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The Ride of Our Lives

Chapter Text

Mr. Pteranodon woke up to the pitter-patter of tiny feet on his face. There were feet on his face. They were stepping on him. There were claws. There were claws in his face. There was screaming.

"Dad! Dad!" Shiny was jumping up and down on his face.

"Why was this the way you chose to awaken me?" Dad shouted back. "You could have done literally anything else to wake me up and it would have worked just as well."

Shiny ignored her father. "We found something! Don thinks it's a new specimen, and Buddy has three hypotheses that all contradict each other."

Dad wiped the dirt from aging face. He knew a good thirteen dinosaurs who would have paid top dollar to be woken up by pteranodon feet, but he was not one of those brave souls.

"Dad, hurry up, you're so slow! You're getting older every day." Shiny urged after just a few moments.

Mr. Pteranodon looked over at the indent in the nest where his wife sometimes was. Ever since the erectile dysfunction kicked in, his wife had been getting friskier and friskier, as well as farther away each night. He thought of his doctor, who had jokingly referred to his condition as "e-reptile dysfunction." His wife thought it was funny. He did not.

He slumped out of the nest and drearily followed his sparkling daughter. "Okay, Shiny, what the hell did you wake me up at ass-o'-clock in the morning to show me?"

Shiny motioned to the mound of dirt. Tiny popped her head up from behind the dirt. "Don found some rocks. End of story."

Dad sighed and sighed some more. "Should have used a better condom," he grumbled to himself on his way back.

Dad could hear Don's voice behind him. "Hey look, Buddy! There's a creepy note attached to the face-shaped one."

Dad immediately ran back and kicked dirt into all of his children's eyes, nabbing the note in the confusion and swallowing it whole. Dad stared at his writhing kids as the realization that he'd just ingested Larry's blood sunk in. "Well, kids, I think you found some dinosaur bones! They must be from the Triassic period. A really long time ago. A very long time ago."

Buddy held his head wide. "Aha! That goes with hypothesis #2. The Government Cover-Up of Experimentation on Cloning Dead Dinosaurs From Skeletal Remains, or as I like to call it, the Gover-Cover-Boner-Cloner."

Dad nodded frantically. "That is exactly the case. That's the way the cookie crumbles, biz-natch."

As Dad tried to conceal his guilt, Don was busy hauling all of the bones back to his collection. "These bones are going in my cool-lection," Don asserted. The Dad gave him a half-hearted thumbs up.

Tiny shuffled. "Man, all of this exploration and finding things reminds me of when we were just young lads, riding aboard that train." She closed her eyes and opened her mouth. "aaaAAAaaa." She was getting a little more avant-garde with her music these days.

Shiny covered her earholes against Tiny's debatably-improved singing. "How about we go on there again, for old time's sake?"

"You were on there, like, last week," Dad grumbled through gritted teeth.

Tiny finished screaming, and began screeching. "Dinosaur Train! Dinosaur Train!"

Buddy nodded. "I still have a lot of questions for the conductor."

"Like how those bones got here," Don strained, still lugging them back.

"WHAT A MYSTERY," Dad added in the middle of Don's sentence.

Buddy assessed his hormonal state. "I'm not too pubey right now, so we should go while we have the chance."

The only way Dad was getting out of this one was to recount the truth of the brutal murder of his former neighbor and never friend, Larry. And there was no fuck in heck that schliz was gonna happen. So he swallowed his pride and lead his "team" to what he considered the physical manifestation of all that was wrong in his life, the Dinosaur Train.

He checked the schedule. The train wasn't supposed to arrive for another full hour. That meant that he had to deal with his kids on his own time for a whole fucking hour. "Oh, great…" he groaned.

After a few minutes of finger tapping and foot tapping, one curious mind spoke up. It was Tiny. "Dad. I'm bored. I've GOTta do a thing! I need to replace my tampon. I'm leaking all over Shiny. It's making her purple."

Buddy raised his hand. "You know, I've been thinking about these stations. We've walked past them countless times but we've never gone inside. Maybe they'll have a bathroom in there." Buddy patted his six pack.

Don walked around the corner from the other side of the station, holding a wrapped 6-inch sandwich. Tiny gave him the death stare. "Where the HELL did you get that?"

Don was taken aback. "I bought it. They sell a lot of stuff inside, and it's all tax-free because we're on the time border."

