Rawr! Dinosaur!

Dinosaurs are back.  That’s the headline.  Not that stupid sitcom on ABC, actual dinosaurs.  Martialla, being the buzzkill that she is, says that they’re “not really” dinosaurs.  She says that they’re likely birds that have evolved into something like what we think a dinosaur looked like.  Like she’s a friggin’ archeologist.  When I looked to Lucien for support he just shrugged like a cowardly Canadian.  I knew there was no point in asking Paul since he only cares about murder and stacks of girly magazines. 

I don’t care what Martialla says (I mean ever) if it looks like a dinosaur and walks like a dinosaur and, well we didn’t hear what sound they made, but you get it.  Remember a few (and a hundred) years ago when scientist were all like “hey, dinosaurs have feathers” and everyone went “What, that’s dumb, dinosaurs are dumb now” and then they tried to walk it back by having some artists draw T-Rexes with rainbow feathers to try and make them look “cool”?  Being an archeologist must have been a great job because you could be wrong about everything and no one would ever know.

Now that you have the important information let’s backtrack a little.  Since there’s barely any room in Martialla’s little plane we had considered taking all the supplies we could stuff in there and heading out just the two of us, but somehow ended up doing the opposite – jamming both Paul and Lucien in the back and taking very few supplies.   Maybe if (when?) Paul goes nuts Lucien will stop him.  Or at least get killed first.  So that’s something.

I happen to know that in the olden days a flight from Sacramento to Boise was barely more than an hour (don’t ask).  I don’t know how much slower this little plane is from a commercial number but we were three hours in when we saw the dinos and I have no idea how much longer we have to fly. 

I spotted them first because I guess Martialla was busy looking at clouds or whatever you look at when you fly a plane and there are no windows in the back where Lucien and Paul are squashed together.  They don’t have feathers (I think) but I did think at first that they were ostriches based on their shape and the way they were running around.  Aside from humans you don’t see too many two-legged animals running and they have a particular stride about them.  Not that I’m an ostrich expert, but that’s the impression that I got. 

A flock of ostriches in America is interested enough on its own that I took a closer look and saw that instead of dumb tiny bird-heads they had more muzzle-y noggins on them with what looked like big scary dino-teeth but I realized later were just some kind of markings on their faces.  Those would have had to have been huge teeth to see them from a plane.  They were smooth and lizardy but they did have some kind of spiney-things on the backs of their “arms” and around the rump that were kind of feathery.  I give the scientists partial credit there. 

I said something along the lines of “Hey, are those dinosaurs down there?”  I didn’t notice for a while that they were running around because some other beast was chowing down on one of them.  It looked like a giant sloth-bear-wild boar.  Martialla, being a pill again, said that he thought that it looked like some kind of predatory wombat.  Because she has to ruin everything.  A wombat?  Get a life. 

I don’t know if it had killed the one it was eating.  It looked lumbery and too slow to catch one of them so maybe it was scavenging, but whatever had happened it was enjoying a nice meal of dino-ribs Fred Flintstone style while the rest of the flock ran around it in circles.  What were they doing?  Trying to scare it off?  Just freaking out because of what was happening?  I feel like normally when a member of herd goes down in the clutches of a predator the herd just keeps going.  Isn’t that the whole idea of grouping together – maybe the lion will get someone else and you can forget about it? 

Even with all the crazy stuff I’ve seen lately this was pretty crazy.  Martialla circled the plane around several times so we could watch, mostly me since as I said Paul and Lucien couldn’t see much.  Martialla was annoyingly nonplussed by god damn dinosaurs.  Although she must have been at least somewhat interested because she was distracted enough that she didn’t notice the other plane until it started shooting us.

You think not telling is the same as not lying, don’t you?

On the road today I slowed down because an animal that looked like a giraffe without the long neck ambled across the road in front of us.  Giraffes are pretty weird looking on their own but they look even stranger without that iconic long neck.  I know what you’re thinking “Ela it only seems that way to you because you’re used to seeing giraffes with long necks” but I don’t think so, I think even if I had never seen a normal giraffe, that thing would have looked weird as hell to me.  I looked over at Martialla (who has a bit of a giraffe neck herself) as we waited for it to pass.

