Captain Spaulding on Skull Island

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My friend Tina was in New Orleans last week.  While drinking at the Tropical Isle, she was served a whiskey with a tiny alligator in the drink.   At 10:00 that evening she posted a picture of the little critter.  This led to me writing a play about the reptile at 1:00 that morning.

We did a reading of this short piece five days later at Gumbo Fiction Salon.

 

Alligator Whiskey at the Neon Cypress

(Lights up. The Neon Cypress, a roadhouse down by the swamps. There are a couple of signs advertising Abita beer and Old Crow whiskey. Cajun music plays on the jukebox. JUVENAL tends bar and looks like he’s been tending bar here for several decades. ELIZA enters and sits down. She is in her mid-twenties.)

ELIZA
A Sazerac, if you please.

(JUVENAL nods and makes ELIZA the drink.)

ELIZA
This is the last part of my trip. I’ve walked around the French Quarter, I listened to blues music on Bourbon Street, I visited the Cypress Grove and both Gates of Prayer Cemeteries and I had Cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe Du Monde. The last thing on my vacation checklist was have a drink at a bayou roadhouse.

(JUVENAL serves ELIZA her drink It’s in a mason jar and floating on top of the alcohol is a tiny alligator.)

JUVENAL
Three dollars.

ELIZA
What is that?

JUVENAL
Rye whiskey, Peychaud’s Bitters, Angostura Bitters, little bit of Absinthe, little bit of sugar, twist of lemon peel and a couple drops of water.

ELIZA
No, not that…

JUVENAL
A lot of people think a fancy drink ought to come in a fancy glass. It tastes just as sweet in a mason jar.

ELIZA
I don’t mind the glass, the problem is…

JUVENAL
The price is too high? Where are you gonna get a drink like that for less than three dollars? Nowhere, that’s where!

 
ELIZA
There’s a tiny alligator in it.

(JUVENAL looks at the alligator.)

JUVENAL
Alligators. We’ve been having trouble with them things lately.

ELIZA
You’ve been having a problem with alligators?

JUVENAL
We got us an infestation.

ELIZA
Really? Alligators. (ELIZA examines her drink/alligator.) This one’s so small.

JUVENAL
Him just a baby.

ELIZA
Does it… Do they mean something…ominous?

JUVENAL
Ominous? Like what?

ELIZA
I don’t know, alligators in the whiskey – is it an end of the world thing, like frogs falling from the sky or locusts eating farms? Is it a protest by an animal rights group, releasing thousands of tiny alligators into taverns around the world to educate the masses about the reptile’s plight? Maybe it’s some kind of Voodoo Mafia warning – “Tonight you sleep with the gators.”

JUVENAL
All of those explanations make good sense. An alligator can mean a lot of things. Old Mr. Gator can be a symbol of strength or speed or stealth. He can be a representation of instinct or cunning or bravery. He can be a token of honor or of resilience or of magic. An alligator can mean a lot of things.

ELIZA
Then what do you think this tiny alligator means?

JUVENAL
It means The Neon Cypress had a problem with mice.

ELIZA
Mice?

JUVENAL
A little while back, we had mice all over this bar. We brought in alligators. They ate all the mice. Some of them gators were boys and some girls and while they were in here they fell in love and laid some eggs. Now we got lots of tiny baby alligators running around. But at least we got no mice.

ELIZA
So there’s nothing magical about my drink, nothing mystical or apocalyptic?

JUVENAL
No. Just a rodent predicament that turned into an alligator conundrum.

(ELIZA pushes her drink away.)

ELIZA
Could I get another Sazerac, please?

JUVENAL
What’s wrong with that one?

ELIZA
There’s an alligator in it.

JUVENAL
That drink is fine. Just take out the alligator and put him on the floor.

ELIZA
I don’t know…

JUVENAL
It’s okay, that little fella won’t bite.

(ELIZA tries to take the alligator out of her drink. The alligator bites her finger.)

ELIZA
Ow!

JUVENAL
Sometimes I tell lies.

(Lights down.)

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