Young kid searching for a fishing hole in his new town runs into an overgrown mommy gator.
As kid’s we all strike out on our own. I just happen to know of a wooded area that hadn’t been seemed to be explored. A month ago, durning summer break we had moved to small community, just west of Savanna Georgia. It is a woodsy type town, where the road stayed a two lane. Didn’t matter though, you couldn't get lost.. the town was too small. There wasn’t any real traffic anyway, except during the school year. It was about a ten mile trip to and from school.
This however, was now summer time, and I was on my way to investigate a set of woods about three miles away from my house. With no bike, I walked down the dirt path road that both my mom and dad called our driveway. Walking onto the main street which had lead through the one light town, I in a walk, headed the other way. There was a stream about a mile and a half down the road I wanted to check out for a possible fishing spot. The sun climbing as the temperature rose too, I walked on.
The small stream off to the left seemed to be a muddy red with a brown tint to it, as I noticed it kept a slow pace as it slowly moved nearer towards this road and then it seemed to head back out into the dense bushes and trees.
Getting close to the spot I wanted to check out. I saw the path I’d seen on the bus ride from school. It was something I had caught my eye being bussed home, it looked like an old rusted out car!
'Yeah, this was the trail I saw,'
There weren’t any houses back out this way that I had noticed, realizing it was more like a fishing path, or animal crossing. Sure I had the right path, I headed into the wild brush. Realizing the car was here, it was just what it had appeared to be, old and well rusted out. I checked it out, as the seat springs had almost completely rusted away, the body of it seemed burnt too,. The fire had left an ugly rust color to it, marking it's final grave here. Nothing left to salvage, as the ground around it absorbed the rain washed rust to a brown ring that seem to hold it to this spot.
The trail I realized could only be another fifty feet or so through the ever-growing brush and trees.. would take me to the rivers bank, with this knowledge I no longer interested in the well decayed car, I moved on down the trail. The rivers over flow during the rain had left trash woven throughout the small brush the closer I got to it. Coming out to a clearing, I was thinking this would be a great place to fish, looking up and down the brown river.
There was a good six foot of ground between the water’s edge and the thick brush as a long log laid onto the shore just ahead..
At first, I noticed movement, as though rats that had built a nest in the hollow end of this log, half in the water, half on land. I though 'that's cool'..as I walked towards them, suddenly realizing that all the baby rats were all jumping into the water to disappear.
'Um, rats don't swim?' I recalled thinking as I walked up closer to the log, trying to figure this out.
Now, I never figured that there was any danger, didn’t feel anything wrong and it seemed
safe enough to approach the log. That was until a got close enough to realized the open hole was shaped weirdly and the knot hole behind it, was exactly what an eye looked like..
Now, as stupid as this sounds, I moved even closer. I had now gotten almost within two foot of the opening and in a sudden shock I’d heard a 'deep throat-ed hiss'. I stood frozen to my spot, unsure what within the log could have made such a sound. I actually began to bend down, getting even closer, as I suddenly realized the log’ had a rows of sharp teeth! This was no log! I was frozen now by shear fear as more and more teeth began to show..the hole was now a mouth!
My mind screamed to 'MOVE!!!' As a zap of electricity ran down my spine, it seemed to help keep me paralyzed to the spot. It would only have taken a split second for this huge thing to bite my head right off my shoulders, Oh, I was well within range.
I have no idea what finally caused all my muscles to react in a springboard backwards action. A birds tweet? A frog’s croak? The snap of a twig... Whatever it was, it had saved my life, as this, now realizing 'alligator’ came within a half an inch of snapping shut in my suddenly retreating face!
Landing on my back, I instinctively kept rolling backwards, as my leg’s sprang’ in a backwards momentum, once I’d come full circle. I had actually thought this move had cleared me out of harms way. Catching a gasp of breath, in a look at it for what it was, I realized as I'd rolled back a good ten feet, it had advanced the same distance.. This open mouthed pointy toothed monster was just as close as the moment I began to retreat!
It was after me! In a spin, I tore out down the river’s edge in a full run! I was looking for the trail, hoping I hadn’t missed it moving so quickly. Branches flew past me as my eyes darted about in an effort to spot the opening... There it was!
