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Random Alligators of Kindness
Bar Harbor
The other day, kestrell and I were on the way home on the T. Across from us was a small girl, around 10, accompanied by an older woman, possibly mom or elder sister. The girl was playing with a small stuffed alligator.

I mentioned this to Kes, and speculated (quietly) about the possibility that the young girl was a witch. Since, after all, everyone knows that stuffed alligators are one of the de rigeur props of the proper witch. We then chatted for a while about where this custom might have originated.

[Digression: I have since searched online. Surprisingly, Wikipedia failed me. Google Books did turn up a reference in _The Fatal Gift_, by F. Frankfort Moore, 1898, but it seems to be a well-established trope already by then.]

At any rate, Kes started talking about how, despite her large collection of gothy and/or fearsome stuffed animals, she as yet had no stuffed alligator, and should probably remedy this.

The little girl, meanwhile, was wandering up and down the aisle with her toy. We were no longer speaking particularly quietly, and I guess the girl's mom/sister(?) overheard us. When the little girl next came by, the older woman whispered in her ear for a bit. Then the girl stepped across to us, holding out the alligator to Kestrell.

I said, in some wonderment, "Kes, you are being offered a stuffed alligator!" There followed some confusion and miscommunication, as Kes wanted to pay for it, and the girl wanted to give it away as a gift. Eventually Kes was convinced to accept the alligator.

Kes spent the rest of the ride playing with it, opening and closing its (spring-loaded) jaws. She said she felt a little guilty, but I said, "You're smiling, I'm smiling, and the little girl across the aisle is smiling to see us smile. I think we're good here."

So now my sweetie has a stuffed alligator. Anyone have any ideas what it ought to be named?
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(Deleted comment)
Close. Winslow. I second the motion.

Hm, I only have a handful of memories about Folio's art from a ook I read in the 1980s, and most of those involve naked women, naked cyborg women, naked women who are also Tokyo, and a demonic faun playing a pipe. No alligators. So could someone describe the picture to me?

(Deleted comment)
Okay, the Winslow is pretty cool...

Winslow is a great name. Here is more background on The Winslow, courtesy of Wikipedia:

The Winslow is technically sentient and capable of speech, though rarely says anything more than the informal, colloquial greeting "Hi!", which it often enjoys repeating ad nauseam. Indeed, this diminutive creature would be completely unremarkable save for the fact that it is utterly indestructible and presumably immortal, and figures prominently one way or another into fully three-fourths of the galaxy's known religions.

Despite its religious ubiquity, the true nature and purpose of the Winslow is unknown. Some cultures fear it, some worship it, but nearly everyone wants it for their own purposes and is willing to go to any imaginable lengths to obtain it. There are endless explanations as to why the Winslow is so important, despite the fact that it displays none of the 14 Accepted Signs of Divinity (other than #14, "Be the Winslow"); yet most of these explanations are depressingly circular, e.g. "The Winslow is the exact shape and size of the Perfect Lizard of Love, which, of course, is the Winslow." Despite the fact that it is immortal and indestructible (fairly impressive in and of itself), the Winslow's importance may be due to nothing more than the fact that everyone else seems to think it's Pretty Damn Important (i.e., that it's a MacGuffin).

Consequently, anyone who ever succeeds in their quest to obtain the Winslow faces the combined zeal of tens of thousands of other cultures and species hell-bent on the same goal. Probably the most effective way to obtain the indestructible Winslow for one's own is to vaporize the current host's home planet and collect it from amongst the remaining debris. Because of the obvious need to keep the whereabouts of the Winslow hidden, humanity, generally indifferent to the Winslow and its supposed divinity, accepted its secret custodianship from the Prime Mover, a member of a race of omnipotent superbeings whose primary function appears to be nothing more than keeping all manners of conflicting extraterrestrial cultures, biologies, and religions from annihilating one another. The Prime Movers, however, only exacerbate religious turmoil by continuing to maintain that the Winslow is the single most important being in the history of the universe, yet pointedly refuse to elaborate as to why (though say it's not any of the reasons the various other races have come up with so far). This is the sort of enigmatic, condescending and totally useless statement that makes a large majority of the scientists and philosophers of The Gallimaufry yearn to pound The Prime Movers' ever-so-superior heads in with a large cosmic tire iron.

You have to admire the narrative irony of hiding an object desired by the entire universe in the small unlit attic room of a blind woman.

Here is more background on The Winslow, courtesy of Wikipedia

Or you can go to the source: text, comic.

The Winslow is of course an awesome reference. Just for the sake of plugging the classics, I also nominate Albert.

Mr. Grin, though that is properly a crocodile.

Of course it was a 'gator made you grin...

...because "never smile at a crocodile".


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