do everything that might interest an alligator.

Image result for alligator in lake michigan"

 

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

11

Road Trip! The Gators’ Summer Vacation – Part 3

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The gators made it to Tennessee, but ran into some bad luck there. They were tuned away from the motel because they were alligators. Then the place they chose to sleep turned out to be a cold river, and they were on the edge of torpor. When we left them, they had just been discovered by a couple of bears. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Bear (looking closely): It’s those two alligators from work. What’re they doing here?

Cub: Alligators! Our teacher told us about alligators, but I never thought I’d really see one! They live where it’s hot!

Bear: I know, Billy. These two came up to visit, but weren’t allowed to stay at the motel because the owner was afraid of losing business. They must have decided to sleep here.

Billy: But, daddy, it’s much too cold for them here. They probably can’t even move they’re so cold. We have to help them.

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Bear: What do you think we should do, Billy? Won’t they get better in the morning?

Billy: The teacher said that it takes a long time in the sun for them to wake up. What if it’s not sunny tomorrow? We need to get them out and warm them up.

Abby and Al listened to this, and relaxed a little. At least the bears weren’t talking about eating them. On the other hand, the cub was right. If it didn’t get warm enough to revive them fully, the gators would start going into torpor. They hoped the little bear had some kind of good idea.

Bear (looking at the river): Umm. Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Gator. I’m Will Bear. I think we met earlier today in town. My son tells me that you may be in trouble and we need to get you out of that river. You look kinda long for me to do it by myself, so I’m going to get someone to help. Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.

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Will and Billy walked into the woods. The gators waited, hoping for the best. The bears returned home and told the neighbors about the gators. Will’s wife Betty seems a little hesitant.

Betty: Are you sure they’re really alligators? Maybe you two were just looking at a couple of logs.

Will: Dear, we live in the woods. I know what a log looks like.

Billy: And they had eyes.

Betty: I don’t know. Couldn’t they eat us?

Will: They seemed nice enough when I saw them in town. No one would let them stay, so they came out here to sleep.

Billy: Besides, Mom, they can’t move.

Bob: There are more of us than there are of them. If there’s a problem, we can handle it.

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The bears went down to the river. They appeared to be puzzled.

Bob: There’s definitely a couple of reptiles in there. But they’re big and look like they’re stuck in the mud. How do we get them out?

George: I think we need three bears per gator. One at the head, one at the tail, and one in the middle. If we lift together, it should work.

Bob: OK. Then what do we do?

Will: We’ll take them back to my den. I’ll get my older boys to help us warm them up.

Image result for bear den

The gators were a little concerned about this plan, but really didn’t have a choice. They hoped they didn’t end up in three pieces getting out of the river. The bears climbed in and put their paws under the gators. With a little effort, they got the gators out of the mud. The six bears managed to get the two gators to Will’s den and lay them down.

Betty: OK, Joe and Jim are here. Now what?

They all stood in silence, watching the gators.

Billy: I know! We’re all warm and furry. Let’s put them between us tonight. Maybe it will be enough to get their blood flowing.

Abby was terrified. But before she knew it, she was between two large sleeping bears. She tried to relax. Before she knew it, the bears were moving again.

Betty: Good morning, everyone. How are our guests doing?

Billy: Let me see!

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The larger bears got up and looked at the gators. The larger one tried to say something.

Will: What’s he saying?

Billy (leaning down): I think it’s “Thank you.”

Will: It’s quite all right, Mr. Gator. Are you OK?

Al closed his eyes again. Will nudged him with a paw to see if he was still alive.

Al: Need more sleep.

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Will: I have to get to work. The rest of you lay down again. Don’t get up until they can stand.

The bears surrounded the gators again and relaxed. By the time Will got home, everyone was up and talking.

Abby: Here he is. Our hero!

Will (embarrassed): It wasn’t me. If Billy hadn’t noticed you, none of the rest would have happened.

Abby: We were all laughing about how we were afraid we would be eaten by the other.

Betty: It’s such a shame that they couldn’t stay in town. They are such nice creatures.

Will: You know how they are in there. If you’re not a small mammal, they’re sure you out to make them dinner.

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Al: But you work there.

Will: As security. That’s the only job a bear can get. Just in case something bad comes walking through the door.

Billy: Well I’m glad they wouldn’t let the gators stay. I never would have met them otherwise. And now they’re staying!

Betty: I’ve convinced them to stay a couple of days with us. I’m going to show them a couple of nice sunny spots for daytime, and they can sleep here.