Dad was practically stomping a hole in the floor at this point. "I made it very clear to you never to leave my sight."

"You told me that when I was seven years old. I go in there like every time we're here, they know me by name."

"And just where in the balls did you get all this cash, bucko?"

"I've been selling jewelry for five years. What do you think I've been doing with all the stuff I collect?"

Dad crossed his wings with difficulty. "You little shithead. You'd better lick this whole platform clean or I'm taking away your Zune," he growled as he backed into the building. Don sighed and obeyed that command as his family slammed the convenience store's door shut behind them.

The crew turned around and Dad instinctively started searching for the beer cave. When he entered the chilly room, he was surprised to find that, not only were there vast amounts of the Bud Light Brew he knew so well, but also many new and exciting varieties of booze available. "What the fuck's a rum? Whoa! You can buy things with more than 3% alcohol content? Shiiiiit. That's a lotta slonk water for my hoo-hah."

Meanwhile, Buddy and the sunshine girls were in awe of the wide selection. Tiny said, "I've never even seen half of these foods. What kind of vegetables are these? What are 'gorilla chunks?' Is that even a real animal? Where the hell are they getting these from?"

"More like when are they getting these from?" Buddy made a snappy comeback. He smirked and punched his sister in the shoulder. She fell over.

As Tiny and Buddy shuffled through the exotic fruits and shitty souvenirs, an Earth-shaking scream emanated from the meat aisle. Buddy knocked over a disgruntled janitor with his tail as the came to answer Shiny's call.

The blue girl was staring at a single item, mouthing the words "What the fuck" over and over to herself. Tiny shook her sister up and down. "SHINY YOU'VE GOT TO CALM DOWN." But just at that point, Tiny also turned to the fridge and read aloud the label on the meat Shiny was pointing at with all four of her limbs.

"P-p-puh-puh-pteranodon meat?" Tiny shuddered.

"Aw, cool, they have this here?" Buddy chimed in, opening the door and grabbing two bags of it. "I've always wanted to try this stuff."

He walked to the counter, leaving his shattered kin in the dust. "What in Christ's Holy Name is Wrong with You?!" Tiny screamed.

Buddy found his Dad at the counter waiting on his long line of vodka bottles to be scanned. "Hey, Dad, mind if I ring this up with your stuff?"

"Yeah sure that's fine Don," Dad panted excitedly. His dilated eyes diligently followed each bottle of vodka as they rolled down the conveyor belt and into the bag.

After they'd completed their purchase, a familiar whistle sounded from the distance. It was Laura's queef, which signaled the train was here. "The train calls me," Buddy said. "I must board that train."

The conductor removed his hat, revealing another hat underneath. "Board this train," he ordered. "Board this train."

Chapter Text

The Pteranodon Club boarded the train. "They have boarded this train," the Troodon cast and crew spoke in unison, clapping two times.

Shiny cautiously took a seat. "Are you sure it's only been a week since we last were here? It feels a lot different." Most of the seats had been replaced with folding chairs. Some of them were barely opened, and others were opened way too much, and all of them were bolted in place so that the position could not be adjusted. Tiny's beak was touching the ground.

The Conductor stood beside the Pteranodon family and punched their cards, train or otherwise. "So what brings you folks to this Dinosaur Train after all these years?" he asked as he handed them a bowl of vague white cubes labeled "SUSTENANCE." The kids munched on the chunks uncomfortably.

"Has it really been years?" Buddy asked, practically standing in his horizontal chair.

"Time Tunnel," the Conductor explained. "I ask again, what brings you to this Dinosaur Train?"

Buddy stared off into the distance. "Tiny, you handle this. I can't stop thinking about puberty and these changes my body is going through."

Mr. Pteranodon set down the bottle he was already half-finished with. "Listen, pal… they want to learn about, like, you know."

The Conductor crossed his arms. "No, I don't know."

Dad stumbled to a standing position. "Okay, you know, like, you gotta teach these kids about, like, you know, give us a run-down of… ALL of the dinosaur, about the dinosaur, what happens… and what doesn't happen. Just like, a big stream, of all the topics, on the dinosaur. From the beginning to point B, from point A to… You gotta do it, man. They can be filled with more things in their heads, look at Shiny, she doesn't know anything, she doesn't know how to become a REAL man, she doesn't know where the FUCK the hole is. She doesn't know HOW those bones got there. And Don, and Buddy, he reminds me of myself at the age, the ripe age. He reminds me of all the ages I went through… One, Two… Three…"

The Conductor stared blankly.

