Ally & Oz

The Once and Future Alligator

by William L. J. Galaini

Ally had spent the whole afternoon being read to, and she now lay on her tummy in her greenhouse retreat with the thoughts of kings and queens in her head. She closed her eyes, and imagined the entire court dancing in sync, their delicate shoes barely gracing the floor as they flitted about elegantly. White-stockinged legs stretching out from under golden gowns; masquerade masks held firm and high; curls bobbing; mandolins strumming; ladies laugh-

Oz’s pink face slipped through the tall grass. “Pssst!” He whispered rather loudly. “Is you seeping?” Ally lay perfectly still, eyes remaining shut. “I said, is you seeping!?” Oz persisted.

Seeing where this was headed, Ally opened her eyes and spied the little pig, his snout nearly pressed against hers.

“What is you doings?” he inquired.

“I was relaxing, digesting the stories that Ashley read to me today.”

Oz stared at her, awaiting more. After realizing that there were no further details, his eyes rolled to the ceiling in thought. Ally was about to ask what it is that he wanted when he spoke up.

“Say, Ally, I was wonderings . . . has you done any exploring at all today? Any at all? Hmmm?”

“Well, reading could certainly be considered-“

“You has not!? That is terrible. What coulds we do to remedies? I knows! We go exploring! There is a rooms that makes noise downstairs below the castle and I wants to see what is ins there but I is to scared to go by myself so I was wonderings if you would likes to go.”

That last sentence wasn’t a question.

Ally was annoyed. “Oz, I would like to reflect on the wonderful stories that have been read to me today. Is that alright? May I have some time to relax and think? We can go exploring after diner.” Ally tried to be polite. She truly did, but she could tell some of her annoyance came through in her tone and it was clear that Oz had received it.

“Oh. I is sorry Ally. Goes back to relaxing.” He was a little sheepish. “Did nots mean to bothers you. We will go after diners, if you likes. But if you do nots, that is fine too.” He gave her a little peck on the end of her snout and backed away through the grass.

“Oz wait!” Ally cried as she bounded out after him. “I’m sorry. You weren’t interrupting or anything. I’m just grouchy I suppose. I mean, Ashley read to me all of these wonderful tales about kings and queens and princesses and . . . important people. Sometimes I worry that I may never be important and I like to spend time daydreaming about what it would be like.”

“Daydreaming gets you nowhere!” Oz announced playfully, stamping his hoof. “There is no daydreaming wonderful things! We go and does them!” Oz’s enthusiasm made Ally smile. “Lets us explore, Ally. Explorers find wonderful things and they become importants because of them! They discovers amazing things like wax paper and Americas!” his little speech was delivered with loft and oratory prowess unmatched by any other stuffed pig.

So out they bounded, out to the kitchen and down to the cellar. A narrow archway led through to a hallway that became dimmer and dimmer as they proceeded. Ally found it odd that, despite Oz’s claim of fear, he pressed forward with great eagerness and speed.

“Sometimes I hears a thumping and other times I hears a tapping. Also Williams and Ashey come down here from time to time.”

In they walked. The room was well lit and tiled, with moist air and a cottony smell. “It’s a laundry room, Oz.” Ally rolled her eyes.

Oz however gasped, gazing at an open dryer in awe. It was front-loading with the hatch popped open, revealing an empty spin drum inside. He looked to Ally as though to expect her to grasp the magnitude of their find.

“Dryer.” She said flatly.

“Times machine!” Oz declared.

“Oz, this is just a laundry room.”

“A laundry rooms . . . of the future!”

Ally was unimpressed. “We could go to the library and read some new books?”

“Are they of the futures!?”

Ally wasn’t sure how to answer that.

“I thinks not.” Oz said as he approached the dryer. “Ally . . . I offers you the greatest opportunity ever offereds an alligator! Would you like to steps inside and time travels!? You could be the first alligator to see ancient Norway or maybes you-“

“Oz, that isn’t a time machine. Those dials aren’t time dials either, I’m afraid. I’m sorry Oz.”

“I will be carefuls with the dials! After all, we would nots want ninjas to come pouring out, now woulds we? No!” After a moments thought, however, the possibility did appeal to Oz somewhat.

“Oz, maybe we can go swimming? Or play in the courtyard?”

“Ally, would you nots want to go back in time and see giant alligators roam the seas and rivers? Your ancestors? See your great lineages? I coulds send you to a famous royal court in Englands or France and you could talk to the rich peoples and eat cake and laughs at the clever things they say. Come on, Ally. Do you not trusts me? Would you nots like to see what I can shows you? Have faith in me Ally. Pease?”

Ally sighed, defeated.

“Alright. Set the dial to the renaissance, please.” “Woulds you like to meets someone famous and important like Leonardo Da Vinci?”

“That sounds wonderful, Oz.” Ally said, getting into the spirit somewhat.

“Nots a problem. Watch your step.” Oz swung the door open more widely. Ally climbed in and Oz shut the hatch, leaving her in the echoing dark.

Wait. Don’t dryers spin. And get really hot?

“Oz! Oz let me out! Oz?”

All was silent. A few tense moments passed, and the hatch opened slowly. There was no Oz in sight.

“Oz?” Ally called peeking out. It was dark. “Oz are you there?” All the lights were out and Ally felt anxious. “Oz?” she called while slipping down to the tile floor. As she did so she saw several small candles lit and a stack of sloppy drawings displayed. A tiny easel held them up, the drawings displaying a man’s range of motion and various machines of simple design.

“Welcomes!” Oz greeted, disguising his voice to sound as authoritative as possible. He was wrapped in a red wash cloth/cloak with one of William’s white socks rolled up as a hat. “I is Leonardos da Vinci and this is my workshops! Come and sees my inventions and haves simulatings conversations with me!”

It was then that Ally spied with her improved night vision a pile of costumes and props hidden in a laundry basket. Out of the top stuck wooden swords, scarves, hats, coats, and even a dinosaur tail of some kind. Oz had been planning this for some time.

Ally was deeply touched. “It is an honor to meet you Senior Leonardo!” And so they chatted about paintings and submarines and many other inventions. At the end of their conversation, Ally climbed back in and traveled to another time and place where she was greeted my yet another various character of history.

Napoleon.

“Do nots make buttons of tin!”

Moses.

“Though shalt nots eat pork!”

Lenin.

“Welcome to the laundry rooms . . . for the peoples.”

And of course, Ally’s great great great great great great grandfather alligator from the Mesozoic era of prehistory.

“You has a proud heritage of sleepings on logs to lives up to!”

The last time Ally came out of the time machine the lights were on and Oz was fiddling with the dials. “Sorry Ally!” he said. “I cannots seem to makes it work at all. I is sorry.” He was pretending that her travels were instantaneous, and unnoticed. “Maybe you is right. Maybe explorings was a bad ideas. I is sorry.”

Ally said nothing, but gave him a loving, warm hug. Followed by a kiss on the cheek.

“You’re a wonderful pig for trying.”

© William L. J. Galaini