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The Dinosaur: a short story

32193647When he woke up the next morning the dinosaur was still there. The cold light of day had turned its glowing eyes flat, dull and expressionless. All along its dusty plastic carapace he could see the cracks and fissures caused by clumsy, grasping fingers. There was little comfort in knowing that it would no longer be missed, dropped or pulled apart.

He remembered buying it that busy December evening. Frantically juggling its purchase between a trip to Sainsburys* for forgotten mince pies, while he was en-route to Marks** for bubbly. The Christmas crowds were relentless that year in their pursuit of Roly the Dinosaur. The film’s recent success meant that most parents would be forced to buy the Roly Dinosaur to avoid any wailing histrionics from their Roly bereft and disappointed offspring on Christmas day. It was hell in Hamleys*** and he had catapulted himself over a stack of Lego bricks designed as a green ogre’s hovel to get to the display of Rolys. There were three left and he seized the nearest one much to the irritation of the lady jogging behind him who breathlessly grabbed the other two. He raced past the in-store elves and the bubble blowing demonstration to a till that had just opened up much to the annoyance of those patiently queuing at the other till. He remembered how he had sneaked across to old Mrs Lenten next door to stow away the gift wrapped box with its telltale Hamleys ribbon. It had been one of those Christmases where things just came together. Trish had delegated the cooking to him and he had whipped up a mean roast, gravy and sprouts with a splash of Worcestershire and a smear of wholegrain mustard, his erstwhile culinary companions. It had even snowed the night before dusting the ground around the house with an all day breathy whisper of festive frost. Timmy and Trisha had dashed off in a melee of hats, scarves and coats to  his mother’s for a quick exchange of soap and talc for Woolworths vouchers, before driving her home for Christmas dinner. Timmy was good that way. He had not insisted on his present. As part of the plan as soon as they left he went across to Mrs Lenten and exchanged an Oxfam greeting card and a peck on her powdery leathered cheek for the precious Hamleys parcel. It had been a wonderful day.

He looked up once again at the dinosaur on the shelf above the bed. It gazed down at him impervious, dead, dull and plastic. The April dawn’s light in the room was brighter now. In the past he would have been bounding up and down the stairs excited by the prospect of a dry day in these wet parts. A dry day would have been a day spent outdoors racing Timmy, chasing Trish and would have ended with them collapsed in a heap in the lounge with a pile of newspaper wrapped Fish and Chips. He was scared now as he could not feel a thing as he lay here, a grown man of thirty four curled up in a ball on the floor of his son’s bedroom. He had been lying here for eleven hours. Eleven long hours since he had been visited by the police officers with the news of the head-on collision between Trish and Timmy’s Peugeot and the articulated lorry.

Key: *Sainsburys – popular British supermarket  **Marks -Marks and Spencer popular British retailer  ***Hamleys – Britain’s oldest toy shop

Michael Braga is a British Indian. He’s managing director of the Motive Marketing Group. His true passions are writing, music, and films.