"... Four."

The conductor put his hat back on. "I guess it's really time for… that lesson." He reached within his genital slit and pulled out the key. "This key opens the door behind the projector. I have saved this key until the moment was right. And today, well… might as well get it over with."

The orange man slipped the key into the socket, and turned it very, very slowly, as the Pterandon family and Don looked onward with awe and suspense.

"Welcome to…" The Conductor whispered a little too quietly, "The life cycle." Nobody heard him.

The children went first, but the Conductor then shot his arm out. "No way, José," the Conductor said. "This journey is 18 minus."

The family tripped over each other and fell through the black curtain. With a bloody squelch, they landed on a floor of flesh pulsating and slowly breathing.

Tiny was the first to react. "Oh boy, this looks just like one of Don's holes."

"Well, that's partially true," the conductor chuckled. "Troodon joke."

As they uncomfortably shuffled through the stench, the area became more well-lit as if by candlelight. The conductor was holding a candle. "This is where all life begins-" he started.

"In Mom's vagina?" Shiny raised her hand.

"Right you are! Unfortunately, this isn't a genuine vagina. The best we could afford was a colon from a brontosaurus, but you get the idea."

"It REEKS in here!" Buddy complained, the one time he wasn't bragging about his superior sense of smell. "Did you even clean out the shitmounds?"

The Conductor shook his head. "We've gotta have authenticity. A working colon is FILLED with feces. Now follow me through the sphincter, it will set you free."

The group of dinosaurs all pushed their way out, and were greeted by a blank white room with no furniture and no visible light source, even though it was the brightest place they'd ever seen. "Why is it so shiny?" said Shiny. "I think I like it but I can't tell because I can't feel my eyes."

"Well, Shiny," The conductor said, waving his hand around as he tried to find Shiny's shoulder. "When you first come out of the womb, everything is bright and new."

Buddy fell to the floor coughing. "It smells even worse in here and I can't see anything, what's happening?"

After five full minutes, their eyes had all finally adjusted and they could peer into the room around them. Eggs were falling out from between dinosaurs' legs in droves. Most of them were cracking, but some of them survived. They were all screeching in what looked like pain, but was in fact, a cry for higher wages. The words "food stamps food stamps" along with the splattering of egg matter created a deafening soundscape around them.

The conductor proudly put his hands on his hips. "Well, I think this explains itself." He motioned for the blinded, deafened children to follow him. "On to the next segment."

"I don't get it," all of them shouted.

"You will," the Conductor reassured.

While the kids were having their world views shattered, Dad's life was similarly crumbling around him. With alcohol churning in his bloodstream like the pancreatic disease he had yet to find out about, his brain began to process the world around him in a way he hadn't experienced in years. No longer was he focused on saving his children from their own stupid antics, but rather on indulging himself in even worse antics. He did not see the other passengers as fellow adults, but as walking genitals with pointless voices. He knew what he needed was to find the right combination of words to get him into that sweet pa-hoo-saay. It was time for him to make his move.

His eyes locked onto his first potential mate, a uniformed employee whose gender, age, and species mattered none to the beast of passion that had awakened in the middle-aged Mr. Pteranodon. He instinctively puffed up his chest and marched his unimpressive body over to his mystery date.

He slicked back the hair he didn't have. "You've got a body. I've got a body. Let's salt up those nuts and shimmy on down."

The employee looked distraught. "Who are you?"

Dad couldn't break his chain now. "Your legs are like two bones sticking out of the succulent corn dog that is your private ham."

"What are you trying to tell me?"

He had to keep going. "You make me feel like I'm bloated with gas, but in my penis, and the gas is the blood rushing to me penis."

The employee was already informing the proper authorities. Several troodons had come to seize the hyper-aroused monster, who began indiscriminately grinding on them.

Chapter Text

The children were walking through the second tunnel, which was notably longer and quieter than the train cars usually were. Buddy's good nose picked up something much different in this hallway than the last hallway. "What's all this now? I'm feeling weird."

The conductor twirled his baton once. "That's the fresh scent of pheromones, Buddy. We're pumping this car full of every single kind we could find."

