One dark, dreary night my Father let me borrow his brand new, big, long, shiny, five battery, waterproof flashlight.
It was like magic. Just minutes... no...it was just seconds later and I was standing out back, in the darkest place I could find.
I looked around. It was as dark out here as the densest, deepest, most dangerous jungle in the world.
Suddenly the darkness was alive with all kinds of hooting and hollering-----wild animals!!
It WAS a jungle and I was in the center of it!!
"Me Tarzan!" I yelled.
No one answered.
If I listened real hard I could hear snails slithering and sliding, and worms digging deeper holes to keep from being squashed.
Farther off, away from me; I could hear all kinds of strange creatures slipping through the bushes. I also heard the snap of a twig!
What was that?
I wasn't scared, not yet anyway. I had my Father's big, long, shiny, five battery, waterproof flashlight in my hands.
Farther off, away from me, I could hear MORE snapping of twigs. Something was moving through the bushes!
Was some kid-eating type monster trying to sneak up on me?.
I wasn't scared, not yet anyway. I had my Father's big, long, shiny, five battery, waterproof flashlight in my hands.
There I was, standing in one spot, opening and closing my eyes, trying to see which way it was darkest, when suddenly something brushed against the side of my face.
"Yoweeee!!" This time I was scared.
It was time to turn on the flashlight.
I clicked it on. The beam cut a yellow tunnel through the blackness.
A big hairy moth darted into the light. That must have been the thing that had brushed against my face.
I quickly swung the beam of light upward. As far up as I could see, the air was suddenly full of wing-flapping, buzzing bugs, zig-sagging back and forth, in that tunnel of light.
I was busy counting bugs, when I heard loud crashing in the underbrush behind me.
I turned around real fast and stuck my Father's big, long, shiny, five-battery, waterproof flashlight under my chin, making the light shine up on my face, so that whatever was out there could see that I wasn't scared.
With the light under my chin I just happened to glance toward the ground.
"Yoweeee!!" What I saw was a strange, glowing monster staring up at me. And whenever I moved; IT moved!
I was really, REALLY scared.
I tried to yell for help but it came out a croaked whisper.
Then I heard a "splash, ker-plunk!"
Was that WATER??.
Suddenly the glow-in-the-dark monster's face that was staring up at me got all wrinkled and blurred! Immediately I knew. I was standing at the edge of a pond, staring into my own reflection.
Boy-o-boy what a dummy. I wasn't going to tell anybody about this.
But then... what was it that made the big "splash, ker-plunk" sound?
There was only ONE thing that could make that much noise in
this part of the jungle-------ALLIGATORS!!!
I grabbed my Daddy's big, long, shiny, five battery, waterproof flashlight in both hands and moved the beam of light across the blue-green swamp water.
What I saw made me shiver and my knees start to shake.
A pair of hungry-looking, red, beady eyes were just barely peeking out of the water.
And there was only one thing those hungry, red, beady eyes could be looking at-------ME!!!
I knew what those red, beady eyes wanted ----they wanted ME, for a midnight snack.
I started to walk backwards....I wasn't about to take my attention off those red, beady eyes until I was far enough away to get a good running start.
But after taking three steps backwards , I decided I wasn't going fast enough, so I turned to make a run for it.
Suddenly I felt a huge, scaly arm press against my throat. I frantically reached up to push the scaly arm away when the flashlight slipped from my hand, bouncing on the ground and rolling into the alligator pond!.
There was only one thing I could do. I swung my arm upward in a super, lighting-fast karate chop. HIEEEEE-YAH!
My hand bounced off the scaly arm. My hand hurt too. Whatever this thing was, it had an arm that felt as hard as wood.
I reached up to try to get a wrestling hold on it before the thing grabbed me again.
"YUCK!!" It was all slippery and slimy, like a bunch of wet leaves.
I grabbed at it again.
It WAS a bunch of wet leaves, and the arm WAS wood.
That scaly arm was a tree, and I had run headlong into a low hanging branch.
Boy-o-boy, what a dummy. I sure wasn't going to tell anybody about this.
I turned slowly and looked back at the pond. Now it was glowing a ghostly blue green. The flashlight was still on, shining eerily at the very deepest part of the murky, alligator-infested pond.
Oh boy. I was going to be in big trouble.
I HAD to get my Dad's big, long, shiny, five battery, waterproof flashlight back. But HOW?
The thing is, I knew those red, beady eyes were still watching me. __
If I slipped into the water to go after the flashlight, I would probably have to wrestle an alligator.
A big alligator with red beady-eyes. __
My father (who is quite smart ) taught me everything I know about camping and jungle trips; but he forgot to teach me how to wrestle beady eyed alligators in the dark.
I had to think. Maybe, just maybe, if I was fast, maybe I could wade in, dive down, grab the flashlight and get out before old red eyes could snark me up for dinner.
It was worth a try.
I just had to get my Fathers big, long, shiny, five battery, waterproof flashlight out of there.
I dropped to my knees and began to crawl along the water's edge, working my way towards the closest spot to the blue-green glow in the pond.
I was nearly there, just inches away, all ready to enter the water, when suddenly something wrapped itself around my legs. "YOWEE!!"
Wait a minute. Don't panic. Maybe it's my imagination again----Maybe it's just a bush or vine. Yeah, that's probably it. Nothing to worry about.
I reached down and grabbed at whatever it was that was wrapped around my legs.
