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Monday with Medusaceratops
(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)

Page 1

"Dear," the professorís wife said, "there is a dinosaur in the vegetable garden."

She said it very calmly, with not a trace of a tremor in her voice. Ten years of marriage to the professor had taught her a great deal of self-control.

The professor peered at her over his glasses. "Yes, dear," he said mildly. Ten years of marriage had taught him the value of those words as a catch-all response to anything she might say.

"Did you hear what I said?" his wife asked, a slightly shriller note sneaking into her voice. "There is a dinosaur in the vegetable garden. And itís eating the cabbage."

"Oh, no, dear," the professor said, returning to his laptop. "That canít be. You must have been mistaken."

"Look." For the first time in a decade, the professorís wifeís iron self-control deserted her. She reached out and grabbed a handful of her husbandís old sweater. "Come to the window and see for yourself."

Another thing the professor had learnt in a decade of matrimonial bliss was the futility of resistance. He allowed himself to be towed to the window, already preparing a little speech on how easy it was to be mistaken about such things. And then he looked through the glass and the words died on his lips.

There was a dinosaur in the vegetable garden. And it was just about done eating all the cabbage.

"How extraordinary," the professor said. "You would appear to be correct, after all."

"Well then," his lady declared triumphantly, "there you are. Now what are you going to do about it?"

There did not seem to be much anyone could do about it, so the two of them stood at the window staring at the dinosaur as it demolished the last of the professorís wifeís cherished cabbages and began on the iceberg lettuce. The dinosaur took no notice of them at all, so they had plenty of opportunity to observe it.

It was a very large dinosaur, about as long as the professorís wifeís oversized SUV and a half again. It stood on four pillar-like legs, its gigantic head lowered as it ripped lettuce out of the ground with its parrot-like beak, its huge brow horns thrust out in front of a tremendous curved frill, which was itself edged with hooked spines. And the colours!

"I thought dinosaurs were supposed to be brown or grey," their daughter, who had joined them unnoticed, said to nobody in particular.

The animal was a bluish grey in colour, and splotched and marked with patches of violet on the shield, in a pattern which looked rather like eyes.

"What is it?" the daughter, who asked a lot more questions than, her mother often said, befitted a seven-year-old, queried. "It looks like the child of a rhino and a chameleon."

"Um, well." The professor was a physicist, not a palaeontologist, and his knowledge of dinosaurs was not extensive. "Itís obviously one of the ceratopsians Ė thatís the horned dinosaurs, dear Ė but I donít think itís a triceratops. It doesnít..." he pointed, "...have a nose horn." As if hearing, the huge animal raised its head so they both got a good look at the blunt stub of a protuberance atop its beak. "As to what it is, I havenít any idea. If I were to consult an online identification guide, perhaps Iíd be able to find out." He turned towards his laptop.

"Forget the identification for a minute." The ten years of self-control had deserted the professorís wife completely, and she sounded high-pitched and shrewish. "That animal there has just eaten all my cabbages and lettuce, and itís ripping up whatís left of my garden, and what are you going to do about it?"

"Nothing, I imagine." The professor sounded faintly astonished that she should ask. "What do you suppose I could do about it Ė shoo it away?"

†"Oh no," their daughter said. "Please donít. Itís so cool."

"Cool?" her mother responded, outraged. "The effort I put into that garden, and that animal ruined it in five minutes, absolutely wrecked it, and you think itís cool?"

[ Continue to page 2 ]

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Genre:Science Fiction
Type:Short story
Rating:5.6 / 10
Rated By:14 users
Comments: 0 users
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