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)

 

 

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18

Cat Forum: Interview with Purrseidon

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This month we welcome Purrseidon to Cat Forum. She is a very talented kitty and writes her own blog. It’s called Purrseidon, so it’s really easy to remember. She highly recommends her mom’s blog too.

(Remember: Our comments are in italics. Snoops and Kommando)

How did you find out that you like water so much?

I’ve loved playing in puddles and getting baths as long as I can remember, but I guess my staff first noticed when they caught me playing in Saphera’s water bowl.

(For such a sweet cat, that is sooo weird.)

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Tell us what it’s like to live with a dog. Do you and Mr. M ever gang up on her?

Actually, Saphera is sort of my surrogate mom. I was living feral, when my sisfur, Lucy Fur, died and then the humans who were to become my staff saw that a neighbor dog had me by the scruff of the neck and was shaking me. They managed to save me and when they brought me in, Saphera sort of adopted me – she is very motherly. Truth be told, it would be more likely for us to gang up on M, but we don’t do that and if we ever did, I’m not so sure we’d win – M has some amazingly effective moves.

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If you can’t get to the water, what’s your favorite thing to do?

I like to go hiking and climb my oak tree (but only when those horrid squirrels aren’t around). I also like to play tag with Saphera’s best friend, Livie Lou, who is a chihuahua and just a bit smaller than me, but she is very, very speedy. That all said, water is usually pretty easy to get to, but getting the staff to take me to the beach is a lot harder – they have work and school schedules to juggle and then the weather (including rip currents) is a big factor.

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(Kommando: Maybe she was a dog in her first life, then discovered cats are cooler so she changed for the other eight. Snoops: Then why are there still so many dogs around?)

Do you, Mr M and Saphera each have a favorite human?

Mr. M’s favorite person is mom and my purrsonal human is Master Munchkin. Like I told you, Saphera is very motherly, so she loves babies of all sorts… She does not like most adults (though she makes exception for family) and – I hate to admit this failing, but she doesn’t like adult males with dark skin, so Mr. M avoids her, even though he shares her love of babies – sticky fingers and all. (Eww)

Saphera was found running next to the interstate when she was about 6 months old. Her tail had been broken and she was in rough shape. Obviously, I was not around then (I just turned 2 and she is 8), The staff think she was abused and that she has some form of puppy PTSD. 

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What’s it like to live with a writer? Is she away from home a lot?

Mom and Mr. M collaborate on writing family-friendly fantasy and they are basically home-bodies. They finished The Chatterre Trilogy last year and are currently working on a new episode for Xander de Hunter’s Sea Purrtector series … I help with this, too.

During his youth, Xander de Hunter gained fame in Catamundo’s kickboxing tournaments. When, he and his family moved aboard sailing vessel, Whispurring Winds, Xander became Catamondo’s first Sea Purrtector. Latitudes & Cattitudes is a short (free) prequel to the series. It takes place when Xander is still purrticipating in the kickboxing tournaments. M and mom worked on that one and The Red Claw without me, but I started learning to be a muse during Purr-a-noia and by the time we wrote Me-YEOW!, M started muttering about me and my character, Mischief, trying to replace Xander. That is not exactly true, but Mischief does have my water skills, so I think she would make a wonderful Sea Purrtector. 

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Do you get to eat a lot of fresh fish since you live so close to the ocean?

Not as much as I’d like to eat – I love, love, love sea food. Saphera does, too, but M purrfers chicken.

(Dad would love her. Someone to appreciate the fish he catches. Wish he’d fish for deli ham some time.)

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Tell us one thing about each of your family members that you really like.

Mr. M tends to be quiet and keep to himself, but he is very smart and I learn a lot from him. He is also a big help with the blog and I can depend on him to share information about science and/or space at least one day per week.

Saphera is an excellent watchdog, except that she mainly watches so she knows when to hide, thus M is a better purrtector, but Saphera is a great surrogate mom.

Pop is super smart and knows a lot about music, gardening and loads of interesting stuff. 

Mom is really good about keeping on her writing schedule and still serving tasty meals on time.

Ms. Munchkin is also very smart and she’s learning to be a good cook.

Master Munchkin is my favorite person and we spend as much time together as possible. He reads me a bedtime story every day.

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What’s it like writing a blog every few days?

It’s pretty easy compared to writing a novel, but then, I get a lot of help from M and mom. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I would like to thank you for choosing me and taking the time to ask these questions…. Purrhaps, if you are ever near Florida’s Space Coast, you’d like to come to a pool party.

 (We need to look up Florida. I don’t think we can walk there. Maybe a business trip so Cheeseland pays for it.)