Monday, July 14, 2014

Dinosaur Ghost Chapter 11: Heartbreak at CPAC (It's Evolution, Baby!)

Dinosaur Ghost is now available for free as a pdf!

The leaders of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) debated whether or not to cancel their annual gathering.  By any standard, they were a prime target for an all-out assault by dinosaur ghosts.  Through a series of emails among the most esteemed and powerful members (the 1% of the 1%), it was finally decided that the show would indeed go on, if for no other reason than to figure out why they were being targeted and to find a way to stop it from happening.
The usual festival-like atmosphere was deliberately subdued this time around.  Dignified blue and gray suits replaced the more ostentatious displays of colorful golf shirts and kaki pants seen in previous years. Whereas some of the more happy-go-lucky participants might have skipped their bi-weekly haircuts, this year cooler heads prevailed.
The Daughters of the American Revolution closed down their information booth and the Daughters of the Tea Party Revolution closed down their disinformation booth.  Everyone agreed that the women-folk were best left at home. 
In addition to scaling back the celebrations, the CPAC organizers took the added precaution of changing their name from CPAC to DPAC, because everyone knew the dinosaur ghosts would never attack the Democratic Political Action Conference.  Unfortunately, the conference members revolted--calling themselves democrats was a betrayal of their principles-- and after the threat of a boycott, the name was re-changed to EPAC, with the E not standing for anything in particular.  After that, the conference was back on track, though twenty five hundred t-shirts had to be destroyed.
Regardless of whether or not the dinosaur ghosts were deceived by the name change, Helen Fonzarelli wasn’t fooled.  She arrived in her very revealing, very sexy white dress, and immediately caused a sensation.  She was a little surprised to discover that she was the only woman there.  There were usually at least six or seven. 
She strolled through the crowd of staring men, trying in vain to blend in. She considered playing one of the many games that remained despite the cut-backs.  There was the ‘Dart Throw’,  in which conservative players took turns throwing darts at a picture of President Obama.  Then there was the ‘Bow-And-Arrow Shoot’, in which conservatives took turns firing arrows twenty yards or so at photo of Obama placed on top of a stuffed turkey.  There was also a pistol range, a rifle range, a machine gun range, and a bazooka range, all featuring various Obama-related targets.  (The exception being the knife throw, in which a photo of Nancy Pelosi was used.)
While Helen considered her options, she caught sight of a familiar face, one who, unfortunately, had spotted her as well.
“Helen, is that you.”
“Oh, hello, Eric,” she answered coolly.  “What are you doing here?”
Eric was silent for a moment and then answered quietly. “I come every year.”
“What?” Helen asked, dumbfounded. “But you’re a scientist.”
“Yeah, well I guess my faith is a little stronger than my ability to reason.”
“But why,” Helen said. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Eric sighed. “I thought it would be better if we had a clean break.  I knew that eventually the dinosaur ghosts would come after me.  I didn’t want to put you through that again.”
“Oh Eric.” She grasped his hands, gazed into his eyes.
Nearby, someone started yelling and generally attracting  attention to himself.  He was a middle-aged white man with thinning hair and bright pink eyes.  His breath reeked of whisky.  “I don’t care what anyone says,” he said as he stumbled down the sidewalk.  “I’m a conservative, damnit, and I’ll shout it from the rooftops!”
“Quiet, you fool,” barked the nearest authority figure, Mitt Romney.
“I’m not going to shut up and you can’t shut me up,” said the drunken conservative.  “You can’t shut me up,” He pointed to Romney.  “And you can’t shut me up.” He pointed to Paul Ryan.  “And not even you can you shut me up.” He pointed to one of the dinosaur ghosts, who promptly ate him.
Pandemonium ensued.  Conservatives started running everywhere.  Mitt Romney danced in place, drifting first in one direction and then another while chanting to himself, “Which way should I go? Which way should I go? Which way should I go?” 
