i was about to accept his offer when the most unexpected interruption cut in.
craig my legal guardian (who also kinda found my egg and hatched me) stood looking ready for trouble...
"it's been a while larry," craig stated. "i got lucky that you made the news everywhere here or i might have missed your visit."
larry's lips curled upward reviling the full length of his threatening fangs. deep from within his chest came a low rumbling roar (very similar to our primitive ancestors the crocidilians).
"you sound like you're not happy to see me larry," craig mocked. "well i can't say i'm to pleased to see you either larry, but there is one thing i can say for sure. you're not taking him larry. not over my dead body!"
oh man... why'd craig have to word it that way? cause there really wasn't much keeping larry from arranging a dead body...
craig seemed very content on a confrontation, but i couldn't for the life of me, or craig's see any reason for my guardian to be so confident around my 6 tonne relative...
larry leaned down. his teeth as exposed as he could physically get them. he was curling his lips so bad i thought they might start bleeding or tear.
"you have some nerve human," larry growled. "but if it is a corpse you need human, i may be able to oblige."
i grew nervous larry's body language was shifting to a very aggressive one. i knew craig could tell this (he's spent a great deal of time around us dinosaurs, and tyrannosaurids in particular). yet he didn't seem phased or even slightly scarred...
i had no idea what had changed. the last time i'd seen craig around adult tyrannosaurs (who weren't skeletons) was at a family reunion in canada in 2005...
craig had been nice enough to drive me to the reunion... (come to think of it i wonder. were all my family members there part of this pack?)... oh right sorry story at hand!
my relatives having told a few too many stories of past glories on the hunt started to get restless. that's when they realized i'd brought a human with me to the event...
next thing you knew zoe tyrannosaur insisted that larry had chased people wrong in jurassic park. to illustrate she took after craig like a giant reptilian cat on a poor tiny mammalian mouse (well okay mice are mammals, but you get my point)...
poor craig had no means of defending himself for the initial part of the chase. larry drunkenly ran after the chase taunting zoe how she wasn't doing much better than he had in JP. unlike his character in the movie zoe could see none moving objects and yet she couldn't catch craig.
had craig not locked himself in the campground office (with a very terrified camp staff) he'd probably have been a pre BBQ snack...
why this tale of 05. well craig was next to no different now in the year 2007 than he was back then. yet here he was deliberately making my cousin angry...
larry leaned closer. his intent would have been clear to anyone, that alone a trained dinosaur tender like craig.
craig in calm low voice clearly trying to keep me from hearing. "central knows i'm talking to you right now larry, and you know what will happen if i don't call them back."
who or what is central? why was larry supposed to be scared of it? how did my normally boring guardian craig know about it? but most important what was this central?!?
larry lunged forward upon hearing this cryptic response. my heart froze.
craig barely flinched. i'd never seen him like this before...
instead of chomping down on craig, larry let loose a great angry bellow right in craig's face. the angriest i've ever heard him. this made his roaring at the germ-man seem friendly.
apart from from some drool and the initial gust of air propelled at him direct from larry's lungs craig was unmoved. "about done larry?"
"i should have killed you when i had the chance," larry growled.
"if horses were wishes than we could have hyracotherium back," craig dismissed larry's menace. "in the meantime i'll be taking traumador, and you can get the hell out of town."
i was paralyzed by not only the epic tension, but more the confusion of were it came from. since when had larry and craig hated each other?
i could understand a little bit of dislike after the reunion chase in 05, but craig had told me on the drive home that "a tyrannosaur will be a tyrannosaur" as though he'd expected it when he drove me there in the first place...
the source of my confusion...
when i moved out of craig and dan's apartment, while packing i found an old discarded photograph in the basement (where i'd been living). i think craig had intended to throw the photo out, but the waste basket had been in the midst of the jungle that grew in the basement because of my poor cleaning of my room (just watch this video to see the apartment and the jungle). meaning the photo had never been properly thrown out...
it captured a moment of time when craig and larry appeared to be friends. they posed nicely together for the picture. more to the point on the back of the pic craig had written 'the end of the best field season ever of 2003'.