Will: That’s great! Welcome!

The gators ended up having a great vacation. They spent the days in the sun, and the bears caught fish for dinner. They knew the other gators would never believe them, so they took lots of pictures and promised to keep in touch.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

11

Road Trip! The Gators’ Summer Vacation – Part 2

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Al and Abby Gator have left their swamp in southern Florida for a visit to more temperate Tennessee. You can read Part 1 here.

Soon enough Abby and Al had a good idea of what the human’s desire to “go viral” was going to mean for them. It seemed like every time they started making progress on the drive, they would pull over. It was usually at a gas station or restaurant. The guy would get out and invite people over to see “his” alligators. Invariably he would draw a crowd of people to look at his “tame” alligators. It was totally humiliating, and the Gators hoped no one they knew would see it.

Abby and Al tried to endure it with dignity. It was terrible having a bunch of humans trying to put dirty hands on their bodies. It wasn’t even the children who wanted to pet them; it was the adults. Finally Al had enough. When one particularly obnoxious man said he wanted to “pet the suitcase-to-be”, Al snapped at him.

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The driver loved it. At the next stop, he showed the video of the “vicious” alligator he was courageously transporting. Luckily they arrived at Orlando before Al tried to discover how courageous he really was. They were dropped at the station for the Raccoon Brothers Regional Rail Lines.

Abby: Thank goodness! I thought we’d never get here.

Al (growling): It’s a good thing. The world was almost minus a couple of humans. Not that anyone would have noticed those two were gone.

Abby: Forget about them. I’m so excited! We’re finally on our way!

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Conductor: Welcome aboard. We don’t see many alligators.  May I see your tickets, please?

(Abby hands them to him.)

Conductor (looking at the tickets): Don’t think I’ve ever seen a gator go that far north. You sure this is really where you want to go?

Abby: Oh yes! I’ve done a lot of research. We can’t wait!

Conductor: Well then, have a wonderful time.

Abby: See how nice he was? He wasn’t even afraid of us.

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Al: I guess you’re right. This will be a good trip. I’m worn out from that horrible truck ride. Wake me when we get there.

(Al fell asleep almost immediately. Abby cuddled up next to him and was soon asleep too. A while later, the conductor noticed that their breathing had slowed considerably. Afraid of what would happen if they got too cold, he found a large blanket and covered them.)

Abby: Al! Wake up! Look out the window!

Al (mumbling): mmm…why?

Abby: We’re almost there. It’s very pretty.

Al (looking out): Where are we?

Abby: Tennessee, silly. Don’t you remember?

Al: What happened to the ground? It’s not flat.

Abby: I know! The conductor says that the little ones are called hills and the big ones are mountains.

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Al: And the trees look funny. Where are the palms and the cypress trees?

Abby: They don’t have those here.

Al: We better take pictures of it. The other gators will never believe this.

(The train stops and they get off. The sun is hot, and Al relaxes a little. )

Al: So where’s the swamp? I want to bask and warm up a little.

Abby: This is Tennessee. They don’t have swamps. They have rivers.

Al: You didn’t tell me they don’t have swamps.

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Abby (nervously): I didn’t know they didn’t have swamps. I thought there were swamps everywhere, so I didn’t ask.

Al: What’s wrong, Abby?

Abby: Everyone’s staring at us. And I don’t see a single reptile anywhere.

Al: I’m sure they’re staring because you’re so beautiful. Where are we staying?

Abby (pointing): Over there. The Critter Comfort Inn.

(They enter the lobby. The lobby empties and the little opossum behind the desk faints. The gators look around, confused. The manager, a rather large raccoon, comes out. He is accompanied by two large bears.)

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Manager: May I help you?

Abby: Yes, please. We have a reservation. It’s under Al and Abby Gator.

Manager (looking at his computer): Did you register online?

Abby: Yes.

Manager: What did you put down as species?

Abby: Alligator, of course.

Manager (embarrassed): There seems to be a problem with your reservation. It shows the species as “unknown”. The system doesn’t recognize “alligator.” We’ve never had one stay here.

Al (irritated): Is that a problem?

Manager: Unfortunately, it is. We cater to small mammals.

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Al: And you can’t make an exception?

Manager: I’d like to. You seem like nice folks. But like I said, we cater to small mammals. If word got out that we had alligators here, it would ruin our business.

Abby: Why?

Al (sarcastically): Because they think we’re going to eat them.

Manager: I’m sorry. But alligators do have that reputation.

