Harold Goodwin

Copyright 1975 by Harold Goodwin

From Chapter 2

Later Eddie tiptoed into the dark bathroom with a mouse in a wire cage. He dumped the mouse in the tub. The small swimming animal triggered something in Edgar. He swam after it and it was gone.

"You're not going to die, are you, Edgar?" said Eddie, and he put out his hand to touch the alligator. The jaws snapped on his hand and Eddie stared at a row of oozing red dots that quickly ran together. "Ma!" he screamed.

When Eddie's hand was bandaged his mother marched into the bathroom. Without a word she picked up the alligator by the tail and flushed it down the toilet.

Edgar went down two flights in a welter of water and tumbled into the gentle current of the sewer. Once again he floated in the dark.

In another shop, from another tank, another uncle bought a baby alligator for his niece Allison. When Allison received her present she exclaimed, "An alligator!"

Her mother said exactly the same thing, "An alligator!" -- but her exclamation had an exactly opposite meaning. The alligator was named Alice, and after Allison left for school her mother flushed Alice down the drain. "That's that," she said.

Until people learned that alligators didn't make good pets and stopped buying them, alligators were flushed down toilets all over the city. Each alligator floated alone in the darkness of the sewer and wondered, "Is this real or the other? How can I tell? There is no one else to help me to know."