Arnie the Alligator – K. Palmer

Arnie was an alligator. Arnie was a happy alligator. He lived in the swamps of the Florida everglades and he couldn’t remember a day he wasn’t as happy as he could be. Arnie was the happiest alligator in all of Florida and he wasn’t afraid to smile about it.

Arnie had a best friend named Francis. Francis was an opossum. As unlikely friends as one could come up with, a possum and an alligator, they spent every day together laughing and having the time of their lives. All the other swamp creatures thought it was weird they were friends, but they seemed so happy no one had the heart to tell them otherwise. So, they were left alone to play their games and be the best of friends.

They didn’t really see why everyone was so confused about their friendship. The two of them got along so well they couldn’t fathom not being friends. It just made sense to be best buddies. You could always find them exploring the swamps together. In fact, it was their grand sense of curiosity that helped make them friends. Francis would hop on Arnie’s back and they would swim off to see something new and exciting. They would always come up with games as a way to fuel their exploration. But, the game they loved the most was hide and seek. It was The simplest and easiest way to pass the time.

One day they set out to a deep part of the swamp they had never been to before. Arnie and Francis got so caught up in seeing this new part of the swamp that they lost track of the time and it grew dark. Arnie thought about heading home, but Francis said it would be okay. They would play one more game and then head home. They had never played hide and seek in the dark before. It would be great!

Francis hid and Arnie began to look for him. Without the sun the waters were especially murky and it took Arnie longer than normal. He was starting to get hungry. The grumbling of his stomach grew to be too much and Arnie decided he would look for something to snack on while looking for Francis. Creeping along he saw something out of the corner of his eye moving. It was a fish, a big catfish! That would make a great snack and surely tide him over until he got home for dinner.

He swam up slowly behind it and at the right moment came up and bit into that catfish. He got him and bit him clean in half. Then as the rest of the catfish floated back something else floated away from it. It was the lifeless, headless body of Francis. As the blood swirled and gathered in the water Arnie realized Francis must have been hiding behind that catfish the whole time. It was the greatest hiding place he had ever seen, even if it did lead to him eating his best friend.

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