In a ninety degree left, I grabbed a branch to help me maneuver the high speed turn! Somehow, probably out of fear, my grasp on the branch didn’t release, almost stopping me in my tracks. In a non-understanding of my grip, I'd looked back, realizing to re-gain my forward movement... At a sudden standstill, it's a mouth full of teeth had almost slapped shut on my rump. Terror ruled me at this point. I had made no progress in trying to escape this toothy death!
However, it had stopped suddenly in its chase of me. Amused my hand was still locked onto the small branch, leaves scrolled through it as my hand as my legs again kicked in. Still holding the leaves, I tore down the now wider trail. As I gained traction, so had the gator. It had four short feet to my two long legs.. and it was still gaining on me!
My eyes had begun to water, as a fear of death stalked a half of breath behind me. The water, making the trail harder to follow. If it weren’t for the large rust colored blotch ahead, I would have probably hit a tree. That rusted out car had probably saved my life, as I shagged around it. This rusty avoidance only slowed the movement of the alligator slightly, now giving me a three foot advance of those teeth. But I wasn’t stopping, and neither was it..
In a literal spin around the car, it followed me, not losing an inch of ground. I though that out of sight-out of mind, but No! It had kept right up with me. Following me, snapping when it thought it had it's prey.. I'd kept going in a second lap around the car, which left me almost chasing its long tail. This didn’t seem right either.. And in a desperate move I headed back in onto the trail towards the road in dash of speed, hoping it hadn’t seen my direction of departure. It did.. as once again, in a quick look back, it was again closing on me quickly.
I was fully crying now as I broke through the brush onto the street. I'd never thought of possible traffic... I froze as a car barreling down the road, came to a screeching to stop as I had flew out of the brush directly in front of it. It stopped almost two feet in front of me as electricity surged through my body.. I didn't care. It was something to climb onto and dove onto the hood before ever realizing it was a police car! I saw higher ground, and took it, scaling up the front windshield to the rack of lights.
Trouble? Ha.. The officer flew out his open door, as I now stood on his room, scared he almost flatly run me over, as an anger replaced the fear,
“What the hell! Boy, is you crazy?” The cop flew out of the driver’s side, looking at me as if I was nuts. From my perch, I could only point at the alligator coming out of the brush at an alarming rate of speed! Even before he could react to my point, the alligator had slammed into his passenger side door, rocking the entire vehicle. And 'it' still trying to get at me!
It wasn’t clear how they recognized each others presents. Yet, it turned out that it was only a single jump from adrenaline that brought the officer up by my side. As a double snap of the alligators massive jaws tried a fast clamp onto the officer’s leg as he scrambled up with me.
Catching a quick breath, I noticed he was just as afraid of this thing as I was. Oh great, now we were both going to die! Somehow, in a launched leap, it had landed onto the front hood as the officer was trying to free his gun from it's holster..
I was about to abandon the rack of lights as the officer jumped backwards himself,
almost tripping on the rack of lights as it had secured it footing on the cars hood. I saw trouble here as from my line of sight, it seemed they were both about to slide off the vehicle. In unison they both seemed to have caught their balance and froze for a second.
I realized the officer and the alligator were in a face-off. I was sure the officer was going to be on the losing end of this, even with his now drawn gun.. Now, don’t ask me what happened next, I had turned around to the car’s trunk.. and in a double bound, I had landed five or six feet away from the car.
Now, I was in a sound splitting run, my leg’s had kicked into overdrive, as a sound of gun fire had in quick succession, erupted behind me..I never stopped running! I’d heard 'a lot' of cracks of gun fire let loose behind me.
Then, as if suddenly, I realized I had a problem… I was running 'towards' my school and heading away from my house. But somehow this thought hadn’t stop my legs from keeping this tear down the empty road.
I was finally tucker out as I took a glance back, my speed had worn down to a jog. Gasping for breath, and looking back, I realized the cop car was almost a speck in the distance and there was no sign of that alligator between it and me.
I literally collapsed on the street, as green and red spots blurred my vision. I kept looking, to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. 'Why, I don’t know', but I began crying openly. It seemed I was trying to heaving a lung out of my throat, as both my legs and arms tingled, as I suddenly realizing I was now laying in the street now. The officer had now turned his car around, as I watched him approaching my spot. Slowly, seeing me curled up on the road, He pulled up beside me, coming to a stop.
We looked at each other for about a half of a minute before he spoke to me, I was still huffing heavily!
“It’s dead...” He said, showing he was pretty shook up himself.
“You sure...?” I asked, barely able to speak, finding my throat on fire.
