a damage bench mark (the visitor part 9) (enemy! part 4)

only a few more days before my cousin larry has to head off to his audition with peter jackson elsewhere in new zealand. though i have to say initially larry's unannounced visit produced nothing but trouble, the last couple days i've been finding him far less of a JERK! and almost tolerable.

he still is a bit of an egotist, human hater, and general condescending to me, but compared to times past (especially when i bumped into him in vancouver) he is much more agreeable than i recall him ever being...

that having been said there are a large number of outstanding questions larry still hasn't answered since he arrived:
  • why is he visiting me period (or as they call it here in new zealand full stop!)?

  • why was he even at the tyrrell (he hates museums)?

  • how did he find out i was in new zealand in the first place (only 3 people know i'm down here!)?

  • what movie is he auditioning for with peter jackson?

i was determined that today i was going to get the answer to at least one of these questions!

as we walked home from my current workplace the otago Museum (which we had just been exploring) i decided that the tyrrell was the easiest of these to pursue.

as larry and i entered the botanic garden (my current home) we'd entered into a comfortable silence walking. which to be honest is a little weird. normally in the past me and larry would have nothing but very UNcomfortable silences. if we weren't arguing about something...

i decided to risk this quiet truce. "larry could i ask you about the tyrrell?" i ventured as politely and casually as i could.

larry delayed... it was almost as if he were deciding whether it'd be better of him to answer or not... "of course cousin," he answered after a clear deliberation in his head.

alright we were in business i thought! "when were you there," i eagerly asked. i hadn't been at the tyrrell since x-mas last year...

"i popped into drumheller for a visit with my mom {known to most humans as black beauty the tyrannosaur} in july," larry answered.

that made sense. though larry has never been a fan of the confinement of museums he is something of a family dinosaur, and he did have a habit of visiting his mom at least once a year. that was the majority of the times i'd seen him actually in my life come to think of it.

"how is aunt black beauty?" i asked. i'd always gotten along fine with larry's mother (and my mom's sister).

"she is very well," larry responded smugly. "they finished some big renovations at the museum earlier this year, and my mother's display area was majorly upgraded."

the renovations weren't completely news to me. i'd seen the beginning of them back during my attempt to return to drumheller last year. aunt black beauty's area was majorly torn up at that point, but i had no idea it had been completed...

"that's great news," i acknowledged. it was good to hear that at least one of the tyrannosaurs at the museum was doing well. there was another i cared about far more though. "and how is... my mother?"

though i'm not sure he wished to express it, but larry's body language made it as though he had the satisfaction of making a kill during a hunt when i asked this question. an odd description i know, but i know my tyrannosaur body language (at least compared to a most humans!).

"she misses you traumador," he stated coldly. "and she was most distraught learning you'd moved this far away from her."

that cut a little deep. for a moment i was silenced by guilt. "is she really mad at me?" i ventured.

"saddened i'd say rather than mad. you know how perpetually melancholy skeletal dinosaurs are," larry corrected me.

it was true. fossilized dinosaurs being not truly alive were more an emotional imprint of their former selves, and as they are still aware that they've lost their bodies and minds tend to be sad about it...

guilt still numbed my head a bit. "other than my making her sad," i gulped. "is she doing okay?"

"yes," larry simply answered. "she would very much like for you to return to somewhere near drumheller though."

returning to north america really wasn't an option right now. i didn't have the money for it (i'd had to smuggle myself into new zealand as was the first time), and more to the point i'd be returning to the old problem of too many dinosaurs there that i had already fled.

desperate to change subject. "what about lillian?" i asked. lillian was one subject that already made me feel a little better. she's so dreamy..."she didn't happen to mention me did she?"

larry's posture once again showed he felt satisfaction like a kill, but his voice was somewhat angry and resentful. "lillian no longer works at the royal tyrrell museum. serves the absconder right."

"WHAT?!?" i thought out loud. i was unable to believe my ears!

lillian had been the museum's mascot for years! their star attraction... why in a million years would they get rid of such a magnificent specimen... (especially considering that curvy tail, those recurved talons, perfect teeth, and the body of a goddess... excuse me people of the innerweb i need to find a drool collecting bucket for a second)

i'd heard rumours before i was fired, that lillian might be leaving the museum. in fact it was my telling her about those rumours that ruined my asking her out way back in yesteryear.

and what did larry mean by absconder? what was lillian absconding from?

"yes the museum was," larry paused. for some reason he was considering he's wording carefully for some reason, and it wasn't to shield my feelings for lillian. "the museum was persuaded to consider more 'cooperative' albertosaurs to represent them to the public. lillian was too head strong and self-absorbed."

funny wording coming from larry. "self-absorbed" ha... i'd still say larry takes the cake for that one over lillian. though to be fair lillian was sort of a matriarch... oh sorry that is the tyrannosaur way of saying "princess" or spoiled girl. in a t-rex pack the alpha females (or royalty) are matriarchs.

"wait a minute you're saying the museum hired new albertosaurs to replace her? why would they do that?" i asked in disbelief. wait a second. though i didn't know it at the time i'd met her replacements... during my return to the museum i'd run into a very aggressive and rude pack of albertosaurs in the lobby. those must have been them. where else was the museum going to get a pack of living albertosaurs on short notice?

i pushed further confused by a part of larry's answer. "who persuaded the museum? not lillian?"

"the pack," larry instinctively whispered in a droning voice. i know he didn't mean to answer that because he snapped his head about and his voice became very calculated. "an outside party to the museum that very much has important dinosaurs interests at heart. something museums tend not to take into account."

"what outside party?" i demanded. "i've spent my whole life around museums. dinosaur heavy ones at that, and i'd never heard of such a group helping dinosaurs out."

