Once upon an orange, as most things in Florida were once upon, and long before people, who painted each other yellow, brown, red, black or white, there were alligators. These carnivorous cows of the prairies descended from primitive little lizards whose only evolutionary development was size, as the fittest among them adapted to a growing supply of food, which included every living thing in the vicinity. And a fellow alligator or two. The fairly recent arrival of humans on the Earth hasn’t changed much except slow down their growth, but the alligators don’t really mind that. In fact they are amused by the feeding behaviour of these restless halfmonkeys. Apparently, humans want to do too many things before taking a bite. For instance, after planting many seeds in the ground, they wait a long time before they grow, only to produce more seeds. Then they fussily grind them into a paste, which is stuffed in a hellhole until it turns into a soft, bloodless gob that ends up tasting like a burnt plant. Unsurprisingly, they call it the Devil’s Food or ‘Pumpernickel’. Such are their ways, despite all the food that freely floats over if you simply lay still by a lake with your mouth wide open.
This story was a finalist in the Matheson Museum’s 2016 Microfiction Contest on Florida History