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Here is a story I made up about Alligators for some kids in South Carolina. In spring, 1997, I was the prize in a Scholastic USA Book Club Contest. The winner was Ms. Gaugler’s second grade in Georgetown, S.C. I was in Georgetown for 3 days and on one of the days we went on a field trip to Huntington Beach. The beach had a big swamp behind it that was supposed to be full of Alligators, but Ms. Gaugler said they were supposed to be very hard to see. She knew that because she has talked to other teachers. Ms. Gaugler was a first year teacher from New Jersey who knew NOTHING about alligators. We stopped the bus to look for alligators. No alligators. We walked down into the tall grass. No alligators. We got right down beside the water. No alligators. Ms. Gaugler was said, “We will be lucky to see one. Look very far out into the water.” So everybody was looking way out except one kid who said “Look! A big one is one right here!” v And there it was, an 8 foot alligator sunning in the grass right at our feet. Actually, the kid had to say, “LOOK”, several times because everyone was busy looking way out in the water like Ms. Gaugler said. Then suddenly everyone looked down and saw the alligator. Mrs. Gaugler yelled, “RUN”, only everyone was running already. I made up this story right afterward. The kids in it are in Ms. Gaugler’s class.

When the school bus stopped by the swamp, Ms. Gaugler said, “We are going to go look for alligators. There are supposed to be lots of Alligators here.”

All the kids walked down the road. They walked and walked and walked looking for alligators.

Sherri said, “I don’t see any alligators.”

“I don’t see any alligators either”, said Shakera.

“Me neither.” said Felicia, “There is nothing here except green water and turtles.”

So everyone jumped over a little fence and went through really tall grass all the way to the water.

Sherri said, “I still don’t see any alligators”.

“None at all”, said Shakera.

“Me neither.” said Felicia, “There is still nothing here except green water and turtles.”

“Lets walk out on that log” said Sherri, “there might be some alligators out in the deep water.”

So they walked out on the log and Sherri said, “No alligators”.

Shakera said, “No alligators”.

Felicia said, “This log has eyes”.

“Logs don’t have eyes”, said Shakera.

“Logs don’t have eyes”, said Sherri.

“Logs don’t have eyes”, said Felicia.

And they all yelled “Aaaaaahhhhhaaaaaaahhhhhhaaaa!” because Alligators do have eyes.

But before they could get off, the alligator started swimming out into the swamp and they were standing on top of the alligator like it was a boat.

“Oh no” said Sherri.

“We’ve had it” said Shakera.

“We’re dinner” said Felicia.

Just then the teacher saw them and she yelled, “STOP!!!”

But the alligator didn’t stop.

So Ms. Gaugler picked up a kid named Brittany and held her out over the water upside down.

Brittany went, “Ahhh! – Ahhh! – Ahhh!- Ahhh!

“Good”, said the Ms Gaugler, “Keep up that yelling.”

The alligator heard Brittany yelling and decided that she might be dinner, so it started swimming back to the shore.

“Good!” said Shakera, “This alligator is going to eat Brittany and we’re gonna get back alive”.

The alligator came right up to the shore. Ms. Gaugler lifted Brittany up high and the Alligator sat still and waited for Brittany to fall so he could eat her.

“Oh dear” said Sherri. And she walked very carefully up over the alligator’s eyes, over the alligator’s nose and ran onto the shore.

“Oh Dear”, said Shakera; and she walked very carefully up over the alligator’s yes, over the alligator’s nose and ran onto the shore.

“Oh Dear”, said Felicia; and she walked very carefully up over the alligator’s eyes and onto the alligator’s nose; but when she was standing on the alligator’s nose the alligator opened his mouth. Felicia went flying way up high in the air and was going to come right back down into the alligator’s mouth; but Brittany grabbed her by the hair and pulled her up into the air away from the Alligator.

The alligator’s mouth went, “SNAP” and all it got to eat was Felicia’s lunch which had fallen out of her backpack.

“I’m Safe!” yelled Brittany.

“I’m Safe!” yelled Sherri.

“I’m Safe!” yelled Shakera.

“I’m Hungry!” yelled Felicia.

Mrs. Gaugler did not say anything because she had fainted. Happily, she had a really nice class of kids; and they carried her back to the bus and did not leave her for the alligators.

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