All in a day's work.
|Dank steam hung over the water like a malevolent veil. Josh dipped his paddle in the water and pushed his canoe through the murk. The swamp was silent, a surprise. He had anticipated – what? – some kind of wildlife sounds. The buzz of insects, the croak of frogs, the flap of a heron wing. Where were they? What did they know that he didn’t? He looked around, sky-blue eyes under a shock of curling hair the color of Iowa corn in August.
Josh dipped his paddle and clonked on something beneath the surface. He jerked around and stared into the filmy water. Just a log, long and brown. He felt his breath, shallow in his chest, and closed his eyes to slow his heart rate. He relaxed the grip on his paddle.
As he opened his eyes, the log rose out of the water in a blink. A log with a long mouth, lined along the top and bottom with scales, filled with razor teeth, and topped with a pair of yellow eyes covered with a nictitating membrane. Short, splayed legs, elongated tail. Josh knew immediately: American croc – not good. Instinct kicked in and jammed his heart into overdrive. He rammed his paddle straight into the crocodile’s gaping mouth and felt a sharp pain in his right hand. He knew a croc has the strongest bite of any animal. He knew his paddle was a crocodile toothpick. He knew he had nothing else for the fight. He needed a miracle.
With a splash, the stuntman slid backwards out of the croc and stood up in the studio tank. “You okay, Josh?” he asked. “That was intense.”
Josh stared down at his right hand. “No, I am not okay,” he hissed. “The rubber teeth on that contraption messed up my manicure.”
(Word count: 300)