Thursday, September 8, 2016
See You Later, Alligator
“So what are you doing out here in a swamp?” Lissy demanded.
The tall, dark, young and oh-so-handsome naked man regarded her and Kim, unfazed. “What’re you?”
“We’re asking the questions,” Kim said. Now that she knew they were dealing with a cute shifter boy and not a dangerous monster, her everyday bossiness surged to the fore. “My sister was up here with one of her boyfriends and she said something scared her. Something in the swamp.”
“Your sister. She blonde, about yea high, the boyfriend a cutie but not too bright?” Swamp Boy made a face. “Yeah, I know them. Of course I went after the boy. A-hole poked me with a stick.”
Lissy nodded. “That sounds like Udo. All the guys on the football team think they have something to prove.”
"Sorry about the stick," Kim added. "Rhonni has a habit of dating doofuses. Doofi? So anyway, I'm Kim and this is Lissy." She waited expectantly.
"Wally," he said. "And I'll save you the trouble of guessing. I'm an alligator shifter. I just moved up here from Florida."
"Ah," Lissy said, with a wise nod. All of a sudden the swamp made sense. Then she frowned. "You know it's way cold up here, right?"
"That's why I moved at the height of summer. Lot less gator hunters, too. You can't go ten feet in the Everglades without some idiot in a pontoon boat wanting to turn you into boots."
"That's illegal," Kim said.
"Well, that doesn't happen here," Kim said stoutly. She thrust out her chest. "Don't worry, Wally. We'll protect you."
Not to be outdone, Lissy shoved her own assets forward. "Yeah. Kim's a lemur and I'm an Egyptian ibis, but don't let that fool you. We date predators. We know where to aim."
"And we'll both be eighteen in a couple of months," Kim added. "So we're legal. Ish."
"Um," Wally said. "About that ... "
"You haven't been here that long," Kim said. "You can't have a girlfriend already."
"Not a girlfriend, no." He angled his body to conceal his scaly maleness. "Might as well come right out and say it. I'm an alligator. Accent on the third syllable."
"Oh. Oh." Lissy facepalmed. "Crap. He's like the snake, Kim. You might as well take the Kleenex out of your bra." She pouted at Wally and his joystick, now and forever out of reach. "So you're a gaytor, huh?"
"Heard that joke already. From people poking me with things a whole lot worse than sticks. You mind if I put my poncho on? It's chilly when I'm not in the water."
"Oh, go ahead." Kim waved him off. Wally ducked under the trees. "It's not fair. All the good ones are either gay or in a relationship with someone they met on Facebook."
"Yeah," Lissy agreed. "Well, it's not that late. Maybe the wolves have a touch football game going out behind the high school."
"We can check. And I do not have Kleenex in my bra."
Wally returned, now clad from neck to shins in a swamp-stained poncho. "Sorry I wrecked your evening," he said. "Though you can still help me out. I was only hanging out here in the swamp while I got the lay of the land in town. Know any place I could get a room or something?"
"There's an inn," Kim said. "We can take you. Or--"
"Or you can go to Haven," Lissy broke in. "If you need a job or something. My mom's a friend of one of the owners. I'll bet they'd help you out. They like gay people."
"Hey, that'd be great. I--"
Kim surged forward. "Since when does your mom know the owners?"
"Since she came out of the closet last year. She met the peaparrot at book club." Lissy shrugged. "You know the saying. Birds of a feather."
"Yeah, well, I'll bet you've never been inside."
"Neither have you."
They started walking. A bemused Wally followed along, at a safe distance. He left the swamp with less regret than he had Florida. That club the girls were talking about was sure to have a mud room. Or they'd know where he could find one.
"Yep," he murmured to himself, listening to the teenagers squabble. "I feel like I'm home already."