Dinosaur

 

The boy’s skinny legs seem out of place in this particular home. His cold feet stick to the grain of the wood; bark distressed to appear as if it was laid down before the Civil War.

His doe limbs rise out of the fake history as he leans over an old wooden table. You see, this table is a genuine kind of old. Engraved by steaming kettles, play jacks, and school projects. The mother wished the table to match the floors. To anyone with a keen eye, like the boy, the table and the floors contrast. You cannot fake stories, even fake stories in the grain of wood. He taps the table with all five fingers, from left to right and then sits down. He gloats over the ding marks peering through the stain and polish. The boy picks up two plastic dinosaurs in each hand, one red, and the other blue. Two other pterodactyls remain on the tabletop, the early sun warming their skin.

The doctor descends the stairs whistling that repetitive tune. Yankee doodle do or die. Early mornings are the key to success, you see. The Robinson family rises like a crescendo of a concert choir. The father’s triumphant entry down the stairs does match the glossy floors, and his square rimmed glasses.

Crisp taps of the black dress shoes draw closer to the boy with the blonde ringlets. Never ceasing his peppy tune, the doctor methodically ruffles his son’s hair, “Arise and shine, Raleigh” The boy half smiles and sighs to acknowledge his father, but stays mostly enraptured in his Jurassic world. The boy learned to tune out the whistles before he could walk.

The father turns to the stainless steel refrigerator and grabs six eggs. The stove heats the skillet quickly, as he precisely cracks the contents on the left side. As the eggs sizzle, the father looks  at the boy who is arranging the four dinosaurs in different ways on the kitchen table. He stares too far past the center of focus, always.

The boy’s mind tastes the soup of colors. He remains fascinated by the variation in order, how each combination touches him in a different way.

Red, Blue, Green, Yellow.

Or

Blue, Red, Yellow, Green.

An infinite amount of orders and positions for his dinos. Finally, a certain mixture of plastic and hues cause him to be supremely happy.

Yellow. Green. Red. Blue;  like the moment on the creek when the sunshine hit his toy boat and the beams broke over his skin.

The boy is ignorant of his father’s breakfast. The colors of the dinosaurs block him from smelling the oatmeal heating in the microwave. Colors blind the boy’s senses. Later, words on pages will hold similar power.

The doctor scratches off his checklist as he mechanically asks, ““Hey buddy, are all your     things packed for school? … Son, is it all together by the door?”

The father eyes the silent son’s game on the table, unaware of the perfection in this assortment. The cell phone rings and he leaves the boy. At least, the boy is smiling, a rare occurrence lately.

The father finishes his breakfast and rises from the table in silence. He cleans off his dishes and scrubs his hands thoroughly, while continuing to observe his son at the table with bewilderment. The father glides over the floor. His shoes match the floor, indeed.

After calling to the daughter, he sits down again to read the Edgerstounian. He reads about the town he knows so well plastered on the black and white pages.  On page six, the father’s elbow bumps the Tyrannosaurus Rex off the table and on to the floor.

Yellow. Green. Blue. This isn’t right. Not right, at all.

These colors smell like that man. Suddenly, the blue dinosaur falls face down. A scratching sound buzzes in the boy’s ears. This mess on the table reflects the dirt underneath the stranger’s fingernails. Moaning. He touched my lips with his dirty fingers. He grabbed. He took my dinosaur with his eyes closed.

The little boy stares up at the father in a fit of anger. The father whistles and continues to read about the construction occurring on the highway. The little boy picks up the red dinosaur from the floor. He stomps over to the skillet on the stovetop, turns the burner to high, and places all four of his prehistoric playmates in the center of the pan. The creatures’ skin grows mushy. Burn all the flesh, all the boy’s flesh inside of himself. He carefully watches as their concrete lines begin to move and shift in the pan. The bodies  spread indefinitely, and blend together into a pancake of brown. The little boy places both his hands on the mess, and then further so the fire burns inside.

The pressure mounts in the center of his forehead and the shock goes through his body. The little boy walks away, as the doctor inhales the smell of burning plastic & skin.

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