Monday, July 7, 2014

Dinosaur Ghost Chapter 6: Dangerous Emissions

Dinosaur Ghost is now available for free as a pdf!

Rock Benson swirled his martini and smiled.  He enjoyed the luxurious splendor of his twenty eight-foot stretch Hummer.  The hot tub was his favorite part.  Setting his glass on the side, he eased himself into the bubbling cauldron.
Rock’s career had been soaring ever since Obama took office. Hundreds of thousands of disaffected white people seemed to have sprung out of the proverbial woodwork, and they tuned in each night to watch his stiff-lipped, hard-fisted, knee-jerk reaction to the events of the day.  His talk show, Rock Bottom, was now one of the highest rated “news” shows on cable.  (The network’s legal department insisted on using quotation marks whenever describing their programming as news.)
But it was this part of the day, after taping, that Rock loved best.  Now he could close his eyes and replay that evening’s show against the backdrop of his eyelids, and in transcript form.

Cue Music that relies heavily on timpani and bass drums.
Rock: Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m Rock Benson, and you’ve hit Rock Bottom. Tonight we have two special guests, each representing an opposing view on a controversial topic. Is Global Warming real or is it liberal bunk? We’ll present both opinions and then let you decide. First up is Professor Jeffrey Nerdlemeyer, head of climate science at Harvard University. He thinks global warming is real. Thanks for being here, Mr. Nerdlemeyer. Tell us your opinion.
Professor Nerdlemeyer: My name is Silvermeyer, Dr. Silvermeyer, and it’s not just my opinion.  Global climate change is very real, and overwhelming evidence suggests that human activity has exacerbated the problem.
Rock: Then why am I cold right now?
Professor Nerdlemeyer: You’re sitting underneath a vent. As I was saying, greenhouse gasses, like those released from burning fossil fuels, trap sunlight in the atmosphere, sunlight that would otherwise be reflected into space.
Rock: Space? That seems a little farfetched, don't you think?
Professor Nerdlemeyer: Excuse me?
Rock: This isn’t Star Wars, Professor. It’s 2014.
Professor Nerdlemeyer: I’m not sure what you mean.  As I was saying. The trapped sunlight warms the planet, which is why the poles are melting, ocean temperatures are rising, and every year is the warmest year on record. The consequences of all this could be catastrophic.
Rock: Are you aware that other scientists suggest that you're making all this up, and even if your aren't then we’re all screwed anyway, so why bother doing anything?
Professor Nerdlemeyer: I don’t understand why some people refuse to believe in the greenhouse effect.  It’s something any seventh grader can prove at a science fair.
Rock: (Laughing) Nice try, Professor. Now it’s time to talk with a real scientist. Dr. Kooky Westerball is a professor of Scientific Studies at the Online Institute of Port-O-Prince. Doctor Westerball, you’re a doctor, is that correct?
Dr. Kooky: Yes, Rock. I have a PHD in Factitious Anomalies from The Tennessee Valley Creationist College. I also hold several other advanced degrees, including an MBA, an MFA, an MBFA, a BFF, and an LOL, from various online programs based at junior colleges throughout South America.
Rock: Pretty impressive. Why don’t you tell our viewers why Mr. Nerdlemeyer is a liberal propagandist looking to make a fast buck perpetuating the myth of Global Warming?
Professor Nerdlemeyer: Wait a second. How could I possibly profit from this?
Rock: Come on, Professor.  You’re just out to sell your book.
Professor Nerdlemeyer: But I don’t even have a book.  And even if I did, it’s not like I would get rich.  At best I’d sell a few thousand copies, and maybe make enough to support myself for a year or two.
Rock: You had your shot, Rich Boy. It’s Dr. Westerball’s turn.  Go ahead, Doc.
Dr. Kooky: Well, Rock, it has been constitutionally proven by world renowned Scienceologists—these are professionals fluent in Einstonian Geometrics, Quasi-Judicial Influenzas, and Bi-Curial Menstruations—that global climate change is easily attributable to normal Paleozoic fluctuations of the Ionosphere—just like the Ice Age suffered by Ray Romano and his friends in that movie Ice Age.  Also, current temperatic abstractions can be traced back to the fact that God is mad about gay marriage.
Rock: (Fascinated) Really? I had no idea Ray Romano was gay in that movie.
Dr. Kooky: He was the way I watched it.
Rock: Well, folks, there you have it. Two renowned scientists with two completely different takes on the whole global warming myth. Personally, I don’t know what to think. I’m stumped.
Dr. Kooky: I thought you were Rock.
(They laugh while the professor buries his head in his hands.)
Rock: Well, that’s it. Thanks for joining us.  Tune in tomorrow night, when, once again, you’ll hit Rock Bottom.  Goodnight, Everybody!
Cue drum music.

Rock pushed the button for the retractable roof and watched as a beautiful night sky opened up above him. He tossed his empty martini glass out of the moon roof, then stood up to see if it landed on a homeless person. Unfortunately, the street was deserted. Settling back into his bath, he reached along the edge of the hot tub until he found a Cuban cigar and a solid gold Zippo lighter with diamond inlays.
With the swarm of bubbles tickling his nether regions, Rock failed to notice a long tail slithering through his legs.  With his eyes closed, he failed to spot the six-foot spikes jutting out of the water.  With his ears full of wax, he failed to hear the giant armored plates scraping his upholstered ceiling.  With his mind so wrapped up in thoughts about himself, he completely missed the seventeen-ton shimmering stegosaurus, now scratching its butt against the side of his hot tub.

It was unfortunate for Rock that his stretch Hummer lacked the prehistoric vegetation that once constituted the stegosaurus’s diet. The enormous reptile had to settle for raiding the mini-fridge, where it quietly devoured a platter of expensive French cheese and escargot. And it was to Rock Benson’s greatest misfortune that at the precise moment he sparked his Cuban cigar; the Stegosaurus let loose a potent blast of flatulence that incinerated him.
Go to chapter 7