Here's a bit from "Lonnie, Me, and the Reptiles of Tybee Island"
Get 'im, Tiger
excerpt by Marian Allen
Her eyes widened and she caught her breath. “I’ll have to get my manager.” She went into another room and closed the door.
A couple of minutes later, a man almost as big as I am came out. The counter lady hung back inside the doorway, a hand over her mouth.
“Which one of you heroes wants to wrestle an alligator?”
Lonnie flexed his ropey arms and said, “That’d be me.”
Lonnie looked less sure by the second, but he said, “I had a Sign. I know how to beat him. You can have folks make bets, if you want to.”
“Lonnie,” I said, “I don’t hardly think Leona is gonna approve of this exercise, especially if you take bets.”
Leona is a hardshell Baptist, and doesn’t hold with gambling. Or stupidity, come to that, but she’d probably come to be pretty used to that by now.
“No bets,” the man said. “This has got to be absolutely secret. We could get in all kinds of trouble if word got out.”
Lonnie tipped him a wink, or maybe his nerve was going and it was a twitch.
“Come on,” the man said. “We got one out back of here. We keep him away from the others because he’s always trying to fight with ’em. We been looking for somebody to take him down a notch. Looks like you’re our man. Say, you ain’t that crocodile guy from television, are you?”
“That guy’s already dead,” I said, without thinking, and Lonnie gave me a hurt look.
The man led us outside and to a shed. He unlocked it, threw open the door, and flipped on the light.
He kind of crowded us in and closed the door.
“He’s over there in that corner,” he said.
The alligator was penned in a box that was not much bigger than he was. I felt kind of sorry for him, but the walls of the box were just barely taller than him, so I didn’t see how he could not get out if he wanted to. Maybe alligator legs don’t lift them up very high or something.
“Go get him, Tiger!” the man said. Whether he was calling Lonnie “Tiger,” or whether Tiger was the alligator’s name, I don’t know.
Lonnie didn’t move. Neither did the alligator. We all just stood there. Time stretched out.
Finally, I said, “Is he even alive?”
The man said, “No.” He stepped back outside, holding the door open for us. “It’s December. All the alligators are hibernating. The ones in the pond now are just fake ones, like this guy.” He snapped off the light, closed the door after us, and locked it.
I cut my eyes at Lonnie. He looked like Mr. Mad and Mr. Relieved were having a party and fighting over the tab.
He muttered, “That was a dirty trick.”
I said, “Maybe so, but I wish now I’d had money on you. I believe you could have taken a fake alligator, two falls out of three.”
Buy LONNIE, ME, AND....at Amazon in print and for Kindle and Kindle apps. Soon to be available through independent book stores, and in multiple formats through Untreed Reads.
Meanwhile, I'm doing Story A Day May again this year, so check out my Story A Day May posts for free short stories!
Marian Allen, Author Lady
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