An old tarp flapped in the breeze on the roof of the hardware store. Whatever was stowed away underneath it, it was of considerable size. Rain pelted it and ran off onto the gravel that covered the top of the building.
“Will you get that camera out of my face?” Sharon asked.
Walter kept rolling.
“We have to document this!” Natalie snapped. “This is the biggest story since…since…I don’t think there’s ever been anything this big!”
Burt and Rusty set the canoe down.
“The hell do you think he wanted this for?” Burt asked.
“Beats me,” Rusty replied.
The door leading to the roof swung open and Cole rushed through it, chainsaw in one hand, Angry Barracuda in the other. “He’s coming! He’s coming!”
Skippy’s terrifying “ROAR!” bellowed up through the stairwell and up into the open air.
“Get back!” Cole cried as he pushed everyone aside. He jumped into the canoe and looked up at Rusty. “Throw me off!”
Rusty was puzzled. “What?”
“RAARGA!” Skippy bashed through the door and bared his teeth.
“He just wants me!” Cole shouted. “Throw me off!”
Burt grabbed one end of the canoe while Rusty grabbed the other. They carried the canoe and passenger over to the side of the roof and then started to swing the load back and forth as they counted. “1…2…”
Sharon cocked her shotgun and fired at Skippy. The gator charged right through the blast, hellbent on grinding Cole between his jaws.
“Cole,” Sharon said. “I hope you know what you’re doing!”
“I don’t but I’ve got to do something!” Cole replied.
“I love you!” Sharon shouted.
“I love you too!” Cole replied.
“Gag!” Rusty said.
“Pussy!” Maude added.
“Throw me already!” Cole demanded.
Rusty and Burt cried out in unison, “3!” They let go of the canoe on the final outward swing and watched as Cole and the canoe separated on the way down. Skippy bypassed everyone on the roof and jumped after Cole. The gang crowded around the roof as Cole, the canoe, and the gator each landed in the water with a splash.
The rain and wind made it difficult to see much of anything below.
“Did he make it?” Sharon asked frantically. “Rusty! Did he make it!”
“I don’t know,” Rusty said.
“Oh God,” Sharon said. “He can’t be dead. He just can’t be.”
Rusty looked away. “This is hopeless. Maybe we should just give up.”
The tarp was pushed to the sign and a shadowy silhouette emerged out from under it, carrying a very large object in his hands. The gang did not notice this newcomer until he was standing right next to them.
He began to speak. “At times like these, I’m reminded of the words that the great Winston Churchill once uttered in an effort to give his people hope at a time when the Nazi scourge made the cause of freedom in Europe seem hopeless.”
Rusty stared at the man in shock. “What the?”
“Those words, applied to our present day situation would be, ‘Even though large tracts of our town have fallen under the grip of the toilet gator and all the odious apparatus of toilet gator rule, we shall not flag or fail.”
Burt looked at the man. “I’ll be damned.”
The mystery man continued. “We shall go on to the end, we shall fight the toilet gator in Sitwell. We shall fight the toilet gator on the seas and oceans. We shall fight the toilet gator with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our town against the toilet gator, whatever the cost may be.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Maude said.
“We shall fight the toilet gator on the beaches. We shall fight the toilet gator on the landing grounds. We shall fight the toilet gator in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight the toilet gator in the hills. We shall never surrender against the toilet gator.”
The man looked over the side of the roof and pointed out Cole, who was, at that very moment, pulling himself out of the water and into the canoe. Despite the rain and wind battering their faces, the gang cheered and applauded.
“And even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this town or a large part of it were subjugated and starving under toilet gator rule, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by our noble fleet, would carry on the struggle against the toilet gator, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old against toilet gator oppression.”
Sharon put a hand on the man’s shoulder. “Felix. That was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.”
“Errm,” Felix said.