Study Guide

Alligator Bayou Chapter 9

By Donna Jo Napoli

Chapter 9

  • The boys—Calo and Charles and their posses—meet up to head into the swamp, and as they make their way, the two Sicilian boys learn about some of the terrifying creatures that live there, like cottonmouths and snapping turtles.
  • They walk into the swampland, slashing their way through the thick brush. Spotting a raccoon shuffling by, they decide to follow it, and luckily for them, it finds a nest of alligator eggs, eats a few, and moves on.
  • After eating meat biscuits and pizza, the boys sneak up and steal some eggs to eat. Then, carefully getting into the skiff, they take off, pushing with a pole.
  • It's hard to see in the darkness. Calo can make out a few things but nothing to mark their way back. Needless to say, he is totally terrified—cottonmouths, snapping turtles, and alligators, oh my!
  • A lantern is lit, and suddenly Calo can't see anything outside the bubble of light. Oddly, this helps him feel less anxious.
  • Soon the boys see a yellow eyeball. Charles claims the alligator, even though Ben wants it.
  • Somehow it's settled, and Charles punches the alligator's head while it watches the lantern, mesmerized. Then Charles takes a short spear and jumps into the water, where he puts the spear in the animal's mouth. The alligator begins to thrash, but Charles hangs on while it goes under and spins and struggles.
  • Cirone and Calo cross themselves, thinking that Charles is certainly dead. But nope—Charles is fine and ready to be pulled into the boat—along with the alligator he's just killed. Calo is shocked that it is dead. How did that happen?
  • When boys move to help Charles in, the skiff flips over and everyone tumbles into the water. Calo feels something alive swim by his feet, and then someone starts screaming.
  • One by one, they get lifted into the boat, where it's discovered that Cirone has a loggerhead turtle clamped onto his foot. Rock gets his knife and kills it, reporting that Cirone's foot is crushed but not bleeding. Phew?
  • The dead alligator floats away, so the boys pole closer and snag it, but they can't find the lantern. Ben won't leave without getting it back; fortunately, they find it with the pole before too long.
  • On the way back, Calo learns that alligators are worth a lot of money—not just for their meat (which they eat), but for their hide and fat, too. Calo and Cirone don't get a cut of money, but they do get an alligator dinner that Patricia will cook.

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