"Could you SPEAK UP?" Don yelled in unbridled fury. "I'm getting kind of TIRED of having to STRAIN my ears to MAKE out whatever the FFFUCK you're saying."

Shiny toppled into her brother's arms. "Don, I feel so sorry you have to deal with this problem. I understand how you feel, and I want to do everything in my power to make you and everyone else feel safe and loved." She petted Don's head and cried for him.

Tiny was struggling to keep up with her family as saliva dripped from her mouth, mucus dripped from her nose, viscous tears dripped from her eyes, and sweat drenched her frail body. "Why ish thith habbening?" she struggled to say.

By the time they made it out of the chemical cave, Buddy had resolved to live and die for the good of the colony. Luckily, these feelings were quickly dispelled when the conductor flicked a switch on the wall that turned off the sprinklers and opened the elevator-like door. "You've seen the pheromones, now get ready for the hormones."

A line of five curtained doors were spread out in front of the tweens. "Alright, contestants. Behind four of these doors is the time of your life. But one of them contains the Zonk. Which door do you choose?"

Tiny pulled the last of the fluids out of her nose. "Are you serious? Do we actually have to do this?"

The Conductor gave her the business look. "I don't think you understand just how important this is, Tiny. It is tradition."

Don sighed. "We might as well get it over with." He took it upon himself to take the first step. He waited in front of his curtain for his siblings to choose.

After they had all decided on their destinies, the Conductor flicked back the leftover curtain. "You could've won the noose 'n' knife! Congratulations on dodging that Zonk," he smiled emptily. "Now go enjoy your prize."

Buddy pushed his hands through the silken drapes and entered the moist room. A high-pitched electronic whir filled the area, and every step Buddy took created a loud splash in whatever lukewarm liquid covered the floor. "This place looks like it hasn't been used for a long time," Buddy hypothesized.

He crept forward until his head bumped into a metal pipe, echoing off the tinny metal walls of the room, giving him some perspective on its size. "This must be a pretty wide car," he deduced. "How can this even fit on the train?"

As the orange theropod felt along the wall for some sort of clue, he could feel his pubic urges creeping down his shaft. "Dang it. With this shit again," he grumbled, starting to do a few more things to the wall.

As he subconsciously humped, he felt a small protrusion from the wall. "What was that?" Buddy thought for a moment before replacing that thought with "Man, that felt good on my schlong." He grazed the protrusion again with his hand and realized it was switch. He flicked it in hopes it would turn on the lights. It didn't.

A loud feedback noise screeched from the ceiling. "Hello, hello! Welcome to the sideshow!" a voice coughed from the speaker. "You must be here on the Grand Conductor Special Course. Please make yourself comfortable in the deluxe seating area." A faded yellow spotlight shone down from above, illuminating a single rotting tree stump.

Buddy reluctantly sat down on the decayed wood, and then sat next to it instead. "Now sit back and enjoy. I hope you brought an umbrella, because you might get a little wet," the voice said. Buddy had little time to process how similar the voice was to the Conductor's before an out-of-tune piano blared his concerns away.

The spotlight moved shakily from Buddy's chair to the stage. A lone figure stood dead center, completely shrouded by a green cape. A foghorn sounded as an indication to begin the show. A strobe light lit up behind the stranger, and they whisked their cape in away in one fell swoop. As they began to rotate rapidly on a string, spraying piss in all directions, Buddy quickly managed to distinguish who it was.

"Mom…?" Buddy stammered just moments before his peepers were hosed down with The Piss. "Mom, what the fuck are you doing here?" he screamed through slight eye pain and severe emotional pain.

"Oh, hello, son of mine!" Mrs. Pteranodon called out as she continued spinning. "So nice to see you here. How have you been?"

Buddy rubbed the urine from his face, "Mom, what is this? How did you get here? How long has this been going on? Is this why you haven't been coming home?"

Mom aimed her lemonade stream back at Buddy's face. "Are you here alone or are your brother and sisters here? Sometimes I miss you guys."

"Yeah, they're in the other room, but why are you dodging my questions?" Buddy gagged. Mom excitedly undid her straps and whirlpooled to the floor in a helix pattern. She gave her adopted son a wet hug and pulled him along through the now-illuminated exit.