“Seriously, what the fuck is going on?  We’ve seen the Loch Ness Monster, inside out dogs, seal-hippos with saberteeth, and now this thing.  I thought evolution was supposed to take millions of years.”

Martialla leaned out the window to get a better look “Maybe it’s not evolution.  Maybe a giraffe escaped from the zoo and bred with a horse and the descendants of that coupling have short necks, for a giraffe anyway.”

I scowled at her “That is obscene Martialla, why would you even think of something like that?”

She slid back into the car “You’re the one that grew up on a farm, didn’t you say that you saw a chicken and pig doing it once?”

I started driving again as the shadow of the short neck giraffe passed us “No, I told you once that I saw a guy who people called Chicken having sex with a pig.  He bought me and my friends beer for years after that so I wouldn’t rat him out.  Ironically he was hit by a chicken truck when I was a senior.  You’d remember that if you hadn’t been fifteen tequila shooters deep when I told you that story.”

“That was a hell of a quinceañera.  What happened to Carmen after she quit trying to be an actress?”

“Hopefully she died in the early stages of the apocalypse, I don’t think she would have done well as a warlord’s concubine.  But no one would I suppose.”

“What about that one agent you had at Gersh?  Hallie?”

I nodded “Yeah, she would have done fine.  I thought of another good line for when they make our courageous story into a movie once the world has advanced to the point of making movies again.  After some heavy shit goes down I would turn and ask ‘sometimes do you feel like we never really woke up when we climbed out of those tubes?’ pretty good right?”

“Scintillating.  Are you still going to be around to get a writing credit on this thing?”

I laughed “Why would I want one?  Writers are all nerds.  I’ll be a consultant.”

“As I recall, in addition to the writers, you also didn’t care for the directors or other actors.  Or the producers.  Or anything involved with the production it seemed.  Why did you become an actor again?”

I couldn’t help but smile “Oh Martialla, sweet, sweet simple Martialla, when you’re as pretty and talented as I am there’s really no choice now is there?  Try as I might I couldn’t hide my light under a bushel basket, all the world’s a stage and I couldn’t help it, I was born to shine.”

“I walked right into that one.”

“Besides, if you want to talk about attitude problems, you’re the one who got kicked out of the union.  Twice.  Didn’t you get into a fist-fight with the treasurer at a meeting one time?  Or was it shooting that guy in the hand with a speargun that got you kicked out the first time?”

Martialla’s face tightened “That all got blown way out of proportion.”

Hours later, we came to a nice rise where we got a good look at the land around us.  A few miles away we saw a crossroads that were being squatted upon by a . . . what do you call a group of vehicles? A lance?  A cluster?  A star?   Like in the military, what do you call a squad of armored cars?  A squad I guess.  That sounds too spit and polish for these jokers though.  One of the machines looked a lot like the Frankencar we saw the other day – like someone had put a log cabin on top of an SUV.  It didn’t even look like it could move.  With it were three other post-apocalyptic scrap-buggy-mobiles, one of which was magenta.  Which is not a color you expect to see in an apocalyptic killmobile.  But the fifth car was the weirdest because it just looked like a 1950 Lincoln Sport Sedan.  It didn’t have spikes or gun ports or armor or racks of fuel tanks or anything that all other machines have these days – it was just a car.  I’m not going to lie, it really freaked me out.

I handled the binoculars to Martialla “Is this them then?”

She looked for a moment, and then shrugged “I guess.  They look like raiders to me.  But how can you tell one raider from the other?”

“Are they Invincible?”

She puckered her brow at me “You have the same information as I do Ela, how would I know?”

“You’re going to get frown lines if you keep this up, Martialla.”

“Yes, that’s what I’m concerned about these days.” She put the binoculars back to her face “I don’t see any fist symbols or any of those bumpy-head people.  Looks like one of them has a vulture painted on their car maybe.” 

“Why are these future marauders so obsessed with birds?  Vultures, roadrunners, what’s the deal?  Alright GI Jane, so what are we going to do here?  Go in outnumbered five to one?  What’s the plan?” 

She thought for a moment “How would you feel about seducing them all one by one and killing them in their sleep?”

“One at a time?  Lame.”