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The reporter stood in front of the convention center, microphone in hand. Her red blazer perfectly accentuated her lustrous auburn hair. “Channel three action news reporting. The city is abuzz tonight over a purported attack on a downtown gun rally. Eye-witness accounts vary, but reports suggest that nearly all of the three hundred people killed or wounded in the melee suffered from wounds that were either inadvertent or self-inflicted. One policeman I talked to suggested that this may be a case of mass hysteria. Meanwhile, city officials tell us they are in the process of testing the water supply for psychedelic hallucinogens, and more than one person, including reporters at this network, including me, right now, speculated that this may be the work of Al Qaida.
"We go now to Washington D.C. where Senator Buck McStain took questions from reporters just moments ago.”
Senator McStain, an 85-year-old curmudgeon, limped down the capitol steps to greet the throng of reporters. He wore a white suit to match his thinning hair, which blew loosely in the breeze.
“Senator, Senator,” the reporters shouted as they heaved their respective microphones into the senator’s face. “How do you respond to reports that dinosaur ghosts have attacked the Gun Rights Association?”
“I think we should invade Iraq.”
“But Senator,” asked a reporter from the Washington Post, “What does Iraq have to do with dinosaur ghosts?”
“Don’t worry, we’re going to get to the bottom of this,” the senator replied, “and we will continue to get to the bottom of this until we bring these perpetrators to justice. You can count on it. I have spoken with several highly placed officials in the intelligence community, and if what they are telling me is true, the United States may very well need to re-Invade Iraq by the end of the week.”
“Senator, are you suggesting that these dinosaur ghosts are Al Qaida operatives sent from Iraq?”
“I’m not suggesting anything,” Senator McStain said, “other than the fact that Al Qaida operatives within Iraq may very well have perpetrated a terrorist attack on the United States.”
Cut to the reporter for channel three. “There you have it,” she said. “A highly placed U.S. official has called this a ‘terrorist attack perpetrated by Al Qaida.
“In other news, the United States Supreme Court ruled today that guns are actually people, and are therefore entitled to equal rights and full protection under the law. Now let’s check in with Candy at the sports desk...”
“Shut it off, ”Helen said. “I can’t take it anymore.”
Eric turned off the television set. He sat down beside Helen at the kitchen table. She continued to fiddle with one of her thingamajigs.
Eric took the device out of her hand and examined it. “What is this thing?” he asked.
“It’s a project I’ve been working on. I call it a Decayed Matter Reanimator Locator.”
“You made this? What does it do?”
“It finds dinosaur ghosts.”
“Hey, we could use something like that.”
“I still can’t get over it,” Helen said, a tear rolling down her cheek. “It’s like they rose from the dead through the force of sheer hatred.”
Eric put his hand on her shoulder. “We’ll get through this.”
“The thing is, I know they aren’t actually a part of our world in the strictest sense,” she said. “They aren’t real like you and me. They’re leftovers from another epoch. Through some freak occurrence in nature, they can observe us, and we can observe them, but I’m certain they can’t actually impact our lives directly unless we let them. Those men at the gun rally shot themselves. The journalists died in freak accidents. Both James and the security guard from the zoo died of a heart attack. I think if people took the time to face the ghosts, they would see that they’re actually quite harmless.”
“That’s good,” Eric said. “I don’t want to be harmed.”
Helen picked up another one of her doodads, one that looked like a ray gun, and aimed it across the table. “Yeah,” she said, “But you better believe I’m going to find a way to hurt them.” She pulled the trigger and sprayed water onto the table. She then turned the barrel toward her mouth and shot a spray of water in there too. “Yum,” she said.
Meanwhile, far away in the halls of justice, the esteemed members of the Supreme Court of the United States of America were having their bi-weekly hotcakes and sausage breakfast. They ate in their underwear, as was customary, so as not to spill syrup on their robes, while they discussed various cases before the court. The justices tended to focus on current deliberations, but occasionally some resentment lingered after a particularly contentious decision, and this was such a day.
“Even for an argument based on original intent, the decision made no sense,” Justice Sotomayor said as she chomped down on chicken biscuit. “Why would the founding fathers put in special protections for guns? What’s next? Equal rights for screwdrivers?”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” Justice Scalia roared, as was his habit. “The original wording of the second amendment, before it was revised, stated, and I quote, ‘blah blah blah, the right to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed, and the right of arms to keep and bare people shall not be infringed either.’ Or, to put it another way, guns are people. Case closed.” He shoveled a pile of grits and bacon into his mouth and then chased it with a big slurping gulp of grape Kool-Aid.