The others were there, waiting uncomfortably. The Conductor was leading them in a group discussion on their experiences. "So, kids," he conducted, "describe what happened."

Tiny sparked the topic, "I was given two ropes and a triceratops walked up to me and started screaming 'whip me, whip me,' endlessly. He didn't stop until I gave him the whips and told him to whip himself, and then he said 'Thank you, master,' and then I left."

Shiny continued, visibly uneasy. "I went in there and it was like, an empty classroom, and I heard someone whisper the word 'intercourse' once, but I don't know who it was or what I was supposed to do with that information."

"And how did that make you feel, Shiny?" the Conductor wrote this down and showed it to Shiny.

"Well-" Shiny started.

"WITH THE PAPER," the Conductor reiterated. Shiny groaned and wrote the answer.

Don shrugged. "Nothing that bad happened in mine. Someone in a gimp mask told me to lay down on the slab of meat in front of me and wait for further instruction. Then the birds fell from the ceiling, some of them dead and some alive. The living birds ate the dead birds and the dead birds got eaten by the living birds. Then three more masked dinos came out and started cutting the meat around me until it was perfectly shaped like me. They told me to sit tight while they put the meat on the grill and chanted my name. Then one of them whipped out the hummus and started rubbing it on their crotch and I was like 'Oh I know where this is going.' But then my watch was beeping and I knew I had to go take my afternoon multivitamin so I had to leave before anything cool could happen."

His sisters didn't want to look at him right now. The Conductor stood up and motioned to the door. "Well done. Shall we move on?"

But Tiny said, "Wait, there's one more… Mom?"

"Hi, kids!" Mrs. Pteranodon smiled, one hand on Buddy, who clearly needed a moment.

The other hand…

The father's eyes slowly opened and were immediately shielded by his wing. It was way too bright. It was much brighter than his future was ever going to be. The rickety train tracks did not do his full-body migraine any favors. A thoughtful Troodon wiped his forehead with a wet cloth and softly asked, "How are you feeling, Mr. Pteranodon?"

Dad moaned in pain. "For the suck of fuck, get these ice cubes off of my head and stop screaming at me." He rolled off the makeshift bed. "UUUUUUGH," he moaned once more, "Why am I on the Dinosaur Train? Why does it hurt? What happened? I'm so fucking hungry but I still need to throw up."

One of the Troodons sympathetically handed him a bucket but was thanked only with horrid dry heaves. "Well, sir," the worker said, "You blacked out after Laura rejected you and you tried to vent your frustration by screaming into the smokestack. You must have lost consciousness from the fumes because you fell off the train. You're super lucky she still had it in her to save you. To put it lightly, Mr. Pteranodon, well, you were being kind of a major-league douche-stack. We had to confiscate the rest of your vodka for the safety of the passengers."

Dad covered his ruined mug in shame. "Aw, shucks," he burped. "I am so sorry. What are the damages?"

"$10,000 in property damage and immeasurable amounts in disturbing the peace. But we've taken care of it."

"Mmmuuuh," Dad bawled. "Why aren't you making me pay for this? It's my fault."

The worker nudged another one, not wanting to be the one to deal with this. The other one sat down, legs crossed. "We see the kind of shit you have to put up with." The other Troodons all nodded together at the same time. "We figured there might be some deeper stuff happening when we saw all those bottles."

"You didn't even buy the good jazz!" another employee interrupted from the back of the room.

"We just wanted to let you know that we're here to talk if you need us. But make it snappy, we've all gotta get back to work in like 20 minutes."

"Time Tunnel!" Laura announced.

"15 minutes."

Dad sat up - the most difficult thing he'd ever done - and looked around the room. "I'm a travesty," he said.

"We're well aware of that," said a more frustrated Troodon. "We need specifics, damn it. This isn't a charity. We need the juicy bits for my article in the Troobune (Troodon Tribune)."

Mr. Pteranodon rubbed his eyes for the third time. "Well, guys, I've gotta come clean. It's something I haven't told anybody, and it's something I've been struggling with for the past six months. My life is misery."

"Cut the shit, cumsack, we're running out of time and nobody's steering the train."

"The real truth... is that my…" he sniffled and held back tears. "My clock isn't ticking."

"...What?"

"You know... my guitar is out-of-tune."

"...What?"

"You know… my champagne is flat."

"What are trying to SAY?"

