could i be more? (the visitor part 8)

i've made it up to the halfway mark of my cousin larry's totally uninvited and unasked for visit to new zealand. 8 days of what he told me should only be 14 have gone by. (for the whole story just click this for the archive of this adventure).

i've been so preoccupied dealing with larry i'd totally forgot about my normal day to day tasks and responsibilities... the biggest of those was work!

it came as a total surprise when i got a call from my boss on this morning...

"traumador," calmly greeted ms. rhonwyn. "haven't seen you at work this week."

oh no i thought in my tiny mind! i started panic, but tried to cover up. "oh was that this week?" i feebly asked.

"yes it was traumador," she firmly answered. "now based on what i've been seeing on the TV lately though i'd say you've been legitimately distracted. in the future you need to phone these sorts of things in though. we can discuss it though this afternoon when you come in for your shift."

"uh okay," i found myself saying... though inside my head all i could think about was what was i going to do about larry?!?

i couldn't just leave my giant cousin to wander dunedin on his own. with me around he'd caused plenty of damage as was.

interrupting my attempt to scheme a solution larry wandered up from behind me. "who was that cousin?"

"work," i admitted.

"i assume they wanted you to come in at some point?" larry deduced.

"yeah. today," i reluctantly replied.

"prepare yourself then," larry ordered rudely. who went extinct and made him king again. "than we shall visit this museum of yours. i would very much like to see it."

just like that not only was i heading into work in trouble, but i was bringing even more trouble with me.

everytime i've gotten phone calls lately they've been nothing but unfun. why do i keep my "cell" phone?

after gathering the few things i needed for my security guard job, next thing i knew i was up on top of larry's back walking to the otago museum.

now don't get me wrong it is one heck of a way to get around. up on the back of a fully grown bull tyrannosaur. nothing quite gives you the same respect from motorists (especially after larry's highly publicized attack on a car).

at the same time the last time i rode around with larry proved to be a big setback in my quest to distance myself from the tyrannosaur sterotype. more to the point i was bringing this sterotype into the LAST aspect of my new new zealand life that larry hadn't yet managed to complicate with his visit.

entering the lobby my coworkers at the museum were naturally astounded. fortunately as it's only spring here in dunedin there weren't too many visitors in museum. those few that were in had a range of reactions. all i know is that their impression of the otago museum will be quite a definitive one (the tyrrell has the same effect on people).

it was here that the moment i dreaded came. i was going to have to go and find ms. rhonwyn, and i really really REALLY didn't want larry to meet her at all (considering everyone else's reactions to larry thus far...).

"i'm going to have to go and work larry," i tried to gently ditch him.

"understood," larry dismissively said. "do what you must. i wish to examine this place that you've settled to work in."

well so much for a complicated ditching of larry. at the same time did he have to be so rude about my choice of workplace? than again it is larry... he is a JERK!

larry headed off to check out the museum... how he was going to get around such a tightly packed building was beyond me, but i sort of resigned to the fact that these days i couldn't stop him from causing trouble no matter where i took him...

all i know is that the paint he's scrapping off the roof isn't coming out of my pay!

i found ms. rhonwyn in the museum's lecture room (not our most impressive room... why i never mentioned it before) waiting for me.

"hello ms. rhonwyn," i tried to be all formal to try and avoid getting my punishment in the first sentence.

she simply walked up to me and whispered, "we're adapting a more culturally sensitive approach here from now on." suddenly she pressed her nose into my snout?!?

"what are you doing?" i ask confused after a moment.

"this is a maori greeting called a hongi," she replied calmly, and than back away...

"now traumador. you missed every shift we had you scheduled for this week," ms. rhonwyn stated gravely.

"i can explain," i interrupted.

"now this is something of a serious issue," she cut me back off. "for the first day that left the museum unguarded for two whole hours! i've had to hire another guard due to your unreliability."

a funny feeling erupted in my stomach hearing this. larry really should moonlight as a life destroyer!

"you didn't phone in," she went on. "not one phone call! upper management was furious. they were calling for your being fired immediately. which is a shame because i was noticing your hard work and effort these last few months."

why did i have to hear this?

"that is not taking into account you're dinosaur heritage," her voice suddenly lightened up. "i was able to convince them cell phones and schedules probably weren't a big part of traditional life 65 million years ago."

i had no idea what she was talking about now. "so uh is this where i go clear out my things? cause i'll level with you i haven't really used my locker."

ms. rhonwyn's face lite up with a smile. "oh you silly little dinosaur. you're not fired. i was able to use this new cultural tolerance and integration policy the museum is adapting to save you. just next time call in please. it makes it easier for me."

"why aren't you firing me?" i still couldn't believe my ears.

"it doesn't take a curator to make the connection between the timing of your disappearance and the large t-rex rampaging around on the news," ms. rhonwyn's face betrayed excitement. "what or sorry... who is it?"

"my cousin," i answered still not sure if i was in trouble with work or not?

"you know it than ha!" she got real excited. "i bet tracy in collections that you knew it, and that this wasn't just another random tyrannosaur wandering into town."

"seriously," ms. rhonwyn sounded a little giddy. "you actually know that other tyrannosaur? a full grown tyrannosaur, and you know it?"

"yeah," i replied matter of factly. i was trying not to take it personally. that's partially why i moved here to new zealand is that their not used to us dinosaurs... i'd spent my whole childhood growing up around all kinds of dinosaurs till i moved down here though!

"is there any chance i can meet it?" her eyes pleaded with me...

"uh," i hesitated. "are you sure mame? he doesn't exactly get along with people that well."