Paul Ryan ran and hid behind Eric.  He grabbed him by the shoulders, shook him and called out, “What would Ayn Rand do in this situation?”
Eric turned and slapped him. “Get control of yourself, man.  Your future is entirely in your hands.”
Paul Ryan straightened up.  He patted his face with a handkerchief.  “You’re right,” he said, obviously coming to his senses.  “You’re a hundred percent right.”
He was then eaten by a tyrannosaurus.
The stampeding crowd separated Helen and Eric.  They reached for each other, barely touching fingertips.
“Go on,” Eric said.  “They won’t come for you.”
“How do you know?” Helen said, refusing to budge despite being repeatedly jostled by fleeing conservatives.  “I hold many nuanced social and foreign policy positions.”
“You do not,” Eric said.  “You’re a silly little liberal and you always will be.”
“I’ve changed,” Helen said.  “I’ve evolved.”
“I don’t believe in evolution,” Eric said.
“Eric, don’t say that!”
But it was too late.
They heard a deep growl and saw a flash of leopard skin.  A club bashed into Eric’s stomach.  He bent over, gasping for breath.  Slowly, he looked up and saw, standing over him, a  seven-foot-tall monster.  Wild-looking, with a protruding forehead and lower jaw, poor posture, hairy elbows, and wearing a coat made of saber-toothed tiger with the head still attached, the Monkey Man Monster (MMM for short) lifted his club for a second blow. 
“Eric!” Helen cried. “Run!”  She tried to move toward him, but there were still too many republicans in the way.
“Stay back,” Eric said.  “Don’t come any closer.”
“I won’t leave you,” Helen shouted.
“You must.”
“I won’t.”
Just like a woman, Eric thought.  They never listen and they never know what’s good for ‘em.  He stood up tall then and faced the MMM (Monkey Man Monster).  Summoning all his strength and courage, he shouted “I don’t... believe... in evolution!”
“Noooo,” Helen cried. 
The next swing of the club lifted Eric off the ground, sent him flying straight into the mouth of the tyrannosaurus, who promptly chomped him into butter.
“Hey,” the Monkey Man Monster (MMM) shouted at the dinosaur. “That belong to me.”
Both the tyrannosaurus rex and the stegosaurus ghost turned toward the new intruder, angling toward their pray.
The Monkey Man Monster (MMM) smashed his club against the ground as a warning to the approaching predators. The ripple effect through the splintering concrete caused the dinosaur ghosts to stumble.
They hissed and roared.  Their message was clear. There were two of them and only one Monkey Man Monster (MMM).
The stegosaurus began swinging its tail like a medieval knight warming up his mace. While the MMM (Monkey Man Monster) studied those spikes, the tyrannosaurus rex ghost rushed forward. It could have gotten ugly then, but the Monkey Man Monster (MMM) had certain evolutionary advantages, including opposable thumbs and a frontal lobe. He caught the swinging tail of the stegosaurus with one hand and the head of the tyrannosaurus with the other, pulling them together, sinking stegosaurus swords into scaly tyrannosaur flesh, and flooding the area with hundreds of gallons of translucent ghost blood.  With one ghost down, the Monkey Man Monster (MMM) leapt onto the back of the stegosaurus and dispatched it with several devastating punches to its peanut-sized brain.
Falling off his kill, the MMM (Monkey Man Monster) crawled to his knees, panted heavily and searched the vicinity for additional predators.
Hearing a low growl behind him, he spun around, and found himself faced, once again, with two healthy dinosaur ghosts.

Dominoes Pizza,” the Monkey Man Monster (MMM) cursed.  He kicked an abandoned briefcase into a tree.
The two dinosaur ghosts let loose with two tremendous roars.  Again, the message was clear. “You can’t kill us. We’re already dead. Oh, and we find your disproportionately tiny feet comical.”
With that, the prehistoric specters disappeared. 
Helen fell to her knees and wept.
Just then, Stumpy Wilkinson appeared, carrying her book bag filled with weapons.  “Sorry, it took me so long.  I couldn’t find the popcorn machine.  What’s been going on?”

He was startled to find the towering figure of the very MMM (Monkey Man Monster) he had predicted a week earlier, and even more startled to find Helen about to hurl a rock at it.  Acting on instinct, Stumpy threw his cardboard container of popcorn into the air, and, using the falling puffed kernels as temporary camouflage, he grabbed the devastated Helen and ushered her through the exit.
Go to chapter 12