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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Next time: Dinner Guest or Dinner? The Conclusion
All pictures courtesy of Google Images.