The Beast in the Sewer: A Flash Fiction Tale
“You want me to what?" Officer Rick O'Reilly said with disdain.
"My pet Reggie is down there," the boy said, holding back the tears while pointing at the open manhole. “Can you please get him out? The other people couldn’t."
O'Reilly glared at the boy's mother. She hadn’t said a word to him since he arrived. She simply stood near her boy watching it all with imploring eyes.
"Ma'am," O'Reilly asked gruffly, "Did you make any attempt fetch Reggie?"
"I tried, but I couldn’t reach him," she answered. “He kept swimming away. And I couldn’t go further into that sewer.”
"Really?" he said coolly.
He wasn’t surprised by the mother’s comments. In all his years of being an officer, he knew citizens would never put themselves on the line if it meant doing something unpleasant like going into the sewer to save a pet pooch. They’d rather have someone else do it.
Something stirred in the water. He turned, hoping to see a puppy wading toward him. Instead, something huge and scaly surfaced. Worst yet, it opened its massive jaws
He turned to the opening and cringed. The smell and the filth were apparent from where he stood.
"Can you get him?" the boy pleaded, again.
"All in a day's work, son." O'Reilly sighed.
Reluctantly, he entered filthy, slimy world under the street, trying not to gag.
He splashed down in the knee-deep waste water and cursed under his breath. The thought of that water ruining his uniform angered him.
That dog better be worth it, he thought. At this point, he felt, that oath he took to serve and protect the city’s citizen was starting to sound foolish.
"Here Reggie!" he called out.
Something stirred in the water. He turned, hoping to see a puppy wading toward him. Instead, something huge and scaly surfaced. Worst yet, it opened its massive jaws.
O'Reilly tried to reach for his gun, but it too late. The creature’s jaw clamped down on him and tore him to shreds.
From above, the mother and son watched, disappointed.
The boy turned to his mother: "Reggie hates mean people."
“Good help is hard to find, these days,” his mother sighed as she pulled out her cell-phone.
"Let’s give this one more try,” she said. “There has to be somebody nice enough to quell Reggie.”
The Inspirations: Imaginary and Real
Reading this story, one may conjure up the popular urban legend story of alligators in the NYC's sewer system. True, this was part of the inspiration of the story. It's a well-told story and some people believe it, despite the fact that it's most likely impossible for such an animal to survive in such a hostile and deplorable environment.
The name Reggie is no accident, either. This part of the story borrows from a local legend (considering that it happened in my hometown). And, in this case, a real-life legend. Reggie is the name given to an alligator that lurked the minuscule Machado Lake (better known as Harbor lake by the locals) in Harbor City -- a district of Los Angeles, California. The lake, itself, is within the Ken Malloy Regional Park.
Reggie was originally an illegally owned pet that got too big for his owner. The owner, a former police officer by some accounts, decided that Harbor Lake would be an ideal place to release him.
To make a long story short, Reggie remained in the lake for two years, scouring the shores and feasting any small animal it can get (this included chicken placed there to by maintenance in order to capture the gator).
The sitings became sensationalized in the local media. Soon, shirts, songs, and a children's book were dedicated to him. Reggie proved to be so popular that his story was circulated by world media, too. Even Mr. "Crocodile Hunter," himself, the late Steve Irwin paid a visit to the lake and promised to capture Reggie. Unfortunately, Irwin never got that chance. He died before on another expedition halfway around the world from Harbor Lake.
It didn't take an expert game hunter to capture him, however. An employee of the LA Parks and Recreation managed that feat (as the video indicates).
Since the capture, Reggie has found a new home at the Los Angeles Zoo. Still, he found a second home in the hearts and minds of the residents of Harbor City and beyond.
From LA Observed
© 2015 Dean Traylor