Enter King Beowulf
That’s Beowulf there on the left. He lived in the pond behind our gallery. His expression never changed so it was hard for me to tell exactly what he was thinking. He probably thought I was an Alligator Whisperer.
Sometimes when I went out to see Beowulf, he’d open his mouth really wide. I never knew whether he was thinking about eating me or just saying hello. But in the back of his mind he must have known that if he lunged at me, I’d make shoes out of him.
Every 4th day I’d go out to the pond with a big slab of beef liver in my hand. When he saw me coming, he’d ease off of his sunny rock and swish over to me. When I bent down and offered him food, he’d politely eat from my hand.
The pond was 12’ deep over by the waterfalls, and we also had ducks and several big fish. When the ducklets swam past Beowulf, I’d yell for him to be nice and I never knew him to disobey me. Sometimes when I wasn’t there, we’d miss a duck. Beowulf instantly became an alligator of interest. There were no eyewitnesses so we had to let it pass.
Then one afternoon about 4 o’clock, 6 baby ducks were swimming behind their mom when I heard a dull GULP, and then there were 5 baby ducks swimming behind their mom. The culprit was one of two 6-pound channel catfish, but still there were no eye witnesses.
Beowulf lived like a king. The first freeze in Santa Fe each year was supposed to occur on the 15th of October, so on the 14th Beowulf moved into his custom-built winter home. It was a 10’ x 10’ wooden enclosure with pond water circulating in and out. It had an electric heater and a transparent plastic roof to let the sun in. Beowulf was the envy of the neighborhood, and his hedonistic life promised to go on forever.
But then we sold the gallery. When the new owner was showing her insurance agent around the property Beowulf was seen chasing a small dog across the yard. It was his last day of acquaintance with the gallery, because, like Saddam Hussein, he journeyed way past the point of no return. f