this photo in general has always been a intriguing mystery to me...
it was taken in the year 2003, the same year craig found and hatched my egg.
the photo clearly showed both craig and larry in the badlands, and not just any stretch of badlands. one i knew (sure there are a lot of them even in just alberta that alone the rest of the world). somehow i could tell it was a patch outside of huxley... close to where me and my mother were buried 65 million years ago.
the photo states it was the end of the field season. meaning that craig, and presumably larry were out in the field looking for fossils...
all these put together to form a very interesting story... craig and larry had set out into the badlands together, and found me!?!
this one scenario raised all manner of questions!
the most relevant to today's ordeal, how could it have been the best field season if they hated each other?
if they had been friends the scene playing out in front of me was proof they certainly weren't 4 years later.
"you dare order me around pest," larry roared.
"to be honest no. i guess i can't," craig conceded. "on the other hand, i can you on the other hand young man." craig pointed at me. "let's go traumador. we're leaving!"
"what?" i said in shock. i'd hoped they'd both calm down before bringing me into this. "i don't want to go right now."
next thing i knew i received an angry look from craig the like's of which i hadn't seen since i was a hatchling. "traumador! the! tyrannosaur!" oh no my full name... craig stormed over to me and took my by the collar.
next thing i knew craig was dragging me from the botanic garden . "hey stop. please. where are you taking me?" i protested. craig just relentlessly dragged me from the park.
larry just stormed off in the opposite direction clearly furious... great so now i had to deal with a really grumpy larry when i got back!not that craig seemed any less grumpy right now.
he hauled me the whole 2 blocks to his home at salmond hall. right back up to his room. which i have to note was much cleaner since i was last crashing there...
"what gives?" i demanded once he'd let go of me.
"that was for your own protection," craig answered quickly glancing outside his window suspiciously...
"from who?" i challenged.
"your cousin," craig answered a little boggled. well okay i guess i could forgive him that. normally me and larry didn't get along. what with his being a JERK! and all...
"i was fine," i tried to assure craig, and made as though i was heading out the door.
"sit down right now young man," craig ordered.
"you can't just show up and boss me around," i countered. "i'm not a hatchling anymore. you said so yourself when you kicked me out of the apartment in drumheller!"
"than stop acting like one," craig snapped. "i've come to help you. so stop acting like i'm the one using you."
"and larry is?" i asked grumpily. craig had no right trying to pull the angry father thing on me. i was living on my own now, and had taken care of myself just fine this last year since being fired by the tyrrell museum.
"do i even have to answer that question?" craig was baffled. "larry shows up under the radar. crashes your place, makes you put your life on hold for him, and than starts manipulating your life. you're asking me if he's using you!"
"he is not," i feeibly reply.
"please traumdor it's all over the news what you two have been up to," craig calls me on my line of logic. "it doesn't take a brain the size of peanut to see he's trying to manipulate you. scarring the german half to death. somehow i'm just not seeing that as your idea. rampaging around dunedin and getting tyrannosaurs into the new zealand public's mind. again not something in your best interest traum."
"why would he do that?" i asked seriously unable to think of any reason. my rage at craig clouding my thinking. "why would he try and get us on the news?"
"to get you to join the pack," craig cut to the chase. "he's here trashing the hardwork you've done on your own all just so he can have another member in his wife's little club."
"he is not. he's just... wait how do you know the pack?" i requested.
craig's face lightened. "traum i've spent a lot more time in museum's around dinosaurs than you. i've heard things. besides you late cretaceous dinosaurs can't keep a secret even if it was going to kill you. the pack of the primordial feather likes to pretend it's existence is pretty hush hush, but if you know a thing or two, you catch wind of it."
"you've known about the pack this whole time, and you never told me about it?" i was shocked.
"i've done my best to keep you clear of it. i didn't raise you just to become another carnosaur," craig responded.
i was completely taken back. i took offense to almost every part of that sentence.
