Everybody walk the dinosaur

Remember the scene in Jurassic Park when the velociraptors are chasing the stupid kids around in that giant kitchen and one of the dinos jumped up on the big metal table?  Me neither.  When we got to the auto mechanic place there were a couple dinosaurs checking it out.  One of them was walking around very gingerly on the counter like it was going to start operating the cash register.   

It wasn’t scary, it was adorable.  These dinos were the size of turkeys and they had deluxe orange and red and blue feathers.  I know that I said before feathers on dinosaurs are stupid but these ones were magnificent.  They hissed at us like cats when they saw us and then when we weren’t afraid of them they scampered off like squirrels.  They’d make cool pets if not for that giant claw on their feet. That would scratch up your floors.  I wonder if you can train a dinosaur to use the bathroom. 

The lying paleontologists are always going on and on about how smart these little dinos with the arms were and how they could do complex math and drive buses.  I barely believe they know what dinosaurs looked like, how on earth could they know how smart/dumb they were or how they behaved?  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, being a paleontologist is the best job in the world.  You can make up whatever you want.  There’s no way to know.   

When we came upon the facility I had a question – how did Catcher and all the friends he left to die dig the place out so well?  Did they have a backhoe?   

A preacher was asked by a funeral director to hold a burial service at a small local cemetery for a person who had died with no friends or family to mourn them.  The preacher said of course, but when he set out he got lost on the way to gravesite.  Eventually he found the backhoe and its crew. 

The preacher jumped out of his car and rushed over to the open grave.  Feeling terrible on account of being late he gave an impassioned and l lengthy speech, sending the deceased off to the great beyond in style. 

Once he was done and heading back to his car, he heard one of the workmen say “I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years and I never seen anything like that before.” 

Ba-dum-dum, don’t forget to tip your waitress. 

My second question was how was the place still intact to be dug out anyway?  The Canadian Stasis Hole still being around makes sense, it was designed and built underground to hold all the human popsicles through a nuclear war.  That place was still ninety percent wrecked.  How could Uncle Tony’s crappy rural auto mechanic shop survive being buried in such good condition?  Mudslide?  When the lying archeologists dig up an old Celtic hut or something how did it get down there?  How does a building get buried without being smashed to bits in the process?   

On the approach we saw some Blair Witch style things made of grass and teeth and fur and whatnot arrayed in a semi-circle around the bodies of Catcher’s very dead friends.  They were skinned and staked to the ground, the dead people not the dolls.  I’m going to do way out on a limb and suggest that’s a warning not to hang around this place.  As we set to hanging around the place Martialla and the two Lady Jesus people went to start working on the legendary car.  It’s already been Mad Maxified so I guess it was in service until it ran out of gas and no one bothered to convert it to run on bio-sludge.   

Lucien was sort of helping but he was mostly just watching.  I don’t think he’s doing well.  Although if you want to be a half glass full kind of person he’s doing great for someone who got shot through the belly and received absolutely no medical care.   

That left Paul and I to be on the lookout for marauding plainspeople.  I figured Paul would be fine looking out on his own so I poked around inside.  There wasn’t much to find.  I got excited for a minute because I spotted a Jim Beam bottle but it was dry as a bone.  Does alcohol evaporate?  Aren’t there bottles of wine that are hundreds of years old?  The only other interesting thing was a bunch of old Atlases that weren’t rotted away.  Not that interesting in itself, but someone had gone through a lot of trouble to bleach them out so they could write on them.   

I dragged what was left of a chair out front and piled enough prairie grass (tall or short grass, no one knows!) on it that sitting down was merely horribly uncomfortable and took a breather to peruse my reading material. 

“Hey Mar, there’s a bunch of old wheels in there with little bits of rubber on them.  I don’t get it.  I thought the problem with tires was they last forever.  What happened to all the tires?” She pretended like she couldn’t hear me and said nothing back.  “Typical” I said to Paul “Do you know what happened to all the rubber Paul?  And speaking of rubber, are you and Martialla being careful?  The last thing I need is her getting preggers on me with your mutant apocalypse baby.  Speaking of, the way people kill each other in the futre here how is there anyone left?  Is everyone just scoring around the clock and the women are constantly cranking out mutant babies?” 

Paul turned to face me with a look on his face like his nuts were in a vice “Uh . . .” 

I waved him off with a laugh “Don’t worry about it Paul, just keep a look out for those furry people.” 

Martialla’s voice came clomping at me self-righteously “You’re both supposed to be watching” 

“I knew you could hear me!  Why am I always the one getting stuck on guard duty?” 

“Because you’re useless for anything else!” 

I nodded at Paul “That’s true.” 

