Thomas Pynchon, 1961

Coyright 1961, 1963 by Thomas Pynchon

From Chapter 1
In which Benny Profane, a schlemihl and human yo-yo, gets to an apocheir

Geronimo stopped singing and told Profane how it was. Did he remember the baby alligators? Last year, or maybe the year before, kids all over Nueva York bought these little alligators for pets. Macy's was selling them for fifty cents, every child, it seemed, had to have one. But soon the children grew bored with them. Some set them loose in the streets, but most flushed them down the toilets. And these had grown and reproduced, had fed off rats and sewage, so that now they moved big, blind, albino, all over the sewer system. Down there, God knew how many there were. Some had turned cannibal because in their neighborhood the rats had all been eaten, or had fled in terror.

From Chapter 5
In which Stencil nearly goes West with an alligator

"Now what the hell," Profane said. He swung the flashlight beam down the tunnel, saw the tip of the alligator's tail sashaying around the next bend. He shrugged. "Carry on, your ass," he said.

He moved away from the manhole, carrying the gun safetied under one arm, the flashlight in the other hand. It was the first time he'd hunted solo. He wasn't scared. When it came to the kill there would be something to prop the flashlight against.

Nearly as he could figure, he was on the East Side, uptown somewhere. He was out of his territory--God, had he chased this alligator all the way crosstown? He rounded the bend, the light from the pink sky was lost: now there moved only a sluggish ellipse with him and the alligator at foci, and a slender axis of light linking them.