Middle-Aged Dinosaurs

shallow focus photography of yellow star lanterns

T-Rex and Triceratops lounged in their new IKEA armchairs, sipping warm herbal tea and admiring the stars.

The dinosaurs had purchased the chairs as a holiday gift to themselves. The chairs had a trendy name, but the dinosaurs were incapable of pronouncing it. Triceratops’s lips were not suited to the complicated Swedish furniture-word. T-Rex didn’t even try.

In addition to their utter unpronouncability, the IKEA armchairs had two primary attributes:

  1. They were ugly;
  2. They were uncomfortable.

The dinosaurs rationalized the purchase thus:

  1. They were cheap;
  2. The unnatural Swedish “leather” was supposedly impervious to stains.

The latter reasons outweighed the former attributes because the dinosaurs were attempting to raise a human offspring, as well as a slobberbeast puppy. Both were messy. T-Rex wanted to simplify her housework with easy-to-clean furniture, while Triceratops wanted to save money when they would, inevitably, have to replace the chairs.

The dinosaurs both squirmed, contorting their stiff middle-aged bodies into surprising positions in hopes of achieving some level of comfort.

T-Rex turned sideways, leaning against the armrest. She settled in and sighed, then reached for her cup. “This new tea is fragrant.”

“Mmm,” Triceratops agreed. He pushed into the corner of his chair, slunching down to rest his pointy head against the ridiculously short seat back.

T-Rex groaned and retrieved two pillows from the couch, handing one to Triceratops. She eased back into her chair with the pillow behind her. After bit more jostling, she finally relaxed. “I quite enjoyed this holiday,” she said.

“It was fine.” Triceratops mashed his pillow into place. “But I’m glad it’s almost over.”

Unbeknownst to the elder dinosaurs, their offspring was sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last piece of pumpkin pie. He hunkered behind the cabinet, chewing quietly while eavesdropping on his parents. Pumpkin custard slopped onto the floor.

“I believe our new armchairs are not perfect,” Triceratops said.

T-Rex nodded. “My joints are too old for this modern furniture.”

“At least the offspring seems pleased with his holiday gifts.”

“Especially that video doodad. What’s it called?”

“I forget.”

From his hiding place, the offspring rolled his eyes.

“Um. Is it a Twitch?” T-Rex asked.

“I don’t think so. Snitch?”

The offspring, still hidden behind the kitchen cabinet, gaped and shook his head.

“That doesn’t sound right.” T-Rex’s face scrunched as she tried to remember what the doodad’s box looked like. “Maybe it’s a Snatch?”

Triceratops snorted, but his response was interrupted.

“Oh my god!” the offspring bellowed as he stomped from behind the kitchen counter, waving his arms. “You two can’t remember anything. It’s a Switch! Augh.” He tramped back to his room, raving about how he was probably going to die from parent-induced embarrassment. Bits of pie crust scattered around him with each exclamation. The slobberbeast followed, licking up the crumbs and leaving a trail of sticky drool in his wake.

The dinosaurs waited for the melodrama to subside, then resumed their conversation.

“He’s extremely emotional.”

“He’s at that age.”

“I understand middle-school offspring are often embarrassed by their dinosaur parents.”

“Well then, I guess we’re doing it right.”

“Mmm. Our parenting is adequate. We should have a reward.”

“I agree. Let’s return these unpronounceable chairs to IKEA tomorrow.”

The dinosaur parents took their pillows and moved to the floor. They snuggled, and savored their holiday tea, satisfied in their place under the shooting stars.

27 thoughts on “Middle-Aged Dinosaurs

  1. I really like what you did here with the children’s storybook feel. The structure works well and was engaging. I also like how calm and matter-of-fact the dinosaur parents are — that was a nice way to emphasise the humour in this piece.

    The dinosaur parents forgetting/not remembering the name of the video device worked well to show how out of touch they were with the offspring, but it felt a little laboured. Having each of them offer alternative names (talking, one after the other in hurried succession) without the intervening exposition could work to tighten that up.

    You did such a nice job of keeping this relatable, and allowing the reader to inhabit the space of a dinosaur parent (those of us who’ve been through That Age with our kids, feel for these dinos!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Have you played games on it? We’ve been playing that crazy cooking game, where you work together in a kitchen. It’s fun! But definitely don’t get confused and call it the wrong name. :/

      Like

  2. Hehehe this is so relatable! I’ll admit, at the start, I thought the dinosaurs were just toys on the uncomfortable, unpronounceable, chairs, but once I realized, I chuckled at your cleverness. Loved the chatter and interplay between you two and the sweet little touch at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you think the fiction-y feel of the dinosaur names is too much to be classified as nonfic? I debated which grid to post on, but since it’s all true (except I’m not really a T-Rex), I thought nonfic was best. I really have no idea what I’m doing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful work, Myna. Love the uncomfortableness, the not-so-covert robbery in the kitchen and especially the misnaming. This is our lives to a ‘T’!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooh, I liked the whimsical and self-deprecating nature of this so much. It was fun to read and easy to visualize the parent characters and the child too as he hid and listened to them struggle to remember. I found this so charmingly relatable. I can’t wait to read more of your work. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a tremendous, funny and absolutely true jaunt into parenthood and the chasm between parents and offspring! I loved all of it! You use so many perfect words/newly invented words: “slobberbeast,” “slunching,” “slopped,” “Snatch”! I know the word “creative” always precedes “nonfiction,” but this is about as nonfiction as it gets. Wonderful story!

    Liked by 1 person

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