As a rule, I would rather be tied to an ant mound and covered with honey than go Christmas shopping. My shopping trips are normally very focused and carried out with military precision. I locate the item(s) on my list, sprint for the register, and throw money at the confused cashier on my way out the door.
Unfortunately, I am not built for speed. My osteoporosis and I would never survive a Black Friday stampede in an electronics store. You definitely don’t want to lose your footing anywhere near Gloria Lister. I hear that she wears cleats.
I decided instead of shopping, to do some research for a book. I firmly believe in personal experience to help add life to a story. This is a recent development in my life, born out of personal challenges and lack of good programming on TV. This hands-on approach would require field trips to exotic places.
On a suggestion from a friend I typed Pee Dee basin into my search engine and made a remarkable discovery: the Lizard Man of South Carolina. Since the name “Godzilla” is already taken, let’s just call him Hal.
The first recorded sighting of Hal was from a 17 year old boy’s police report. Mr. Davis was able to get into his car before the 7 foot critter ran him down, so Hal took out his frustration on the car’s side view mirror.
Godzilla picks on unsuspecting elevated trains, while Hal picks on innocent minivans. I think we can all see the connection: Monsters hate commuters. Evolution has equipped Hal with 3 inch talons in order to better rip up your leather interior. Aside from the lack of belching flames and a fatal attraction to high tension lines, the similarities are uncanny.
On Christmas Eve Day, without regard for my personal safety, I headed for Mayesville, South Carolina. It was here that I realized that there were no neon signs indicating the names of local swamps. I chose the most likely location of Scape Ore Swamp based on the lack of “No Trespassing” signs in the area. After driving for several hours, I was not going home without slogging through a swamp. I parked my truck down a dirt road as bait for Hal. Under the canopy of trees, only the wheezing of my overexcited dog broke the silence.
In that moment I could clearly see one overriding truth. I would rather be standing in alligator infested swamps than waiting in line at the mall. Even though Hal was a no-show, the prospect of meeting up with his 3 inch talons was less scary than Gloria Lister’s cleats.