The Black Marble
Joseph Wambaugh, 1978

From Chapter 5
The Big Sewer

[...] She had owned at various times, in addition to the studs, a pet ocelot, a cheetah, a boa constrictor and a baby alligator named Archie who was accidentally flushed down the toilet. She also had less exotic creatures like a Siamese cat, a standard poodle, and a miniature schnauzer bitch with terrific bloodlines who liked to amuse herself by chewing the hell out of Archie the alligator, who got sick and tired of it and went bye-bye down the john.

[Paragraph not dealing with sewergators deleted. Who needs it?]

A lackluster cop named Leonard Leggett was the instrument whereby Archie and Tutu were linked again in the Great Chain of Life. For when Archie took a powder, and found himself tumbling pell-mell in a wild surging torrent right through Millie's new plumbing--while one of the studs in the round waterbed was going through Millie's old plumbing--Archie eventually escaped with his life through a pipe vent. Then Archie began an incredible odyssey overland, living on bugs and grasshoppers and french fries which, lucky for him, lay like hordes of dead locusts on the streets of Hollywood. At last, Archie followed his instincts to the Los Angeles sewers, coming to rest in the wonderful, cool, filthy muck below the streets. There was enough tasty fare for a whole battalion of alligators: pastrami sandwiches, beef dips, the ubiquitous soggy french fires, and tons of half-eaten Big Macs and ribs from Kentucky Colonel. And there was plenty of game: rats, snakes, puppies, human fetuses, a full-term baby or two. Some of it live, most of it dead, the flotsam and jetsam of Los Angeles. People got tired of things very easily in the city and it was adios, down the sewer.

But Archie found that peace and quiet were boring. In his dim reptile brain he perhaps remembered the bad old days when he was put upon by the schnauzer, and he became a tyrant in the sewers. He was soon five feet long, nose to tail, and still growing, rampaging around the sewers chewing the hell out of every hapless pet hamster or baby mouse that floated by on a Popsicle stick, right into the gaping maw of Archie the alligator. Then, one day, he made the mistake of chewing the hell out of the leg of Tyrone McGee, a sewer worker from Watts, who was sick and tired of being pushed around all his life and wasn't about to take any crap even from an alligator. Not in his sewer, he wasn't.

Tyrone McGee did what he had always done when bullies picked on him. He went and got his big brother. In this case, big brother was Leonard Leggett, the lack-luster cop, who reluctantly followed the bleeding sewer worker back down there in the dark and, shaking like a mouse on a Popsicle stick, dispatched Archie to the Big Sewer with three volleys from his Ithaca shotgun, giving Tyrone McGee a chance to grin malevolently at the belly-up sewer monster, and say, "Catch you later, alligator."