Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dinosaur Ghost Epilogue

Dinosaur Ghost is now free as a pdf.  

Steve loped down the hall of an upscale apartment in Provincetown, his tail sweeping the floor as he went.  He straightened picture frames with his front hooves and head, while, unbeknownst to him, his back end inadvertently knocked over lamps, tables, and poked holes in the walls with his six-foot long serrated spikes.  
Steve wanted everything to be perfect for his and Rex's anniversary dinner.  Their relationship had been off kilter ever since “the incident,” and this would be an opportunity to launch a fresh start.  
Then again, Steve wondered if he would ever be able to trust Rex again.  The image of Rex and that woman had been seared into his brain: the way he had tossed her around like a rag doll only reminded Steve of their own personal shortcomings in the bedroom.  
It was also a side of Rex that he had never seen before.  The fact that he could defy his own natural instincts merely to inflict pain on Steve was truly frightening.  A part of Steve had gone extinct that night, and he knew that he would never be the same again.
He was placing fresh flowers in a vase in the bedroom when he heard the front door open and close, followed by a mumbled greeting from Rex.  In that moment, he wanted to drop the vase, rush into the den, and throw his hooves around his lover, but then he heard the sound of the television, and he knew that Rex would be sprawled out on the couch--probably crushing it--and for the next thirty minutes he would vegetate in front of the evening news.  His first words would almost certainly be, “What’s for dinner?”  
(Rex took it for granted that Steve would have prepared something, and yes, Steve had trapped a rather succulent goat that morning, and then let it run loose in the back of the apartment, just the way Rex liked.  Rex would fool himself into thinking he was a mighty hunter, but would he even bother to compliment Steve on his hard work?  Doubtful.  No, he would scarf down the entire goat in a single bite and then ask if they had any horse or donkey.) 
Steve’s mood deflated.  Rather than rushing into Rex’s tiny forearms, he went to the bathroom to freshen up.
Ten minutes later, he cautiously ventured to the front of the apartment.  As he neared the living room, he heard the sound of hushed voices.  Who was Rex talking to?  He quickened his step, causing the apartment to shake violently as he thundered into the living room.
Rex was facing the window.  He turned when he heard Steve approach, a guilty smile affixed to his face. 
“Steve, Baby!”  He said, trying to guard the window with his massive bulk.
Steve tilted his head and caught a glimpse of a pterodactyl on the fire escape.
“Who’s that?” Steve asked.  “Rex, who are you talking to?”
The pterodactyl squawked, “Call me,” and then flew away.
Rex’s smile cracked and faded.  “It’s no one, Babe. Just the building inspector.”
“Why does he want you to call him?”
It was then that Rex’s green eyes narrowed into that look of pure reptilian hatred that frightened Steve so.  “I can’t win with you, Steve.  No matter what I do, you’re never going to trust me.”
“I just want to know why that stupid bird on the fire escape asked you to call him.  I think I’m entitled to an answer.”
“Don’t worry, Steve,” Rex said, his roar dripping with sarcasm.  “I wasn’t going to make out with him like a diplodocus at a dinner party if that’s what you were thinking."
Steve recoiled.  “When are you going to stop throwing that in  my face.  I was drunk.  I never would have given Terrance a second glance in the sober light of day.”
“I’ve seen the way you look at him.”
Steve rolled his eyes and affected mock laughter.  “Oh my God.”
“Yes, oh your God.  Oh your God.” Rex paced the living room like he was stalking a kill.
Steve’s eyes began to water.  “I don’t know what I did to make you hate me so much.”
“Oh, don’t start this again,” Rex said in a dismissive tone.  “You’re so damned manipulative when you do this.”
Steve sobbed.  “I’m sorry if my pain antagonizes you.”
“You know what, Steve?  You stay here and play the victim.  I’ve got better things to do.”  He stormed toward the door, tearing clumps out of the carpet with his claws.
“Go on then.  Run off to your slutty pterodactyl.  See if I care.”
“Bah,” said the tyrannosaur.  He took a swipe at the air with his tiny forearm, and then he was gone.
As the door slammed shut, Steve collapsed in a heap on the floor and shook with grief.  He had planned the evening so carefully.  How had it come to this?
Slowly, he became aware of a voice in the room. It was a human’s voice.  A male human’s voice.  He looked up at the television and saw that it was tuned to a 24-hour news channel.  A pundit was railing against gay marriage.
“Marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman.  It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” said the talking head.
“Or Rex and Steve,” thought the dinosaur ghost.
“My bible defines marriage as being between one man and at least one woman.  We can’t go changing that now.  We can’t go redefining words willy nilly.  It will confuse the children.  And when you get married, the preacher is supposed to say, ‘I now pronounce you man and wife,’ not 'man and man.'  What does that even mean?  They’re already men!  It doesn’t change anything.  See?  It renders the whole ceremony meaningless.”
Steve felt a flash of anger.  He reached out and stomped the remote control, smashing it into a thousand tiny pieces.  The talking head continued to drone on and on with ever more fallacious arguments.   Finally, Steve could take it no more.  His roar shook the complex.