"you're young still cousin," larry condescendingly replied. "you were never made aware of it's existence because you had not yet come of age. i can see you have many questions about this. which is good. it is why i have come to visit you."

finally larry was going to answer my biggest question. why was he here to see me at all!

that is he would have... had we not be drastically interrupted!!!

unbeknownst to us while we had entered the botanic garden we had been watched... no watched isn't the wrong word... we were being hunted...

we tyrannosaurs don't have the best bewaring instincts. in the cretaceous as the top predators of our environments (minus around water... we still had to be careful of giant crocodiles) we had little to fear... of course with the extinction everything's changed except our ancient instincts... humans can be very much an equal top predator to us... only more cunning and sneaky!

one of larry's actions in new zealand had angered a particularly dangerous human into action...

the germ-man had set out to lay a trap for me and larry in retaliation for larry's terrifying him the other day...

earlier in the day the germ-man had devised the most ironic of revenges. during the flood dunedin had a little while ago i'd tried to make up to the germ-man for eating his favourite dish by giving him some bananas.

"let us see lizard," he jokingly said to himself. "you ate one schnitzel, but gave me 5 bananas in return. i'd say that is one too many. i shall have to give it back to you."

only the germ-man could have devised a way to use a banana against us...

for you see once you've eaten a banana you're left with a peel... something i'd never have thought of. partially because i don't eat fruit under any circumstances (they make me literally sick in my predatory stomach), and also i never would contemplate turning food into a weapon.

we were about to learn one of the diabolical uses for fruit.

the germ-man had prowled the botanic garden all day waiting for us to pass by. in a different life he would have made an excellent tyrannosaur. patiently and contently stalking his quarry. savouring the anticipation of the perfect moment to strike...

the only problem with this is that we tyrannosaurs WERE the quarry! in that different life it would have been some poor ornithischian who'd have to worry. not us...

it just so happened that the perfect moment for the germ-man to strike was right as larry prepared to tell me his true reasons for coming to see me...

the germ-man of course had no perception of the ill timing of his attack. nor would he have cared. in fact knowing him he probably would have been twice as happy...

throwing his banana peel carefully into position the trap was set.

doesn't look like much does it. to be frank it isn't really...

unless you put 6 tonnes of weight balanced solely on one leg on top of it...

in which case something very much like this would happen...

i wasn't sure which was louder... larry completely destroying one of the benches of bench hill or the bellow of pain larry emitted when he hit...

needless to say it was just a lucky thing that no one had been sitting on bench hill... just imagine that same 6 tonnes needed for this equation to work in the first place running over a person!?!

larry though not seriously hurt fortunantly (we t-rexs are made tough) was somewhat stunned and disoriented after his tumble. certainly in no shape or condition to finish our conversation.
he staggered off with a minor limp to his clearing to rest off the minor injuries he'd recieved from the fall.

the germ-man who'd gone unnoticed simply enjoyed the whole incident unfold from his hiding place.

"wunderbar," he laughed. "those stupid lizards will never suspect, with their brains, that are tiny and small that this was my doing."

"if only there were some way i could share this most joyous of spectacles with others," he mused.

"ah but of course!" something in his wicked mind schemed. "with but one call, on my phone... oh my lizard friends i have only begun with you."

the germ-man cackled to himself as he ran off to enact his new plan... one that would have HUGE implications...

meanwhile i had implications from the germ-mans first stunt as was. my landlord ben the gardener was furious to say the least as the destruction of two of the benches on bench hill among other things. i got a call from him within 15 minutes of larry's falling, and him demanding to see me at the garden's cafe/information centre.

"do you have any idea how much those benches cost traumador?!?" he demanded and exclaimed at the same time. "what if someone had been sitting on them!?!"

"no idea, and they'd have been squished," i answered glummly.

"when i agreed to let your cousin to stay here you promised that nothing drastic would happen!" ben challenged.

"problems actually," i corrected. ben's face got really angry looking (in human body language... a lot different than t-rex... just pointing out i can read both species body language... can get confusing for me sometimes). so i quickly added. "but i can see this being a bit of a problem."

" 'a bit of a problem'. that's the understatement of the month," ben grumbled.

"traumador, do you have any idea how hard it is for me right now not to just chuck the two of you out of my garden?" ben pleaded.

"probably pretty hard," i tried to reassure him. i had to get him on my side right now!

"seriously though ben i swear it was an accident." i had no idea about the germ-mans involvement... yet... "larry just tripped. it'd be like kicking out all the little kids who fall over in the gardens and squish grass in the garden every day..."

"it's not that simple traumador," ben frustratedly responded. he was trying to be nice, but the 'gravity' of the situation was 'weighting' him down (i'm trying to 'lighten' this part of the story... get it ;p ). "even if i ignore the fact that the next time your cousin trips he could hurt or kill someone. i still have two demolished expensive benches to replace!"

than an idea popped into my peanut sized brain! "okay the benches i can help you with," i offered. "we'll replace them."

"on a security guards salary?" ben was skeptical.

"no a hollywood star's," i rebuttaled. "larry's the richest dinosaur actor in history. he can totally afford two new benches."

ben stood thinking about it.

"please," i pleaded. "it takes care of the problem he caused, and he didn't mean it. you should see the bruises and cuts on his back from the tumble. larry didn't do it intentionally."

than ben's face lightened back to close to his normal chipper happy self. "alright. so long as i have the money by tomorrow," he paused. "and tell your cousin not to trip anymore in the gardens! anywhere else, but if it's here i'll have to kick you two out traum."

great. so i now had to not only keep larry from being larry, but i had to prevent chance circumstances too!

that and now i had to tell larry i needed more money from him...

and i didn't get the answer to my question about why larry is here...

worse of all the germ-man had one more huge surprise in store for us!

to be continued...

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