Friday, July 2, 2021

Oh Cabana Boy!

I've written from Florida before. No, before that. After that. Yeah, then. I'm here to take care of my mother. Not much of a story in that, but I did want to tell you about Gary.

My mother lives in a swamp next to a creek; she has a pond and an abandoned swimming pool. [Florida residents will not need to read the rest of the story.] Gary is an alligator, maybe 30 inches long, and he is squatting in the swimming pool. Don't worry, though - there is an Alligator Hotline whose sole purpose is to keep Gary safe and well-cared-for.

There appear to be several resources for people nurturing alligators in their pools. Florida Wildlife Commission, the game warden, law enforcement, private trappers. The thing that isn't obvious is that all these agencies funnel alligator issues back to the Alligator Hotline. Here's the transcript of my actual* conversation with them:

"Is he safe? Are you irritating him in any way? He's good? Okay, then, we recommend that you keep all your pets on a leash. Your mom? Well, make her aware that there's an alligator, so she doesn't disrupt his habitat."

"We'll refer this to our biologist, who, unfortunately is not in the office this year - yes, it's an egg count in Guatemala. So, we need you to send a picture (proof of life, you know!) every day with a newspaper in the frame, k? An email from the alligator containing information only he would know should be sent for approval to our director."

"No, sorry, there's actually no money available for alligator subsidies. If you adopt one, you'll have to accept financial responsibility independently. Yes, they actually do prefer live meals - you are well-read, Ma'am! - so that will have to be figured into the overall expense. Shall I go ahead and ring you up for one alligator at this time? Oh, it's perfectly normal to have buyer's remorse. Don't worry - you will adapt beautifully! Be sure to write!"

In other news...heck, there's no other news. Just me, my mother, and Gary. I'd tell you another story, but each anecdote ends "...and then I ran into my bedroom and screamed into a pillow..."

*not actual

Update: he was over 4' long - too big to rehome.