My Life in the Everglades
My family has lived in the Florida Everglades for generations. When I was born, my destiny was pretty much the same as everyone in my family who had come before.
I was doomed by genetics to be unable to speak and would never learn to read or write. My life would be all about eating and sleeping and not much more. Maybe if I was lucky I’d get to have sex now and then.
Although born with no ability to speak, read or write, I was taught by my parents and my own instincts to be able to survive in the wilds of the Everglades. I was the quintessential survivalist.
Most people were afraid of my family and avoided us. It was well known how dangerous we were, so we didn’t get bothered too often. But development of golf course communities and waterfront subdivisions began to bring people ever closer to our home. Every year it seemed they came closer.
I can’t remember exactly when I realized I was a bit smarter than my parents, siblings and friends. I mentioned that none of my known ancestors had ever talked. The entire family is dumb, not just in the sense of being unable to talk, but in the area of intelligence. Except for me.
Early in my life I figured out how to make a living that was much more rewarding than what my dull ancestors had been stuck with.
The dim thoughts in my brain were largely instinctive. I had no words to form the thoughts and no logic to use my thoughts even if I had any. If I saw a bird, a fish, a turtle or any other small living creature I knew it was food.
I would stalk it, lunge at it, grab it and drown it. It usually took only a few minutes. Then I would eat my meal at my leisure. When I got enough food that way, it was time to sleep. This went on for quite a few years and I was just another typical member of my family.
After a few years of this monotonous existence, I began to wonder if other things might be food. I figured if it moved it might be alive and would provide nourishment for my constantly hungry body. So I enlarged my diet to include furry animals like beavers, raccoons, squirrels and small deer. I even tried a snake now and then.
One day I spotted a small dog on the bank of a canal and snapped it up. My parents had never taught me about dogs and I had never seen one before. It was delicious, much tastier than the swampy fare I’d had up until then.
The dog had been walking with an old woman on the edge of my neighborhood. When I began to see more of these old people, I made it a habit to start looking for their furry little dogs.
Although I snarfed up quite a few dogs, there weren’t enough of them in my neighborhood to satisfy me so I began to look for the places they lived. I discovered many of them lived in houses with people. The houses were on canals and golf courses on the edges of my neighborhood so I began to hang around those places.
I learned it was easier to snatch the little dogs from their yards than from the leash that connected them to their human being. There was also a lot less noise and drama.
In the course of snooping around people’s yards, I also discovered cats and birds. People seemed to keep an unending food supply available just for me. I focused on capturing and eating furry little cats and dogs. Once in a while I’d have a bird for some variety. I was living the good life.
Things were great for a couple of years but it couldn’t last. An old woman finally spotted me snatching a cat from her back yard. She ran screaming into her house. Shortly after that, people in brown uniforms and guns came and tried to catch me. I escaped back into the Everglades and got as far away as fast as I could.
For quite some time I resumed my safer diet of turtles, birds, fish and other swamp creatures.
My appetite for the little furry ones eventually got the best of me and I started hunting again in people’s back yards. I had learned a lesson from the first scare. I was careful to look around and make sure no people were nearby to see me make the pet snatch.
One day, strictly by accident, I had an opportunity to eat a human being. She was old and white haired and had fallen into a canal and drowned. I spotted her and couldn’t resist.
I ate her over the next couple of days. She was tender and delicious and tasted much better than the little furry dogs and cats. Now I wanted more of the same.
One day I was napping under a palm tree on a canal bank close to my Everglades home. I awoke to see a bus pull into a nearby rest area. Dozens of old white haired people got off the bus, stretched their legs and hobbled into the rest rooms.
I was overcome by tremendous hunger pains. How badly I wanted one of them for dinner.
Suddenly I had a great idea. Even though I couldn’t read traffic signs and had never heard of a GPS, I figured out an ingenious way to follow the bus back to where it came from. I had killed a possum a few days earlier and stashed it away to eat later. It smelled pretty strong, and I retrieved it from my stash.
A luggage compartment on the bus was open and I placed the dead possum toward the back. I slipped back to my napping place and watched the old people get back on the bus. The driver closed the luggage compartment and the bus drove away.
My acute sense of smell guided me over the next two days as I followed the possum scent down the highway. I stayed out of sight most of the time in the shrubs and trees along the road.
I finally came to a complex of square buildings with the bus parked nearby. This was the home of the old people. I considered it to be a giant buffet.
There was a round marshy pond in front of the buildings with a walking trail around part of it. I slipped into the marsh between the trail and the pond and started watching the old people to learn their routine.
I discovered that several of them took early morning walks at different times by themselves. One of them was a plump slow moving woman who caused me to drool when I saw her. After craving her for several days, I decided it was time to kill her and eat her.
The next morning I crawled up the bank and lay partially concealed in some marsh grass on the shoreline close to the trail. When she was close, I quickly jumped up, grabbed her and pulled her into the water until she drowned. Then I ate her bottom half. It was delicious.
I hid the rest of her in the marsh grass on the other side of the pond for later consumption.
I never got the chance to finish that delicious meal. An army of uniformed people with guns suddenly appeared and swarmed over the area.
Their boats dragged hooks in the lake and searched the shoreline. They found the remainder of the old woman and carried it away. Now the uniformed people covered the pond and surrounding shore like a dragnet.
A helicopter whirled overhead, and boats and divers were everywhere. I couldn’t hide.
Finally, in an attempt to escape, I scrambled up the bank and ran into the woods on the other side of the pond.
I quickly got captured by several of the uniformed people. They tied me up tightly and carried me in a truck to a holding cell. I wasn’t there long before I was removed and brought to a laboratory at the University of Florida.
This is when the neurological experiments were done on me over several months. They learned how to record my brainwaves and translated them into thoughts and words so I could tell my story.
THE END OF THE STORY
Now I live in Gator Universe, a tourist attraction near Orlando. It’s not a bad life. I get a place to sleep and a couple of nice chickens to eat every day. I don’t get to have sex because only the younger guys are given that privilege.
That’s not so bad, but it’s torture to see all those delicious people staring and pointing at me and I can’t reach them no matter how hard I try.
I can only dream of the good old days.
At least the University of Florida named their mascot after me.