Ela’s bar tour #5 – Somewhere, beyond the sea

I wonder who first came up with the idea of a bar on the beach.  Probably someone who got busted for drinking on a public beach.  I don’t know why wearing a bikini makes rum taste better but it does.  It just does.  If you get drunk enough you don’t even care that there’s sand in your crack.  Which there is.  There just is. 

Beach bars come in three types in Madripoor as far as I’ve been able to gather so far.  You have your tourist joints on the west side by the bridge.  You have places that are similar but are for locals further down, and then you have your spots in lowtown that probably started out as normal bars and then erosion made them a bar on the beach.  Which gives me hope that this entire stinking island will wash away some day.  No offense.

The place I was at today was sort of in-between the first two.  It’s hard to say because there weren’t many people there.  Possibly because it was ten in the morning.  It was halfway decked out like a Hawaiian place but the bartender was Aussie.  I regaled him with tales of my encounters with his countryman in the red power armor suit but he didn’t think it was funny at all.  I thought Australians were supposed to be boisterous and fun-loving.  Alvin Purple lied to me.

Since the bartender wasn’t interested in my hilarious and well-told anecdotes, I turned my back on him and watched the ocean while I drank, a time honored tradition.  Watching the waves roll in can be calming if you don’t look at the dirty foam at the beach were all the garbage is washing up.  Crushing a dozen glasses of ranch water is pretty calming too.  They call it something different of course and it’s made with lemongrass instead of lime juice, but I know ranch water when I taste it.  It’s a light bubbly version of the classic margarita without being as sweet.  I’m sweet enough as is. 

I was mildly hypnotized by the rhythm of the water as I watched a floating lump and wondered what it was.  A dead walrus?  A crate of hot pants that fell off a freighter?  A bunch of dead bodies tied together by the testicles?  They do that here you know.  Another reason I’m glad I don’t have testicles.  I don’t even see how you could walk with those things clanging around. 

I was distracted enough thinking about testicle-walking that it didn’t really register right away when the mound grew a long neck out of it – I saw it but I didn’t see it you know?  When the little head at the end of the long neck turned towards me and I saw eyeballs is when I really took notice.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I jumped out of my chair and maybe screamed a little.  I grabbed one of the few other patrons.

“Holy shit, are you seeing this?!” He plucked his shirt out of my grasp finickyily.  Is that a word?  He did it with finickiness. “Do you see that man?  Can you understand me?  Do you speak French?!”

He squinted out at the water “Elasmosaurus.”

I grabbed at him again unconsciously “What?  What does that mean?”

He nodded at the water “That’s what that is, elasmosaurus, it’s a kind of plesiosaurus.”

I won’t lie, my jaw dropped “What?  Like dinosaurs?!”

“Uh, I think they’re aquatic reptiles rather than dinosaurs but I’ve never been clear on what the difference is.  Something about the hip bones?  I don’t know, I’m no dinosaur biologist.”

“You mean archeologist?”

He shook his head “No, that would be for fossils, that’s a living thing there.  So biologist I think is right. Yeah.”

I gestured so wildly I spilled some of my drink and had to slurp it off my hand “It’s the Loch Ness Monster!  Why are you not freaking out?!” I looked around at the few people there “Why is everyone not freaking out!?”

He flicked some droplets of tequila off his shirt “They’re rare, but you see them in his part of the bay sometimes.  They don’t come close to shore so it’s safe.” He smiled faintly “It is pretty cool when you think about it I suppose.”

I spun around looking for someone else who was going nuts “I don’t . . . I can’t . . . why . . .” I flung one arm towards the water “What the fuck?!  Dinosaurs went extinct billions of years ago right?  What is going on?”

“They still around in the Savage Lands.”

I finally managed to sit back down and watched the long-necked beast paddling around in the water “I’m going to assume you don’t mean the gay bar in downtown Chicago.”

“In Antarctica there’s a lost world with dinosaurs, they call it the Savage Lands.”

I gawked at him “How would you know that?”

He crossed his arms smugly “I went there once.  I worked on a ship that went to the Savage Lands.  A rich man in Sao Paulo hired us to go there and bring him back a deinonychus.  Try to bring him back a deinonychus anyhow.  The thing got sick and died on the way back.”

“So you’re telling me that you went to a secret dinosaur world in Antarctica and captured a dinosaur?”

He seemed irritated “I didn’t say that I captured it myself, I was just working on a ship that went there and I saw it.”

I slammed my hand down on the bar, although not very hard since I have the strength of twenty strong men and I didn’t want to smash it to bits “Bullshit!  I can accept a lot of crazy shit that goes on here but there is not a dinosaur land in the fucking South Pole!  It makes no sense!  If there was, everyone would know about it!  Everyone!”

He shrugged and turned back to the bar “You asked, I told you.”