Crocodile Friend by Agnes Marton


3 March, 2015

It took me 243 days to tame Frédi.
He has always been mesmerized by my voice. I tell him tales and lullabies while we swim. He keeps asking for more.
Sometimes he splashes, slaps his tail back and forth, breaks whatever he reaches. I’m teaching him how to shape the trunks. It becomes his way to tell me stories. He uses his teeth too for piercing and holding onto the flesh of trees. Then he carries these torsos, proud.


18 September, 2015

Tuesday: pot-roast pheasant with chorizo, butter beans and parsley, figs with honey-orange mascarpone. Wednesday: whistling with dolphins. Again his message: “you made my day.” Is it the best part, or figuring out the next treat? Something I can’t afford so I wouldn’t choose for myself but if it’s for his sake, I don’t mind breaking piggy-banks. Something unheard of, against your boring ‘How to keep your reptile.’ Even better when the surprise is handmade, I fold booklets and scrawl my spells in. It works, those words keep away enemies and rain. I’m a magician, aren’t I, and my crocodile smiles.


2 February, 2016

 Now I’m called Croco, celeb shows have me. My pals grumble, I keep blubbering about Frédi. How jealous of them. They bore themselves to death, and I’m alive.

That’s what Frédi says too, his life before we met seems to be blurred, sleep-swimming. Tepid mud. He hadn’t even had a name.

He eyes me with honeymoon-pupils, but this swoon doesn’t get tired, we don’t touch. Not for taboos or for the strangeness of his heavy beauty. What we share is sacred, who would jeopardize it? I only pet his snout to get goosebumps.


14 March, 2016

I check the shore to see his latest torsos. They are replaced by figurines of dancing squirrels, pony-tailed girls playing hopscotch. Their surface is smooth and pale as if machine-planed, no traces of bites. He lectures me how to express emotions, and I nod, whatever. I tease him : “The future belongs to those who sculpt their dreams.” He eats it and repeats it.


7 May, 2016

 Three crocodiles passed us. I waved to invite them for dinner. Frédi looked away. I could hardly escape.

I tell him it was fun. It wasn’t.

He smiles when I serve his treats, but he thunders his molars, not a single word.

 

17 June, 2016

I rarely go to the shore. Yesterday I happened to hang around the jetty when I caught sight of his tunnel-sad face. No, not a tunnel bot a bottomless barrel. I felt as if he swallowed me, and I swallowed him with my eyes.

As soon as I got closer, he showed his back, his armour. He was humming “Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.” The sky was the colour of a worn table-cloth. I couldn’t get that damn song out of my head for weeks.

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