Once there was an alligator. He was a small alligator, only a few weeks out of the egg. He was still kind of feeling his way around, only venturing a few meters from his nest. He hadn’t reached the stage where he had to get his own food, as he was still receiving food from his mother. She would periodically leave the nest to go out hunting, and bring back small bites of zebra and kangaroo to feed to the kids. There were sixteen alligators in all. It was a particularly large nest, as most alligator nests only contain seven or so. This alligator mom was particularly lucky with not only the amount of eggs, but that they had all hatched and produced healthy baby alligators. Usually when a mother alligator has so many eggs, there are a few that need to be sacrificed for the good of the many. The mother was quite relieved, to say the least, when she discovered that all of her eggs were healthy.
On the particular day in question of this story, the mom had been gone for longer than normal. She would usually go out for about an hour or so, and then come back with the good. However, it had been over four hours since she left, and they were starting to get hungry, and scared.
“What should we do?”
“Wait. We should wait.”
“I don’t want to wait.”
“But we have to wait. We don’t have any other choice.”
“Maybe she got mad and left us!”
“She didn’t get mad at me, she got mad at you!”
“Did not! Did too!”
And so they previously happy and well taken care of alligator began to argue. Pretty soon, it became dark. The mother alligator still hadn’t returned.
“We are going to die!”
“Maybe she got lost?”
“Maybe she was eaten by another alligator!”
“You idiot, alligators don’t eat each other!”
“How could she get lost, she’ s our mom, she knows everything!”
The more they tried to ignore their hunger and fear in their tiny little alligator nest, the worse it became. Soon they began fighting, and biting each other. Simon, the young alligator who is the focus of this story, decided to climb over the edge of the nest, just to see what was on the other side.
“What are you doing? You want to get killed?”
“I’m just gonna take a look and see what is here.”
He climbed up, and looked.
“What do you do see?”
“Nothing, just a bunch of stuff that looks like the same as in here. Exceptâ€¦..bigger. Much bigger.” He had an idea. He looked back down at the young, scared alligators, and then turned to look again at the vastness of the swamp outside of their protective nest.
“Hurry up, and come down before somebody sees you! You’ll get in trouble!”
“I’m not coming down. I’m going out. There has to be food out here, someplace.” Then he disappeared over the edge of the side. The young alligators were horrified. They were sure that he died.
A few days later, two more small alligators climbed up and over the edge, their fear and trepidation overcome by their hunger. They two were never seen again. Another couple of days passed, and a few others got the courage to climb up and over the edge of the next.
A week and a half later, there were only four remains alligators. They were too weak to move by now, and had long given up trying to come up with a reason that their mother had abandoned them. They didn’t noticed when the birds began circling overhead. Nor did they notice, or really care when they came down and perched on the edge of their nest. They had already given themselves up to fate. One by one, the birds leaned in and ate the remaining alligators, until they were all gone.
It only took Simon and his brothers and sisters, a few hours to realize the abundance of food that outside, just waiting to be eaten, waiting to be taken. As Simon grew, and swam through the swamp, his strength and determination increasing with every morsel he hunted, killed, and ate, he realized how wonderful it was to be an alligator. Sometimes he wondered what had happened to his brothers and sisters. But he usually spent his time going after what he wanted. Which was fine with him.