"you kept me clear of the one way i could fit in with my own kind?" i chocked out.
craig's eyes focused on me. "traum let's get one thing straight i'm not the one who banished you from dinosaur kind. larry is one of the principle culprits there. i wasn't the one withhold your membership on this coelurosaur club. larry was. he could have told you anytime."
"how am i the bad guy when they want you is to fill up the ranks of the pack you're better off without them."
i was getting mad at craig for some reason. i couldn't figure why at the time, but i think my tyrannosaur instincts had kicked in, and we get mad and aggresive when confronted. even with just mere information.
"well maybe as just 'another carnosaur' i'm better off in this pack," i mocked craig's earlier statement. "you don't even recognize the fact i'm a coelurosaur, and not a dumb old primitive carnosaur!"
"oh that's rich traumador," craig voice sharpened. "of course i know the difference. before you take the superior coelurosaur angle over the carnosaurs, take a long hard look at larry and the rest of your living relatives. carnosaurs may be brutes and thugs, but at least their honest about it! larry and the pack are subversive and deceptive. they've got their claws into all sorts of other people's and dinosaur's business. i respect carnosaurs more than most coelurosaurs."
"even me?" i snapped back.
"notice my use of the word most. of course i respect you," he replied.
"what kind of respect is it to walking in out of no where, and make my decisions for me?" i demanded.
"wait you were going to actually accept his invitation traumador?" craig responded shocked. "please tell me your just mad because no one ever told you the pack existed. you're not going to join are you?"
"i was," i proudly responded.
"traumador," craig slowly started to plead. "i raised you to be better than the pack. you can do so much more on your own. you don't need their help."
my angry boiled to the top. "who else is going to help me? you? and where do you get off saying that you raised me to be better than my own kind? what are you saying tyrannosaurs are inferior, and that i should be more like you dumb humans."
i could see craig's patience was wearing thin. "i never said any such thing about tyrannosaurs. if you want my honest opinion your cousin larry and the other members of the pack on the other hand are among the worst of surviving dinosaurs. not because their inferior, but because they think themselves better than the rest of the world."
"maybe we are?" i challenged. "what do you have over us. we existed for millions of years more than you. we were kings of all dinosaurs. the dinosaurs being the most successful land animals ever! and we were their kings!"
"oh so that's it is it?" his voice was now angered as well. "we're going to go by evolutionary and geologic success are we? well than mr. tyrannical king lizard both of us better get on our hands and knees. cause i have some news for you. we vertebrates have nothing on the invertebrates. come on let's see you get worshipping the cockroaches! come to think of it bacteria really should be the lord and master of your world than!"
"that's not what i mean," i angrily rebuttal. "you're just jealous because we tyrannosaurs are so much more than your pathetic mammal linage. that's why you raised me to fear and loath myself!"
these words appear to cut right through craig his voice dropped soft. "3 years of my life i gave up raising you. years i could have done other things, but no i decided. i'd rather use these years to bring you up better than other coelurosaurs. who just wander around bullying and intimidating everyone to get what they want. crushing everyone else's dreams so they can pretend their still in their prime."
"guess what traumador. as much as your cousin likes to pretend he's a big shot in the world he's not. none of you are! dinosaurs are extinct... and if you think you mean anything anymore outside of the museum community think again!"
"i tried to raise you to a sensitive and caring dinosaur so you could surpass your relatives, and maybe make a good name for tyrannosaurs and a place for yourself in that small museum world."
"back when you were at the tyrrell i was so proud of you. you exceeded my every expectation. you were loved by everyone at the musuem. sure you weren't the highest up the ladder, but if you had been the pack would have knocked you down anyway. just like they did to lillian ."
"so you tried to make me something i wasn't. something better, all because you thought my kind are monsters and jerks?!?" i screamed. "well thanks for the favour! look at me... thanks to your humanizing me i was kicked out of my home! forced to leave the whole country! and settle for being a mere security guard! and worst of all made a joke among dinosaur kind!"
"you're welcome," a tear erupted from craig's eye. "so this is what a 'true' tyrannosaur is then? i'd always wondered. were they all selfish rude brutes? i had hoped it was just the ones i'd met, and that in theory they were capable of much more deep inside. turns out i was wrong. maybe we are all just the sum of our parts, and tyrannosaurs are monsters and jerks."
