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Stumpy found an old blanket in one of the store rooms and wrapped it around Helen.
Helen thanked him, put her arm around him, and used him for support as she hobbled toward the exit. The museum was deserted now, a vast empty warehouse of antiquities. .
“Get me out of the dinosaur room,” she said.
Entering the Hall of Biodiversity, they found that they were not alone after all. A single gentleman stood examining the endangered species wall. As Helen and Stumpy limped closer, the man seemed to grow in both dignity and stature. Helen could not take her eyes off of him. He stood nearly seven feet tall and wore a gray double-breasted overcoat and a black bowler hat. He had a pronounced jaw and forehead and wore a monocle over his left eye that he used to study the exhibits.
“Oh, hello,” he said upon noticing their approach. “How do you do?” He gave a slight bow and extended his hand.
“I’ve been better,” Helen said, ignoring his offer. She continued to stare at the massive gentleman. There was something familiar about him that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. “Have we met?” She asked.
The gentleman sighed. “No,” he said. “Not officially.” He removed his black leather gloves and placed them in his hip pocket.
Helen honed in on his hairy knuckles. Her eyes darted up to his unibrow. “It’s you,” she said. “You’re the Monkey Man Monster.”
“MMM,” whispered Stumpy.
Helen turned away. “You killed Eric.”
“I am terribly sorry about that,” the man said. Really, he was more of a man than a monkey or a monster at this point. “I don’t suppose you’ll ever forgive me. Just know that I hate myself for what I’ve done. I was acting on instinct, but I like to think I’ve evolved since then.”
“It happened yesterday.”
“Yes, well, I no longer feel the need to impose my will on others. I no longer go looking for conservatives to bash the shit out of with my club.” He lifted a silver-handled walking stick to indicate that he no longer carried a club.
“Bully for you,” Helen said. “I suppose next you’ll blame it all on your tragic upbringing.”
“It’s true, mine was a rough childhood. My father was eaten by a saber-tooth tiger. My mother, trampled by a Woolly mammoth. I’ve fended for myself ever since I was very young, and yes, it has been a struggle to survive at times, but I can’t blame my actions entirely on my environment. I made my own choices, and now I’ll have to live with them.”
“How did you survive?” Stumpy asked. “Why are you here?”
“That’s something I’ve been asking myself for a long time,” said the newly civilized man. “I guess it’s something we all ask ourselves from time to time.”
“Yes, but you died hundreds of thousands of years ago.”
“Oh yes, that. Funny thing, really. I never died. The last thing I remember from those days was going for a quick nap on top of a glacier. The next thing I knew it was 1998 and the world had become new and incredibly strange.”
“Where were you during all that time?” Stumpy asked.
“For years I was buried under the hockey rink at the old Boston Garden. I thawed out prior to its demolition, and I’ve been wandering around ever since. It’s taken me a while, but I think I’m finally starting to adapt to my new environment.”
“I’d say you’re up to the Victorian Era,” Helen said.
“Again, I do apologize for killing your boyfriend. It was a savage thing to do. I’ve since forsworn acts of violence and have dedicated my remaining years to atoning for such barbarism. In fact,” he lifted a gold pocket watch out of his vest, “I’ll soon be on my way to volunteer at a local community center.”
Helen studied his face for cracks in his facade.
He smiled back sweetly.
“What did you say your name was?” Helen asked.
“Oh, I’m afraid I didn’t. Terribly sorry. My Christian name is Ug, but these days I go by Thaddeus.” He bowed deeply.
“I think I’ll call you Tad,” Helen said.
“Very good,” said Tad.
“You know,” Helen said, extending her elbow. “I happen to be going near the community center myself.”
“Good show,” Tad said, taking her arm. “Allow me to escort you.” He slipped his timepiece into his pocket, adjusted his monocle, and away they went.
Stumpy trailed behind them. “You know there’s still something I don’t understand. How did the dinosaur ghosts come back from extinction and what happened to them when you shot them with that blizzblaster?”
“Oh Stumpy,” Helen said, tussling his hair. “You’re such an inquisitive boy.”
“I’m thirty two.”
“All in good time,” Helen said. “All in good time.”
As they made their way down the front steps, a swat team rushed passed them, heading in the opposite direction. Helen paused, prompting Tad to ask if there was something he could do to assist her. Helen shook her head. "Tad, this may be a little forward of me, but would you mind telling me if you have any particular political affiliations?"
"I say," Tad said, raising an eyebrows and dropping his monocle. "I suppose it would be alright. I fancy myself a libertarian.”
Helen gasped and touched her heart. Now what was she getting herself into?
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