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By Mike Johnson

I was early on the job in Florida, visiting my group of 7-Eleven Stores.
There’s no traffic at 4am.
Not much visibility either.

One was a blessing, one a curse.

I wasn’t speeding.
But my Firebird was traveling faster than the range of its headlights.
I was more focused on thoughts than the road.

When the body appeared, sprawled across my lane, there was no time to swerve.


The car jolted as all four tires slammed over the foot-tall obstruction.
The collision lurched the gear shift lever hard into first.
I steered onto the shoulder.

Holy shit! Was that a person?

Another driver had pulled over ahead of me.
He’d hit the body first.
He leaped into the roadway to stop an oncoming car from becoming the third collision.

No way was that victim alive.

The stopped car’s headlights lit up the body.

He was dead alright.

A 9-foot-long, dead alligator.

Well, damn! That’s a first.

The Firebird was undriveable. The transmission was buggered.

I called Margie for a ride.
Her dad was an auto mechanic.
After the tow, the transmission only needed an adjustment.

Margie's dad told us he’d been quite popular, under the lift, as his coworkers joked while he removed gator meat from the under-carriage.

This collision was going to become an epic story at the shop forever.

We thanked him for the small bill and stepped into the car.

“Later gator.”

And so it began.

“After awhile, crocodile.”


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