When I felt what I felt; shivvers ran up my spine. I yelled as loud as I could;
"DADDY!! DADDY!! HELP!! HELP!! "
That thing wrapped around my legs had
to be the world's longest snake. Probably a giant boa constrictor!
I tried to pull away but I couldn't. The snake's grip was too strong.
Then I got mad!! No snake was going to squash ME! I fought with all my might. I twisted and I turned; and I kicked and I squirmed. That snake and I thrashed and rolled, we tumbled over and around logs, we crashed through bushes and we bumped into trees.
There we were, wrestling at the very edge of the water, when the snake paused for a moment to catch its breath. (I was glad, because I needed a rest myself!).
But tired as I was, I knew I was winning. My Father would be proud of me.
Anyway, I lay there, panting and gasping, when suddenly the snake gave a mighty twist, flinging the both of us down the bank towards the murky green swamp water of the alligator pond.
I figured this was the end of me for sure. I had been pretty sure that I could whip the snake, but there was no way I could handle both the snake and that alligator with the red beady eyes at the same time!! __
Just as the snake and I hit the water I yelled, really, really loudly.
DADDY! DADDY! Alligators! Snakes! HELP! HELP!
Just then-------a blinding flash of light filled the jungle.
"Tracy Shawn!" someone yelled. "Is that you making all that racket?"
It was my Mother.
Mothers don't know how to wrestle giant boa constrictors and alligators!
"Tracy Shawn!, you get yourself out of that fish pond this instant!
And what on EARTH are you doing all tangled
up in that garden hose?
Child, you march yourself in here and get those wet clothes off right this minute! It is WAY past your bedtime, and------ land's sake boy.... what in the world???....__ ... well, for Pete's Sake, son, you've scared those poor frogs half to death.!"
Sure enough, about ten frogs with red beady eyes were jumping in all directions across the lawn.
Shoot. I thought those beady red eyes __belonged to an alligator.
I sure thought that garden hose was a snake, too.
It certainly FELT like a snake.
Boy-o-boy, I'm not going to tell anybody about this.
"As for your Father", my Mother called out the door, "He WAS sound asleep, but with all your shouting and hollering he's wide awake now!. And if you've lost his brand new flashlight, you're going to have a LOT of explaining to do, young man!"
I heard the door slam.
As I was sitting in the knee-deep water of the goldfish pond, untangling myself from the garden hose, I got to thinking, who WAS that person REALLY?
Sure, it SOUNDED like my Mother.
But maybe that wasn't my Mother at all.
Maybe it was someone ELSE, who just PRETENDED to be like her.
It could have been somebody like.. maybe.. a-----a wicked witch!.
If that wasn't my Mother, but a wicked witch, I was in big trouble.
On the other hand, if it WAS my Mother, and I DIDN'T go in, I was gonna be in even BIGGER trouble.
So I went in.
Interim Illustrations Courtesy of Bedtime-Story.
About the Author: - John C. Newby 68, came up with the storyline for Alligator Eyes 25 years ago. Retired now, a widower who was married to his beautiful wife for some 42 years, John is by profession a mechanical engineer whose talents lent themselves to numerous projects, including trucks, spacecraft, the FMC Bradley, and the IBM bank teller. Today, when asked to describe himself, he will tell you that he is "basically a unicyle-riding inventer". That's because at the age of 52 he spied a unicycle at a flea market, bought it, and taught himself to ride, (yep, he's still at it). With patents for two inventions processed and another two pending, our unicycle-riding inventor is still hard at it. Expect to see more of John's literary talents displayed at Bedtime-Story in the very near future!.
Johns' personal background is interesting in its own right, and we thought you might enjoy reading a bit more about him.
John Newby was born in Wisconsin and for several years he and his family lived on the edge of the Wisconsin River. "We were River rats", he says of his parents and their family of five children. "We could have looked Tom Sawyer in the eye without flinching". The family lived for several years in a home constructed of a boxcar and a train passenger car, positioned in a T-shaped living arrangement. The family eventually migrated to the State of Washington.
It was back in '42, and the war was on, but the call of the North still beckoned, so the family booked passage, bid Washington adieu, and headed towards the wilds of Alaska. John recalls standing on the bow of the ship, keeping a sharp eye peeled for for enemy submarines as they steamed northward. He tells us in retrospect that perhaps he should have been watching for icebergs instead. In Alaska, John's family lived on a farm which, for the first year anyway, had neither electricity nor running water. They lived off the land, and the family's children were raised on a diet of rabbit meat and Moose meat. "My wife said that explained a lot", he laughs.
Along with one of his older brothers, he served in the U.S. Navy (aboard the U.S.Saint Paul) during the Korean War. John, whose rate was that of a gun firecontrol man, was aboard when one of the eight-inch gun turrets exploded, with the tragic loss of thirty of his shipmates. After leaving the Navy, John entered Ohio State University. He later married (they have one son) and moved to Fremont, Ca. It was in California that John learned to fly a sailplane (glider), and he reports that he has soloed some sixty times. "I was always scared until I left the ground", John says, with a characteristic twinkle in his eyes, [but then] "I met an airline pilot , who said HE felt the same way when flying an airliner".
You are invited to contact John Newby at email@example.com
and Illustrations found on this site are exclusive to Bedtime-Story
Reproduction of any content without the express
written permission of Bedtime-Story is prohibited.