Crocodile Tears by Felicity Edwards

The letter plopped onto the doormat. 

Alf read it and called, “Bo, it’s a reply from the Home Office. They’ve assigned us a bush posting in East Africa!” 

She gazed out on their drab wintery garden and was excited. A colony implied blue skies, sunshine and big houses. The reality was very different. The house was big but lacked running water and a flushing loo. 

Alf, however, was delighted. Soon their garden boasted a collection of cages built to house injured animals. 

One day a couple of men turned up at the house with a creature wrapped in damp sacking. It was a baby crocodile. It was best not to ask how it came by its injuries. This little one had a nasty gash on its leg. 

Alf soon constructed an enclosure with a sunken water tank for Charley crocodile. He happily settled into his new surroundings. The wound healed well and Alf planned to release it back into the river soon. 

Every three months, they had to travel down the mountain to replenish their supplies and report to head office. 

On their return, a scene of devastation greeted them. The house had been burgled. However, Alf was broken-hearted. They had smashed the cages releasing all his injured animals. Worst of all was the reptile tank. Alf picked up the broken body of the little crocodile. “They killed it.” He shook his head. “ I don’t understand why.” 

Bo was not sorry though she was afraid of its snapping jaws and sharp teeth even though it was only a foot long. She had seen the adults with their cruel, greedy yellow eyes peeping out of the water as they waited for some innocent animal to come to the river to drink.

Published in Issue #8

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