“The thing about alligators…” *hic*
Strike buckled under the force of his own hiccup, braced himself against the counter, and belched loudly.
“What?” Rahven bellowed, though his attention was focused clearly on the game.
“He’s doing the alligator rant.” Serana offered, following this helpful bit with a healthy helping of dark lager.
“Mmm. Alligator rant.” X raised his glass to no one, then partook.
Strike turned suddenly, surveying the dive. His eyes darted everywhere. He saw nothing.
“Alligators!” They all cheered. They had learned over the years to play along.
“Lets say you come across one, an’ he tries to bite you.” Strike clattered his teeth with all the grace of a freshly woken possum. His teeth clicked wetly.
“Like that… Then you forgive the bugger. Cuz like… He’s… You know…”
“A wild animal.” X offered.
“An arrogant prick?” Raiden chimed in.
“A selfish fuck-up.” Serana offered.
“Hes… lowly.” Strike finished.
A table away, the new recruits huddled over their pints. The Spartans were down several hundred points.
“What’s the captain on about?” asked Larenna, hushed under the din. “Something about alligators?”
Ven, her training officer, nodded silently, finger to his lips. ‘Listen,’ he mouthed.
“So like you forgive the allighatre.” Strike struggled to form words. He blinked, stretched his mouth a bit, and continued. “Hell, you befriend the alligator. You travel with him, wrestle with him, give him words of encouragement… and one day, he bites your arm off. Whose fault is that then?”
No one in the dive spoke, they knew better. On the TV, a splendid-sounding amphibian promised great savings on car insurance.
“It’s me own goddamn fault.” Strike drained his Manhattan. He raised his hand, signalling for another. The barkeep pretended not to notice.
“You can forgive an alligator for being an alligator. Doesn’t mean you should befriend him.”
“Here here!” Rahven cheered, and everyone raised their drinks.
“And eat shit, Corben, you smarmy bastard!” Serana shouted, and everyone drank again. Except Strike, who had already had quite enough.
Message from the author: SLAPP suits are no laughing matter. They are a strategy used by emotionally stunted fuckwads to try and silence the truth.
Of course, if you’d like to laugh anyway, I can offer no better primer on the subject than John Oliver’s coverage.
Also: Eat shit, Ian.