..Jon Simonds..

Gator Aid?

Yo! I'm from Brooklyn. Maybe youse can help me with this sort of thing. I live in this apartment complex in Florida, which is really not an apartment complex at all, but like a condo kind of thing. I mean, apartments are big brick buildings with elevators, incinerators, and staircases you never want to use. The elevators are there for a reason, you know.

Staircases are for those entrepreneurial types and if you're smart, you'll stay away from them. The staircases are for those dusk to dawn CEOs working on their acquisition skills. You know the type. They're the ones taking part in capital gains through the laws of supply and demand that drive this great economy of ours. Am I being politically incorrect here? Hey! I'm sorry, but staircases are the sort of thing I understand. The notice I received on my front door, however. This is the sort of thing I need your help with.

Anyway, I come home from work the other night only to find a notice rolled up and stuck in my door knocker. I pull the thing out, open the front door, unravel the notice and start to read. I gotta tell ya, I'm not liken what I'm readin'. In big, bold letters, the top of the notice says:

Now I'm from Brooklyn, as mentioned, and lemme tell ya, the alligators that hang out in the New York City subway system never attack anyone. I imagine they're all too busy hiding out from those enormous rats you occasionally see scurrying down the platforms if you happen to be waiting for a train in the wee hours of the night, which I have occasionally had to do, but this is Florida and the alligators here might be of a whole different breed. Maybe they make a habit of attacking people, here. I've heard they sometimes like the shade one might find beneath one's car, but are alligators that aggressive? Do they like float around in the water eating fish and birds while discussing the pros and cons of having the neighbor as opposed to the neighbor's dog?

Hey, if this were the jungles of Africa, I could see facing the possibility of say, an elephant attack, but this is Florida. You face the possibility of heat stroke. Are alligators attacking people? This is the sort of thing I need to know. I mean, there's a growing number of New Yorkers living here now and we're not all Yankee fans.

I returned to the notice, hoping to find further information. The print wasn't so bold anymore, but matters only got worse.

"Florida Wildlife Has Left The Property With Two 8 Foot Alligators, Located In The Marshlands Directly Behind The Property. Keep Children Away At All Costs. Florida Wildlife Has Been Unable To Catch Several 12 + Foot Alligators. They Will Be Back."

When you say, "they will be back," to whom are you referring? Are we talking the Florida Wildlife people or the Florida wild life, because this is a really critical point that begs for clarification. I also gotta ask, how big do these things grow, and more importantly, can they climb stairs? I live on the second floor and I gotta know.

A family friend tells me alligators can run as fast as 30 miles an hour. With all the speed bumps on this property, how in the world is anyone expected to get away from these things? The leasing agent never said anything about this when I signed and initialed in all the right places. As a matter of fact, she said the neighbors were rather nice. There must be an attorney out there somewhere than can find a legal loophole here.

I go back to this wonderful notice. "It Is Against The Law For Anyone To Enter Into Protected Wetlands And Marshes Behind The Buildings. Parents You Must Keep Your Children Away From The Woods At All Costs. The Alligators Have Been Spotted. Do Not Trespass Into The State Protected Wetland."

I have to read this again because there is something very wrong here. I want to know why there is a law against my traipsing around in the marshlands behind my apartment complex, which is more of a condo, but there isn't any law against the occupants of the marshlands traipsing around my apartment? Furthermore, there are laws against the harassment of an alligator and the killing of an alligator. Come on, now. Who needs the protection here? A twelve plus foot alligator that jogs along at thirty miles an hour, or the poor rent-paying slob racing for his life 'cos this oversized lizard is thinking, lunch anyone? Would you harass an alligator? How do you do that, anyway? Show him your shoes and tell him it's his uncle Phil?

Somebody told me alligators are insomniacs. They have trouble sleeping at night and, as such, are most active from dusk to dawn. I can relate to this. Since receiving this rolled up notice in my door knocker thingy, I haven't been sleeping too well at all. Finally, I have to know. Cats meow, dogs growl, bees and mosquitoes buzz. Just what sort of noise does a gator make? I mean maybe somebody could come up with an idiot's guide to alligators. I'm from Brooklyn. What do I know?

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