“There's an alligator in my drain,” Neighbour greet me as we meet on the way home from early-morning walk.
The sun musta get to she already, I think. But is too soon. Musta been the sea breeze then. That is why I don’t walk on the seawall, you don’t know what crazy wind can blow wild thoughts into a’ England-educated head. Me? I gon stick to walkin’ in civilized neighbourhoods like the one where the maid tell me that that hotel-size house under construction belong to a businessman ‘oo ‘ave plenty ‘ooman and plenty chil’ren and he does make houses for all o’ them.
“You’re joking,” I say to Neighbour. A funny li’l feeling creep into me heart. I ignore it. “Where would it come from?”
I peep into the narrow drain that wind it way around houses all over town, kerrying sewerage from homes big and small, shacks and mansions, proof of the equality of man, into canals then into the ocean. In the drain, unions and unions of small guppie fish flick back and forth, cleaning the water instead of City Council. (Don’t know what gon clean up City Council.)
“Nahh man, alligators can’t live in there, it is too small,” I protest.
“Yes! There is one there. Both my gardener and my maid have heard it splashing. My husband too. We all thought it was a big fish. Then my gardener saw it. And the other day, I peeked and saw its eyes and snout.”
Neighbour reach she gate and I turn into mine across the road. “You should make it your pal and call it Al,” I holler.
Neighbour laugh like she couldn’t care two fish-bone, but she don’t fool me, I bet you she’s excited.
Ow man, If I had a’ gator, I would train it to ketch the neem leaf thief, I would name it…Ali Ba...Ali Ga...
"Maybe you can call it Ali Gaga,” I holler.
Neighbour laugh like she don’t care, but I know better, I bet you as soon as she go into she house, she gon draw up blue-print for castle and moat for Ali.
I pelt upstairs. “Mummy, guess what! Neighbour got a ‘gator in she drain!”
“Aww, must be a houri,” my mother say. “If you don’t see it too good, you can mistake a houri for a small alligator.”
Why my mother is so dismissive, eh? Trying to convince me that Ali Gaga is one o’ them fish with snout and sharp teeth, booo.
“Mummy, you’re jealous!”
“Why? Why not? Who wouldn’t want a’ alligator for a pet?”
“If is a baby alligator, that mean the mother is nearby, she got a nest somewhere and she gon be cross. Besides, I grow up with alligator, I see so much o’ them all me childhood.”
See? I tell you…jealous, ain’t nothin’ but the truth, other people got the creatures of she childhood.
Sigh. I hop into me bathroom and glare at the silly, insignificant, non-important, trivial, tiny, miniscule, li’l lizard that does watch decent people as they bathe, it must be very dirty, it been in there for days.