Al: Fine. We’ll take our business elsewhere.

(The gators stalked out without eating anyone. As a gesture of goodwill they left a bag of their favorite treats, Boa Bites. They thought the mammals probably didn’t like snakes either.)

Abby (sobbing): I’m so sorry Al. I had no idea they’d be so specie-ist. They looked so nice in the pictures.

Al: Don’t worry, honey. We’ll hydrate ourselves in one of their rivers and take the next train home.

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Abby: OK. But let’s go out of town. I don’t like it here.

(They found a nice spot with a soft sandy bottom. Neither of them realized that the night air would get as chilly as it did. They were unable to move when they heard a noise.)

Cub: Daddy, what are those?

(The gators looked up to see one of the large bears they had seen earlier at the Comfort Inn.)

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Next time: Dinner Guest or Dinner? The Conclusion

 

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

9

Road Trip! The Gators’ Summer Vacation

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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.

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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?

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Abby: Tennessee.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Next time: Tennessee is definitely not the tropics.

(Pictures courtesy of Google Images)

 

 

5

Alligator Angst

 

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(I could not find a Cajun Gator pronunciation guide. Please use your imagination)

Somewhere deep in Louisiana, Andre Alligator is getting ready to start the Bijou Bayou Neighborhood Association month meeting.

Andre: Everyone, please find a spot and settle down.

(The group of 20 or so gators are quiet.)

Andre: Today’s meeting should be a short one. First, next year’s nesting ground will be in the reeds just past the south pooling area. So please remember that you will be fined if you are in that area during nesting season.

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Andre: Next item. The humans are upset again. Apparently some of us are getting too close to them. Even coming into their yards.

Gator 1: So what? We stopped eating their tasty little dogs.

Gator 2: And they should stay outside if they want to keep the things on the grill. The smell is too much to resist.

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Andre: It doesn’t matter whether it’s their fault. They threatened to turn me into a pair of boots if it doesn’t stop.

(Pierre pushes through the crowd.)

Pierre (breathless): That’s not the worst part of what the humans are saying.

Andre: What do you mean?

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Pierre: I was peacefully sunning myself when a couple of humans came by. You know how loud humans are; I couldn’t help hearing them talk. I could barely understand one of them. Must be from out of town. Anyway, one of them said, ‘The new President said he was going to drain the swamp.’

(gasp of disbelief)

Pierre: Then the other one says, ‘I hope it’s soon. It’s about time. Those varmints are all over the place. We need to get rid of them.’

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Gator 1: Do you think they’re talking about us?

Gator 2: Who else would it be? You heard Andre. They want to turn him into a pair of boots.

Gator 1: But a lot of other things live here too. They don’t want to get rid of all that too, do they?

Gator 2: I don’t know. Humans can be pretty stupid. Maybe they’ll just get rid of enough of it so we can’t live here.

Gator 3 (hopefully): He said swamp. This is a bayou. Maybe they’re talking about somewhere else.

Gator 4: Do humans know the difference?

Gator 5: What should we do? What if they’re trying to get rid of all the American gators?

Gator 6: We need to leave the swamp.

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Gator 5: Where would we go? It’s too cold in Canada and too dry in Mexico.

(The gators all begin arguing.)

Andre: Everyone, please calm down. We only have one choice. We have to talk to the humans and convince them not to do it.

Gator 4: How are you going to do that? They don’t understand us.

Andre: The little ones do. They just outgrow it.

(The gators look at him in amazement. Andre swims to the edge of a lawn an lays in the sun. Before long he hears a young girl’s voice.)

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Girl: Hi Mr. Gator. How are you today?

Andre: I am well. And you?

Girl: I’m really excited. My cousin is visiting.

(Andre realizes she may be related to the men Pierre heard talking.)

Andre: Would you do something for me, sweetie?

Girl: Of course.

Andre: Please ask your father why the new President said he is going to drain the swamp.

Girl: Why would he do that? We live here.

(She runs off. Andre worries that he might have upset the child. He lays in the sun and tries to relax. Soon he hears laughter.)

Girl: Mr. Gator, wake up!

Andre: Hello, miss. Did you ask?

Girl (giggling): He says that you’re a very silly gator. They’re not talking about a real swamp. They want to get rid of a bunch of people who make a lot of money but don’t do any real work.

Andre (smiling): Thank you for helping me.

(As he swims away to reassure the others, he couldn’t help but wonder why human beings are so strange.)

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(All pictures courtesy of Google Images)