"i hate you!" i shouted in response to that. how dare he call us monsters...
craig walked to the door and opened it. "well than mr. tyrannosaur since i've ruined your life so effectively, you can leave," his ordered. "we wouldn't want to keep you from paying your tribute to get in to the pack."
"trib-what?" i asked puzzled.
"oh that's rich," craig said flustered. "so you don't even know what you need to do to get into the club, and still i'm the bad guy..."
"on your way out maybe think about a few things traumador," craig's voice was the crossest i'd ever heard it. "ask yourself, what do you really know about the pack? if your cousin really have your best intentions in mind, like you keep telling me, why did larry lie to you about filming a movie in new zealand? most importantly ask yourself is it really 'humans' you're mad at or actually the coelurosaurs for treating you terribly? joining the pack isn't going to change who and what they are traumador. its only going to change you!"
"now go," he concluded.
part of me was eager to go, and end this conversation. at the same time in my head a sharp pain of guilt crept up as i started to think about craig's question.
craig was right. i knew next to nothing about the pack... it had almost all the world's surviving coelurosaurs as members. i did know of one instance it destroyed someone (lillian) for it's own purposes. other than that i didn't know anything. what was i going to have to give them to join? what did the pack do? what was i going to have to do within it?
"wait i just..." i started to ask hoping to reverse where this conversation had somehow gone.
"leave now!" craig cut me off. he's voice was heavy with emotion "i don't need to hear anymore about how much i destroyed your life thank you very much."
"no that's not what i meant," i stuttered as craig ushered me out of the room. "i'm confused. please i'm sorry."
"so am i traumador. i'm very sorry too, but i've heard about enough for today," many tears now ran down his face. "you think about who you are hard before answering larry."
"until you've made up your mind stay away from me!" he commanded. "you've made it very clear you don't want my help." with that the door slammed in my face.
everything behind my eyes went numb for what must have been hours...
what had i just done?
in the heat of the moment i'd said what i thought were perfectly rational points, but reviewing them in my head i realized just how hurtful they must have been. craig had said it himself. he'd raised me actively for 3 years. not because he had to, but because he wanted to, and i just bite him in the heart for it...
that was the most upset i'd ever seen him... i mean ever...
not only had he been there for me before he moved out of drumheller 2 years ago, but he'd tried to help me now. i had insulted him for it. more than that i'd turned on the one person in the world who had done nothing but support and help me when it counted most. all because of what? my big wig ruffian cousin who has been nothing but cruel and malicious to me my whole life. suddenly he shows up with an invite to a no humans allowed club, and my life before doesn't exist?
i am a monster! that has to be the only answer... am i wired inside so that even when surrounded and made to be good, i must decay back into a brute myself?
oh i could convince myself this is only biology at play. that instinctively i wish to be with my own kind, and part of a pack just like we've always done. i'd be lying to myself though.
suddenly the memory of the drive home from the family reunion of 2005 came back to me.
as we drove back toward drumheller i'd asked him worriedly, "aren't you mad at zoe and larry for chasing you?" thinking he'd never let me see my relatives again.
"no," craig responded very calmly. "a tyrannosaur will be a tyrannosaur." he finished turning to look at me. he's face saddened looking at me. i remember at the time wondering why he was so sad...
i'd never realized why until just now. he wasn't talking about zoe or larry being tyrannosaurs. he was terrified of my turning out like them...
upon this realization i let out a pained howl...
i may have destroyed things with craig far worse than the beginning of this year now, but i wasn't going to throw away everything he'd done for me.
he was right. i needed to think of who and what i was. i needed answers. i needed to know more about the pack. i needed to make things right...
larry was bound to try and pounce on this moment of volatility to force the issue of my joining, and also keep me from finding answers. i was going to need to distract him above all these other needs...
than something from our visit to my work at the otago museum occurred to me.
i had the perfect plan for keeping larry busy, and i knew exactly who i needed to hit up for information...
to be continued...