“I’m sure…. Climb on in. I’ll give you a ride home.” He said, giving me a reassuring smile.
I had a problem. I realized it as I stood up. I had soiled myself! My underwear had a full load of poop in them, and I was soaked with pee too. I began to cry standing there.
“It’s alright son, I wet myself too… Come on, I’ll take you home.” He again, tried to console me. Still crying, in a walked around the car, he reached over and opened the door for me. Climbing in, I realized, by the smell inside the vehicle, he hadn’t been lying.
We drove past the dead alligator, I didn’t even want to look at it. I only did look to make SURE it was dead. He begun to explain to me, that he’d had to unload all six rounds into that monster 'and then' reload.. and shot three more times...
“I think I shot my own car twice.. Damn thing seemed to dodge my bullets! Yeah.. we finally got it..” He spoke almost proudly.. I didn’t hear much more as the squashy feeling in my underwear made the whole ride just embarrassing.
Arriving home, both parent coming out of the house, as I freely opened the door to show I was safe and unharmed, they thought I was in deep trouble.. The officer 'cleared up' this misunderstanding, beginning to explain about the ordeal of how he came across me.. Mom, realizing (as only mother do) hurried me into a bath, thanking the officer beginning his harrowing tale to my father and now two siblings.
(Mom was more embarrassed that the officer had brought me home like this, than actually listening to why I was soiled).
It was the next day he'd stopped by to see how I was doing, and to explain too everyoneexactly what all had transpired since bringing me home.. As with my luck, even with this 'officer' confirming a story that couldn't possible be true, my dad doubted the story yesterday, and would rather not believe such a tale today..
Not even my own dad believed a word 'an officer of the law' spoke... Especially when told my dad of it's size. Dad was actually calling 'Bullshit' to the officers face.. I even tried to tell my own dad. The officer.. he wasn’t lying.. IT WAS 'THAT BIG', DAD!
“The officer just smiled, having caught something out of the corner of his eye. (Actually, he was waiting for it to appear)
Then, a flatbed long-bed tow truck was coming up the road way, still a hundred yards away from the front of our house... The officer just smiled at me..
“Well, seeing as how you seem to refuse mine and your son account of it, I had the proof brought..” He said as everyone was starting to realize, there was a gator.. a over-sized gator tried onto the back of the long bed tow truck.
Now, everyone, was seeing this.. It had even attracted the local attention of the neighborhood residents as well.. The massive alligator made this long bed tow truck look small as everyone was now moving down our long driveway as 'others' had been following the tow truck. A line of cars, came to a stop well behind it was everyone exited to get a closer look..
“No flipping way.” My dad spoke as he began following everyone else to the large creature strapped to the tow truck's bed. The tail... about three foot of it had dragged on the ground the whole way here...
“Way dad.. Never want to run that fast ever in my life again.. Trust me, 'Track' is out.” I spoke still feeling the pain in both my legs.
“Huh.. You out ran that?” He seemed to understand 'that feat' would be almost impossible, for a real track star.
“No running, even if I'm late for the bus. It can wait or leave.. but 'run for it'.. Not happening ever again.” I spoke my piece of mind, almost sassing my father. I didn't care. I was alive.
It was about ten minutes before the officer, surrounded by town folks began to inform my father of just what this was all about,
“You need to know.. There’s been a long standing reward for this alligator. We’ve code named him 'Chomp'.. It’s known that he’s already eaten two small children.. May god rest their souls.. four dogs and a string of cats... Plus a young heifer about a mile past where 'we'd' killed it..” He began, “We’ve been looking for him for about four years now..” The officer said, turning to wave over the large trucks huge cargo, it's thick tail on the road.
I watched my brother and sister’s eyes get as big as marbles as they noticed it’s rather large tail dangling off the back of the flatbed towing truck.
“A reward?” Dad asked understanding now how huge this dead creature was.. As fly’s were becoming attracted to the carcass..
“Oh my lord!” Mom said, realizing that it only needed one chomp to have eaten me.
“You mean. That thing was chasing you?” Dad asked, trying to comprehending the whole ordeal.
“Never running again, ever..” I said.
“I’d of crapped my pants too!” My sister stated.
“Thanks for stopping by,” The officer told the truck driver. “…I thought the family here, might want a first-hand look at the critter that their quick footed boy had just 'out ran'.” Stated to the driver of the flat bed.
