Michela Walters’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: A Gator Tale
“The wind was whipping my hair in front of my eyes, making it difficult to see much of the course in front of me. Thankfully my sunglasses kept my eyes protected from the water spray and flying debris that whizzed by in my open aired buggy.
It was the third year I’d competed in Cypress’ Swamp Rat Race in my own buggy. I’d been a passenger before when my old man raced, but there was nothing like the thrill of being in control of your own car and your own destiny. The Swamp Rat Race was a twenty mile off road race that included mud running through the swamps of my small Louisiana parish. I’d just passed ol’ Roscoe Jones and was creeping up towards the front of the pack as I approached mile fifteen. I could taste victory and couldn’t wait for the whole town to buy me a beer and Justine’s Crawfish Shack. It was customary for the winner to have to be carried home, being too drunk to walk, and my liver couldn’t wait.
My throughs wandering into the winner circle had taken me off task and I chided myself for letting my focus drop. I was just approaching Devil’s drop when I heard a pop and my steering went rigid, sending me and my car careening down into the water below. Just my luck to have a crash within miles of victory. After coming to a rolling stop about twenty yards from the road, I assessed my injuries, knowing i’d probably knocked most of my sense outta my brain. My hand came back a bit bloody, but other than a headache and a few bruises, I figured I’d be fine.
The seat belt came undone, allowing me to start my slow slog towards land. Glancing above, I caught Roscoe pass me by without as much as a wave. I cursed my excellent camouflage paint job, and kept on swim-walking towards the road. I paused, just for a moment, the hairs on the back of my neck sticking up in warning. It felt like the whole swamp had gone still, silent and I spun around to see if my luck really had just run out.
There I was, sitting eye to eye with a less than charming gator, in full on approach. I tried to run, but the water was a shade too deep, and my swimming wasn’t going to win me any medals. With the quickness I’d never seen, his jaw clamped down on my leg, pulling me under.”
“Aw hon, don’t go filling up Jacob’s head with that nonsense. You lost your leg to diabetes five years ago, not to some ugly gator,” Wanda, the night nurse exclaimed just as he’d gotten to the good part of his story.
His roommate’s grandson loved his stories and Jess loved to regale anyone who’d listen with his glory years. “Aw, Wanda. You’re no fun.”
Jacob chuckled, and thanked him for the story, telling him he’d be back next weekend for another one.
“You’re gonna give that boy nightmares, Jess,” Wanda chastised, as she gave him his pain meds before bed.
He knew he didn’t have long, and his exciting memories, grandiose and perhaps a bit exaggerated, were all he had left. When an enthusiastic audience appeared, who was he to decline his tall tales?
“Get some rest, I’ll see you in the morning.”
Jessie went to sleep dreaming of road races, alligators and a girl named Justine.
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Michela Walters is a wife, mother and book enthusiast. She is currently attempting her hand at writing her first romantic fiction novella. You can read her other stories on her blog: michelawalters.wordpress.com