So I was in a staff meeting, and the topic of alligators came up. (No, I don’t remember how. Yes, it really was relevant-ish.) So we’re talking alligators, and I casually say, “Yeah, we had one for a pet.”
This revelation was met with silence and blank stares. I took their expression to mean HOLY SHIT, THAT’S AWESOME. Turns out the “that’s awesome” look is very similar to “that’s bullshit.” I know, because a coworker looked at me flatly and said, “No, you didn’t.” Like they just knew I was lying about having a pet baby alligator. Who lies about that? So I replied, “Yes, I did. His name was Larry, and the cat ate him.”
Oh the looks! More disbelief.
Come on! You cannot make up those kinds of details! I was all NO REALLY! I SWEAR! And they were all: suuuuure, okay. We totally believe you. Which is something people say when they totally DON’T believe you. So I called my father on his work line and put it on speaker phone.
Me: Hey, Daddy. Quick question. Did we or did we not have a pet baby alligator?
Daddy: (In a tone that said, child of mine, are you high?) Of course we did. His name was Larry, and he was awesome.
Me: And what happened to Larry?
Daddy: Well … the cat ate him, of course. You know that. What’s going on?
Me: I’m in a staff meeting. No one believed me when I said we had a pet baby alligator and that our cat ate him.
Daddy: Well we damn sure did! And that cat ate the poor little feller. He was the best pet we ever had. He never shit on the floor once!
Me: Thanks, Daddy. I’ll call you back later.
Later that day I tweeted and Facebooked about my experience. And this happened. This is why the Internet was invented:
People are starting to ask me how we came to own Larry. Well, Daddy was fishing with friends, and Larry was caught on a trot line. The folks he was fishing with were going to kill him, and Daddy didn’t think Larry deserved such a horrible fate. So he brought him home, built him a habitat and fed him minnows and worms. Larry would coo at Daddy and let Daddy hold him. Larry was so little that his swimming pool in his aquarium was one of Mama’s cake pans. She was not thrilled with this or that we had a pet alligator. Her cat, Precious (see above Facebook conversation) was mesmerized by Larry. She would sit and stare at him. Then lick her lips.
One day we came home, and the top of Larry’s habitat had been knocked over. There was a bloody trail that led to a piece of tail. Nothing else of Larry was ever found. Daddy was heartbroken when he learned of Larry’s demise and so distraught that he quietly disassembled Larry’s living quarters. Mama may or may not have said something along the lines of, “Well, at least I know there won’t be a half-grown alligator living in my bathtub.”