So what did they name the gator…?

They named the gator "Big Mouth."


Enjoy the stories below and learn a bit about each author!

 

Winner

Katina Billias is a folk and jazz singer, an artist, and a retired massage therapist and caterer who grew up in Florida and moved around the country, from Greenwich Village to Big Sur, Calif. She’s now enjoying the quiet of Dunnellon, Fla., where she’s focusing on writing, learning the craft with friends at monthly meetings of the Rainbow River Writers Club.

Micro-Fiction Entry:

They named the gator Big Mouth because three feet of his body was toothy maw and his thunderous bellowing made Spanish moss shiver even on sultry summer days when there was nary a breeze. In his youth he had a penchant for poodles, finding the nervy little barkers exciting and tasty prey. Stalking mansion studded riverbanks usually rewarded him with a well-groomed lunch. This is why he grew to eighteen feet, making him too big for ponds and a prized catch to poachers. Wildlife officers hounded him too, forcing him to seek deeper darker waters in places less inhabited.

Crossing Alternate A1A one night just north of St. Augustine, his tail was run over by a VW bug packed with stoned spring breakers, leaving a painful dent in his leathery armor. Clawing through dense underbrush fatigued him. He decided to take a short nap.

THWACK! He started, fearing the worst. Instead, he saw an alluring female lizard smacking his head with a snow white tail. An albino! She sashayed on, and mesmerized, he followed. Soon they were at the St.John's river. She channeled him that she was named Lola, and that she was extremely tired of hiding. Big Mouth concurred, his crush on her overwhelming. She told him of a place where they could live peacefully forever, having fresh chicken thrown to them every day in exchange for frightening tourists.

And so, together at dawn, they broke into Jacksonville's zoo, Big Mouth humming a tune - "Whatever Lola Wants "...

Runner-up

Bennett Welch is a software engineer who recently moved to Niceville, Fla. He is originally from Macon, Ga., and graduated from Mercer University with a degree in biomedical engineering. He writes as a hobby. Predictably, his favorite genres are sci-fi and fantasy. In his free time, he likes to play the electric guitar (particularly blues), video games (particularly The Legend of Zelda), or tennis (particularly poorly).

Micro-Fiction Entry:

They named the gator. Oh, God, why had they named the gator? The piercing warble of the lab containment breach alarm was loud enough to induce tears, though David's eyes were wet for a different reason. His fingers trembled as they hovered over the red Gas Release button on the console. She was like a daughter to him! He had raised her from egg to adult! That she was a different species hardly mattered. David couldn't stifle a sardonic grin at that thought; she was more human than most of his coworkers after all of the genetic splicing.

Maybe there was another way. David withdrew his hand. If she could be spared... maybe they could escape! Yes! They could hide in the glades! The University of Florida could get over not having a "realistic" football mascot. And as for the research, well, considering what happened to that intern, David doubted--

Another scream echoed from down the hallway, snapping David out of his fantasy. He peered down the dark passage, but could see nothing through the smoke and flickering lights. No. She had gone too far this time. Lives were in danger. With a huff of resolution, David slapped the button.

Nothing happened.

His eyes widened in panic, first at the lack of deadly gas and second at the large, scaly hand that slapped down on top of his. David slowly looked up, right into the slitted yellow eyes glaring with betrayal.

Alberta had come. "Go gators," she whispered.

David screamed.

Runner-up

Andrea Krass, a former tech marketing writer and publicist, oversees marketing efforts for the College Tennis Academy, College Tennis Exposure Camps and www.collegetennis.com. She moved to Brandon, Fla., in 1992 with her husband, former Harvard tennis coach Ed Krass.

Micro-Fiction Entry:

They named the gator after Pops Hinkley, who would take them skiff fishing in Mosquito Lagoon when business was slow. Jermaine was nine and Sully was six when they first met Pops outside the bait shop, next to the only Coke machine in town. A coin was jammed and Pops thought the boys were trying to vandalize the machine when he heard Jermaine pounding his fist below the coin slot. The boys, were startled by the old man, who snuck up and grabbed them both by the nape of the neck. He threatened to eat them for lunch if he ever caught them banging on his Coke machine again.

Pops' skiff would glide across the flats and barely make a ripple. He knew where the redfish hid. The secret of the catch was to be silent and to use the scent of the bait to bring them out.

Jermaine and Sully would spend much of the summer down by the bait shop, swigging Cokes from glass bottles, and lending Pops a hand in exchange for free rides in his skiff.

One afternoon as they drifted near the spartina and juncus, trying to draw redfish out of the marsh with bait, Jermaine spotted a gator swimming toward the skiff. "Time to make like a gator," Pops told the boys as he turned the skiff around and headed back to the dock. "Our friends are never going to believe this! Can we call him Hinkley?" Sully asked.