Don't feed the alligators

I run up on my sixth cousin Balthazar Rooter one night when I taken'd a wrong turn trottin' down th' east bank a' Dugdemony, way off down clost t'where it runs in t' Little River. Ol' Balthazar was steppin' on out, headin' north from his reg'lar run down aroun' New Roads, out in th' swamps back of Old River. I could tell he was near 'bout plum' winded, and perty bad in need of a rest, but he was nervous an' didn' want t' stop gittin' fu'ther.

"What 'n th' world's th' matter?" I asked ol' Balt, after we'd reck'a'nized one 'nother an' settled down t' ease up some. "You act like they's a Shurf's posse in b'hind you. Can't y' ca'm down?" Balt was still wheezin' some, but he commenced t' git easy.

He rooted up a li'l ol' pine sprout an' bit off th' root, his eyes glazin' over as he savored th' taste a' th' rozin. What scared him outta th' swamp, he said, was they was rumors kept comin' up th' river from Baton Roudge, somethin' about feedin' alligators. Balt didn' know th' Legislature was in session. Shoot, he didn't even know they was a Legislature, bein's he spent all his time knockin' off corn fields an' sugar cane patches back down t'wards Morganza, and didn't take no interest in politics 'a no kind.

Well, what's feedin' alligators got t' do with you? I asked Balt. It ain't nothin' fer you to git yerself in a sweat over, is it? That's easy fer you t' say, sez ol' Balt. I hap'n t' live in alligator territory, an' I know them things eats hawgs if they find one lookin' th' other way. If that Legislature is gonna pass a law t' feed alligators, I know us hawgs don' want t' be nowhere around, if you git what I mean.

Balt, I said, you are one dumb hawg. You got t' learn not t' lissen t' rumors comin' up th' bayou. I happ'n t' be th' elected Pork Commissioner a' Lou-z-ana, an' I have got th' straight dope on that alligator feedin' bill. I can tell you, you got it jist exactly wrong. Ol' Senator Max Malone is Pro-Hawg, an' Anti-Alligator all th' way. His bill wants t' make it a crime t' feed wild alligators. So, you know hawgs ain't in no danger from that law.

Of course, you still got t' watch out fer alligators in th' swamp. They ain't no law says they can't grab a hawg off a stump on their own if you dumb a'nuff t' let 'em.

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