"traumador i'm not people," she grinned. "i work at a museum. i've heard stories about working with dinosaurs many times. i just haven't had the opportunity to until this year. part of why i hired you."

"i've always really wanted get to see some dinosaurs up close. now i've seen a miniature t-rex, but i'd love to see a fully grown one!" ms. rhonwyn explained.

"well he's in the building right now," i offered.

"really?" she sounded disappointed for some reason. "of all the luck... i have a meeting i have to goto.

"he'll probably be around for my whole shift," i try and facilitate.

"no good my meetings up in christchurch, and i won't be back till tomorrow," ms. rhonwyn counters. a meeting in christchurch? why does ms. rhonwyn have so many meetings out of town? "how about i come visit you guys in the garden when i get back. i'd love to see tyrannosaurs in 'the wild'. "

"okay," i answer half heartedly. i don't think it'd be a good idea to have her meet larry. everyone else in dunedin whose met him hasn't exactly been filled with pro tyrannosaur sentiment afterwards... ms. rhonwyn senses my hesitation.

"promise to call me, and i'll give you the rest of your cousin's visit off work," she entices me

"deal," i agree much more excitedly. that way i don't have to bring him here, and i can actively keep him away from people.

"well i should be off," ms. rhonwyn concludes looking at her watch. "i look forward to seeing you a little later in the week."

like that she heads off. i sit in the lecture room embracing the silence for a couple of minutes. it's been over a week since i've had time alone with my thoughts (as simple as they might be).

i reluctantly set out into the museum to find larry. granted as he is 14 metres long he's not exactly hard to spot. especially since he has to duck and crouch he's way through the human sized galleries of the otago. meaning that there is usually a part of him sticking out somewhere making him easy to spot even from the lobby.

as i approach him larry states rather condescendingly. "a most mediocre institution."

"larry," i grumble. like i haven't had to put up with enough the last week than more of larry's usual egotistical JERK! personality.

"what do you know about museums?" i challenge. larry only spent his hatchling year growing up in the tyrrell. once he was a year and half old he set off for a theme park where he was discovered by hollywood casting agents. not exactly a musume expert compared to someone who has spent the majority of his life in a museum (even after the tyrrell fired me i've had on and off jobs at the devil's coulee musuem, the vancouver eco-centre, and here at the otago).

"i know that this museum has no justification for making you a lowly security guard!" larry declared.

"what?" i ask not seeing that explanation coming...

"i've visited our various ceolorasaur relatives throughout the world in all manner of museums. this one though a nice new building compared to older museums, has one of the most pathetic collections of prehistoric creatures i've ever seen. a few marine reptiles and than some modern birds {i think larry was referring to the moas}," larry stated. "yet when a prime new extinct specimen, a tyrannosaurus rex no less, walks in through their front door offering to work for them they delegate him to a mere security guard."

"yeah but," i start thinking the museum had its reasons for doing so. i stall though unable to think of why.

"you're beginning to see cousin," larry says satisfied. "despite you're being a pygmy, in this you are nothing short of remarkable."

"anywhere else in the world would be begging you to be their star exhibit," larry went on. "this place forces you to be a mere security guard. that is my problem with this museum cousin."

though the otago museum had been treating me well (at least compared to the dinosaur crammed tyrrell) i was beginning to feel unfulfilled as just a security guard. i was hoping to work my way up to be something like a curator or a field collector...

though to be honest unlike what larry was getting at i didn't want to be an exhibit again. it's not much fun standing around all day while people come just to look at you, and you get in trouble if you break the illusion by trying to tell visitors more about yourself (rather than making them read all the signs... stupid sign makers union argument that talking exhibits would put musuem sign makers out of jobs! so sign makers lose their employment security what about us exhibit's rights?!? besides maybe if they had to compete a bit more than sign makers would put more effort into the displays!)

somehow larry had given me something to think about. i spent the whole rest of my shift wondering what life would be like if i could get one of my dream museum jobs...

larry meanwhile finished his tour of the museum just in time for quitting time. as we wandered the upper balcony of the museum i turned to him.

"do you seriously think i could be more than a security guard?" i asked larry. picturing myself as a respected and important part of a museum team.

"if i had my way you would," larry answered. "i learned of your being fired from the tyrrell too late to stop it."

i stop dead in my tracks. "what do you mean you could have stopped the tyrrell from firing me? you don't work for them."

larry's eyes took on an almost sinister glint. "we ceolurosaurs' have a lot more influence throughout the prehistoric influence than you might realize."

"you mean tyrannosaurs right?" i corrected. larry didn't responded. "you know cause we're the tyrannical king lizard's?"

"partially," larry responded. "that is why we have always ruled over the pack."

"pack?" i questioned.

"all in good time cousin," larry seemed to have regretted mentioning that in front of me. he quickly tried to change subject. "as for the tyrrell. they were fools for letting you go. i have rectified their hiring policies in the future so that no more ceolurosaurs are ever removed from their staff..."

i couldn't quite believe my ears. larry had actually answered one of my questions! more than that though... this was yet another mention of larry's to his having been at the tyrrell since my departure from drumheller... but since when had larry had any say over the tyrrell's policies?

"could you tell me about the tyrrell?" i asked hoping that larry's openness would continue.

larry seemed to sense that he had regained my full attention. "of course cousin, but first tell me more of this museum as we walk home. i have an idea, but i need more information on this place."

"okay," i answered. i wasn't sure why he needed to know about the otago, but if it made him happy than maybe he'd finally tell me about home!

we started to walk home, and i told larry many things about the behind the scenes working of the otago. he seemed very interested in their fossil collections and management.

little did either of us realize that waiting down the road a trap was being set. one we were about to walk into...

to be continued...

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