“Is this the boy who coaxed chomp out of hiding?” The heavy set man wearing overalls asked, still sitting behind the wheel of the tow truck, looking down at me shutting down the diesel engine
“This is Willie. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be on
the track team when he gets older.” Officer Dan stated, rubbing my head and smiling.
“Nope.. NO TRACK.. I promise you..”
“Well, I’ll sure tell you this There’s about two hundred people in town that’ll be just dying to shake your hand Willie. Boy, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole town threw you a party!” The truck driver said as my brother and sister were trying to get a closer look at it’s open mouth,
“I’m to understand that the mayor is ready to give
him the key to the town sometime next week. Yeah, I think there’s going to be a 'very' special party for the boy here..” Officer Dan stated to my mom and dad.
“Oh, you’re joking us?” Mom said.
“No mame. It’s true. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if citizen’s from eight counties around show up, just to shake his hand. The mayor will probably be attending the shin-dig too. You got one special boy here! A hero.” Officer Dan beamed at them.
“...you'd mentioned... something about a reward’?” Dad asked, not having found a decent job in the last month.
“Oh yes. The reward! Yes, I have it right here.” Officer Dan retrieved a check from his shirt pocket. “I can’t accept any of it myself, being as how I’m an officer of the law and all. But, I’m sure it’s going to the right family..” He smiled handing the check to my dad.
Dad seemed stunned as he read it. He was in so much shock, his mouth hung wide open as he just turned to mom, who had already grabbed it out of his hand to read it for herself. In reading it herself, her eyes fluttered as she was about to pass out! Dad had to grab as her knees had begun to buckle.
“Mom…” I said, seeing her faint into our dad’s arms, it was the most funniest picture I’d ever
witnessed as in that moment, both of their mouth’s hung wide open in this swooned position, as the check fluttered out of mom’s hand to the roadway.
“It’s okay son… I think it’s just a touch of a little shock.” Officer Dan said, placing a hand on my shoulder, seeing my dad had saved her from falling.
“What does it say?” I asked, as my brother and sister who'd rush over and seeing dad having caught mom picked up the check, as dad was still trying to steady mom on her feet. The tow truck driver just chuckled outloud. Laurie and Vince looking at the check, were now completely confused. The amount didn't seem to register to them.
“I don’t think they expected that’ kind of money.. It’s really a lot of money the town gave you.” He smiled himself.
“Why? How much did they give me?” I asked, as now both my brother and sister jaws had dropped open..
“Five thousand dollars..” He said, almost in a whisper.
“We're rich!” Laurie and Vince said in unison seeing the check amount..
“I have a friend that skins these kind of critters. He might want to stuff this one. But, as I'm to hear... he’ll need the boy’s permission first..” The tow truck driver stated, still smiling.
“Thanks for stopping by.. I’ll be in town shortly.” Officer Dan told the man who was waving at others he knew.
“Yeah. Thanks again young man, Ralph can now rest in peace.” He said, starting up the trucks diesel engine.
“Ralph?” I asked.
“Yeah, his dog. Ralph. Was his Pit bull. Ralph was one of the animals Chomp got a hold of.” Officer Dan told us.
“Oh.” I said, as we all began to walked back up our long driveway, as people clambered into their cars to follow the great beast into town. I would forever remember the scratch marks and dents on the patrolman's car..
“Well, see you guy’s around town.” He waved, beeping a loud horn, as people parted from the front of his truck.. The officer waved back, letting him leave.
“Are we rich dad?” Vince asked.
“Oh yes son. This here's an awful lot of money!” Dad said, taking back the check. Both mom and dad seemed really happy as the deputy drove away. We all gave him a send off wave.
Then there was this 'huge' party that we all attended. I'd never had a girlfriend before.. Heck, I wasn't even interested in them... But boy-oh-boy, there were like eight or ten of them, all trying to get my attention.. like all evening long..
Everybody seemed too suddenly wanted to be my best friend. I was just glad when all the hoop-la had died down. Seems we were moving to a better house and Dad got a good job in town with decent pay. All three of us kids got brand new bikes, new clothes, heck we even got a new color TV. Me.. for month's I seemed to be always trying to out run some girl, swearing 'I' was her new boyfriend.. (I still didn't even like girls.. Well, not yet anyway) Between the girls and the nightmares of that day... I was one confused young teen.. Somewhere in that time, the tow truck driver had brought me a large tooth on a leather string. Later in life, I found out, that this was one of many stories of fear that I would live through..
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