The Alligator in the Sewer

People don’t believe me when I tell them I once owned an alligator.

It was the 1970s — when laws about buying and selling exotic animals were more relaxed — and something possessed my father to bring home an alligator. I’m sure it wasn’t MY idea, because I would have never have said something so crazy as , “I want an alligator.” My father was a wonderful man, but wildly unpredictable in the use of his hands, and saying nutty things in front of him was not always a great idea.

Anyway, this was a tiny little thing, less than a foot long, and it pretty much sat in its tank all day and did nothing. We grew tired of it quickly.

Eventually the day came along when we weren’t even sure it was still alive and my father took it out to the corner and deposited it into the sewer. Word got around the neighborhood and people would stop by one at a time to peer down at the dead alligator in the sewer.

When it started moving around down there we were all surprised. A teenager named Kenny got a rake and managed to scooped it up. He offered to return it to us, but by that time we were pretty much done with alligators and allowed him to bring it home with him.

I like to imagine what would have happened if the alligator had slithered down deep into the pipes of the storm sewers and taken up residency. He could have spent years stalking around below the streets of Long Island feasting on rats, once an unwanted pet, but now an urban legend.

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