Tuesday, February 15, 2011
My Encounter With Tyrannosaurus
I was sitting in the back porch reading and enjoying the early signs of spring --galanthus hung with snowdrops, plumb blossoms starting, new grass striving with old. A clutch of yellow daffodils held my attention briefly before I returned to reading. Then I heard a rustle and looked up again. One of the daffodils had got knocked over, its little trumpet mashed on the soil.
"What the...who's out there?" I said.
There was a movement among the stalks. Something was hiding.
"Show yourself or I'm coming out!"
A raspy voice came from the daffodils. "Come out and do what, puny man?"
"I've got a broom and I'll chase you with it."
An ugly, very cross-looking head, about the size and color of a pickle, rose up slightly above the flowers. "Hah! I don't think so," it said. "I'm a Tyrannosaurus!"
"Correct me if I'm wrong," I said, "but I heard your kind was fifteen feet tall, not fifteen inches."
"Oh, you're not mistaken. I'm huge! I'm just standing very far away."
"No you're ten feet off in my daffodils."
"Damn," he muttered. "Binocular vision. Time was when only us Tyrannosaurs had that kind of depth perception. Look, I'll come out but you stay on the porch, and no brooms!"
As the creature emerged he began to explain himself: "You're not entirely incorrect about me. My family, the Tyrant Lizards, is most associated with T-rex, who really was fifteen feet tall --taller than T-bataar but only came up to T-imperator's shoulder. Tyrannosauridae is a large and various group."
"And what sort are you?" I asked.
He turned around and said, somewhat self-consciously, "Er, Tyrannosaurus-cottontail."
"That's a fine, impressive tail." I said, "But what became of your relatives?"
"Oh, they're gone."
"I'm sorry. Extinct then?"
"Not that I know of. You've doubtless seen pictures of them and know they always looked very upset. That's accurate. They got dissatisfied with the era they were in, developed a space-program and left for another planet entirely."
"The era, Jurassic?"
"No, Prohibition. Tyrannosauridae love beer. The bigger ones couldn't get enough anymore. By the way..."
"No problem," I said, taking the hint. "Small glass ok?"
I brought out a bottle of stout and poured a bit for him, which he quaffed eagerly.
"Thanks," he said. "It's dry work hiding and skulking. Not really used to it. T-cottontails rely on disguise to move about freely. Which reminds me..."
"Rain check! I gotta go to the cleaners and pick up my bunny suit."