“At this point,” Justice Sotomayor countered, “guns have more rights than women.”
“Yeah,” said Justices Ginsberg and Kagan in unison.
“The fact of the matter is,” said Scalia, “we are not to go beyond the intent of the founding fathers, and the founding fathers clearly believed that guns were more important than women. That’s why they mentioned guns in the second amendment and they didn’t mention women at all. Maybe that’s why they’re called founding fathers and not founding mothers!” He elbowed Justice Thomas and cackled, “am I right, Clarence?”
Justice Thomas opened his mouth as if to speak, but stopped when Justice Ginsberg pulled her fork back with her thumb and catapulted a chunk of cantaloupe through Justice Scalia’s gaping mouth, where it lodged in his throat. He sputtered and clawed his neck, finally expelling the obstruction when Justice Alito delivered a swift karate chop to the belly.
The breakfast then devolved further when Chief Justice Roberts stood up and shouted, “Food fight!” Soon the entire room, including all nine justice’s underwear, was covered in bacon grease and Aunt Jemima’s Private Reserve. This was why supreme court justices never wore their robes at breakfast.
Amidst the flying hotcakes, no one noticed that the walls of justice were literally crumbling around them, until that is, they found themselves faced with a pair of hissing, spitting, roaring dinosaur ghosts.
“What would the founding fathers think of this, Antonin?” Breyer cried.
Justice Scalia removed his miniature copy of the constitution from his garter belt and began frantically flipping through pages. It should be here,” he said.
“This is why I believe in loose constructionism,” Breyer shouted as he dove under the table. A set of jagged spikes crushed the dessert bar where he had been standing.
Justice Sotomayor somersaulted over the swinging tail of the Tyrannosaurus and cartwheeled to safety.
Justice Kagan looked dead in the eye of the dinosaur blocking her path to freedom. “To hell with this,” she said. Using her head as a battering ram, she charged the unsuspecting stegosaurus, passed through the ghost as she would through an open door, and then literally passed through an open door to safety.
Justice Roberts watched Kagan's successful escape and attempted the same, but with very different results. Instead of empty space, his face flattened against a mound of taught, scale-covered muscle. With a flick of a large hoof, he flew against a wall. Justice Ginsberg used this momentary diversion to slip unnoticed behind the dinosaur ghosts, where she too escaped.
Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia, through some unspoken concurrence, formed a semi-circle of machismo near the coffee and juice table and readied themselves for battle.
Justice Kennedy froze, unable to decide whether to follow Ginsberg or join his brethren on the right as they focused on weaponizing butter knives and cocktail forks. He looked back and forth from one side to the other. “Which way should I go? Which way should I go? Which way should I go?” He asked himself as he tap-danced in place.
With a swish of its tail the stegosaurus crushed a support wall, and his escape route was sealed in a rush of falling debris.
Kennedy joined the rest of his clan, all of whom slowly backed away from the approaching Tyrannosaurus.
“Sic Semper Tyrannosaurus,” Justice Roberts cried. He began hurling melon with all his might. The stegosaurus caught the pieces on its spikes and then proceeded to devour this delightful new form of vegetation. It munched quietly as its carnivorous compatriot devoured the Chief Justice.
Justice Thomas opened his mouth as if to say something, but then evidently decided against it, just before he too was eaten.
“You wanna piece of me?” Alito said, slapping his chest as he approached the tyrannosaurus. “You wanna piece of me?” The tyrannosaurus evidently did not want a piece of him as he ate Justice Alito in his entirety.
“I changed my mind! I changed my mind!” Kennedy cried, but he too was gobbled up by the tyrannosaur.
“Screw you, you prehistoric bastard,” Scalia roared. “I sentence you to death!” He took one last swig of Kool-Aid and then charged the dinosaur ghost with his cocktail fork.
Within seconds, the carnage was over. The dinosaur ghosts roared in celebration of their victory and then disappeared in a puff of smoke. The room was empty, except for Stephen Breyer, who sat shivering beneath the breakfast table.
go to chapter 9