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GatorGate, Lake Machado, Harbor City, Los Angeles

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by LamontPaul, for outsideleft.com
originally published: August, 2005
At most I can lose a couple of fingers...

There's something in the name alone that instantly conjures concerns of murk, dark waters and monsters. Oh I guess I should say, aside from my linguistic limitations, what does Machado mean anyway? I am a hardcore non swimmer, uncomfortable even on bridges, I've never been drawn to the water.

In many ways then, the Monster of Machado Lake is the perfect story for me as I can watch it unfold from the relative safety of my living room. The large reptile recently discovered in the lake of an urban park in Harbor City, has so far confounded park rangers and perplexed professional gator wranglers in their attempts to apprehend it. Meanwhile the beast is proving to be irresistible entertainment for the public and a welcome boost to Harbor City tourism.

Early speculation saw the monster as a 5 foot (Giant - the Boston Globe) caiman, not in the least a native of Los Angeles. It has since grown, in seven days, into a 8-10 foot alligator. All well and good for the hastily screened t-shirts peddlers - caiman's are so last week. You don't want to get caught on the banks of the Machado in an old caiman t-shirt when you can have a brand new alligator one.

I began to wonder whether the elusive beast might not be an animatronic Stan Winston item. This being Hollywood's backyard an all.

Meanwhile, in my desire to understand what lurks in the depths of the depths of Machado Lake, I morphed into one fully formed couch potato and ordered up some on-demand movies. A herpetology Timothy Treadwell to be. Soon, I'd know enough to understand why I was being eaten. Beginning with the excellent Lake Placid, then rapidly fast forwarding through Ananconda then Anaconda 2 then Snake Island, then Deep Blue Sea then Jaws. Then I was tired of the whole underwater adventure so I got back to KTLA5, or whatever local channnel, I can't endorse or distinguish any of them. Except Jim Hill on Sports on C2 or C4, wherever, since he probably has monogrammed shirts and he actually transcends Los Angeles Sports - he'd probably have sent a bass fisherman. I once saw him at the Beverley Hilton and the reason I can't recall exactly how many blondes he had with him owes a lot to Kettle One.

Anyway. It's reported that Jay Allen, the professional aliigator handler called in from Colorado nets $800 a day, which is all he has netted so far. Surely though, that fee isn't nearly enough. You might get to work outdoors, but you're putting yourself neck deep in a gator infested pool, while I watch on TV. And while my 5 to his 8 a day is never going to make rich or get me an invitation to wrangle gators at the Colorado State Fair, I so don't have to get out of my chair to make the money, I have injured my back by sitting down.

"At most I can lose a couple of fingers..." I think he reportedly said. Elswhere someone said the Gator had chewed through a net. And the sport fishing audience was pushed back 80ft.

No one boasts about failure anymore.

And what's up with a Colorado Gator wrangler anyhow? Aren't the real pro's from Florida where they're like Edward Gatorhands, one croc on the end of each wrist.

Alright I am ending here this has gone on long enough for everyone except the kids in Harbor city. 75 million Americans without, adequate affordable healthcare and the LA Times has a staff journalist out by the water.

As I write, the Alligator, now represented by CAA in the US and Gordon Poole in the UK confirmed through its agent that it has signed for a Movie of the Week on Lifetime, although it is contractually obligated to bask in the sun and scare children at least once per day (as per entertainment industry mores - complete terms of the deal are murkier than the Machado water).

Meanwhile I have to get down to some serious ant hunting in the kitchen.

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LamontPaul

publisher, lamontpaul is currently producing a collection of outsideleft's anti-travel stories for the SideCartel, with a downloadable mumbled word version accompanied by understated musical fabulists, the frozen plastic

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