"You know… my rocket won't launch."

"Just give us a straight answer!"

Mr. Pteranodon stood up. "I'm talking about my phallus, dick, prick, member, tool, organ, cock, wang, knob, chopper, plonker, dong, winkle, joystick, pecker, John Thomas, weenie, whang, tadger, schlong, pizzle, willie, willy, tockley. I. CANNOT. GET. ERECT."

The workers all reacted differently. One fell to the floor laughing uncontrollably. One insulted him and made fun of his condition. One sidled away as they had the same problem. One sidled away as they were getting horny just thinking about it. And a group of them stormed off, grumbling about how they'd wasted so much time. None remained.

Mr. Pteranodon curled up in the fetal position. It had gone a little better than he had expected it to.

Chapter Text

A large mahogany door stood between the Pteranodon family and the final stage of the lesson. "It's been a journey," the Conductor said.

"I know," Don said.

"Shut up, Don," the Conductor said.

"You're grounded," Mrs. Pteranodon said.

The conductor pushed a button on the wall, and out fell a key. The conductor put the key into the lock holding the two doors closed. The conductor pushed another button, and another key fell from the ceiling. This key was then inserted into the first key. With both key and keyhole unlocked the door opened, revealing another door. Both keys were inserted into the tops of both doors, and another key fell from the wall. The conductor tapped the left door three times and the right door four times. This caused Don to cough up a key. The Conductor used this key, and the path was finally revealed.

Red lights illuminated the hallway. The ground was covered thickly in dirt, and tattered beds lined the walls. In each, a rotting corpse lay, some of which appeared butchered, or even diced. "Aw, cool, I didn't realize there would be a buffet cart!" Buddy exclaimed, going to town on the first good smell he had experienced that day.

Tiny and Don both manually turned the conductor around. "Okay, this is really going too far, man. We want out."

"The train stops for no one," the Conductor said with no trace of remorse in his eyes. "This is the cycle. This is a part of your life that you will have to face one day or another."

Shiny said nothing as the reality of what those rocks that morning were sank in.

The last door on the train slowly crept open. "Buddy, stop eating and come here," the Conductor said sharply. "You need to be here for this." Buddy reluctantly put down the Apatosaurus rump and slunk over.

The door to last room slammed shut behind the family, almost severing Buddy's tail. The room was much smaller than the other ones they had gone through, and the only objects in the room were two beds bolted to the wall in front of them. Blankets were wrapped tightly around the occupants, head and all, and cords connected them to slowly-beeping life support machines.

"We don't have enough resources to support both of these patients," the Conductor smiled. "They'll both die unless we funnel all available power to one of them. The other one will be used as food. Gotta feed the carnivorous passengers somehow."

Mom shuddered and put her barely-protective wings around her two nearest offspring. "You didn't tell me about this part. I didn't sign up for this. I want a refund."

The Conductor turned on a heel. "Well, this is it. It's time to make your choice." He backed up to the two beds on the wall. He pulled back the sheets near the top of the left bed, revealing none other than the Conductor's own mother. "This is choice one. And here's choice two." He loosened the right bed's blanket and Grandma Pterandon's head met the world.

"Grandma?" Shiny squawked

"This is my grandmother," Don gasped.

"I think I need another tampon," said Tiny.

The family looked from Troodon to Pteranodon, and Pteranodon to Troodon. The Conductor tapped his wrist. "Pep pep, time is of the essence."

The family huddled.

"We can't just let granny die," Tiny shuddered.

Don nodded his head. "She's family, and we love her."

Shiny felt nostalgic. "Remember that time she gave me a clamshell? It was beautiful."

Mom added, "So we save grandma, no contest."

Don uneasily brought up a counterpoint. "But the Conductor would lose a family member, too. That's not much better."

Buddy nodded. "Based on how he's been acting so far, I don't want to know what he'd do if we let that happen."

Tiny reflected on Mrs. Conductor. "She has been nothing but nice to us all these years."

"Oh yeah, she gave me a clamshell, too," Shiny remembered. "And hers had a pearl in it."

"Yeah, what gives?" Tiny complained. "Couldn't spend five more minutes looking for one, grandma?"

"Grandma really has been asking us for a lot of money lately," Don said. "I'm starting to think she was the one trying to hack into my Paypal."

"You know what?" Buddy grumbled. "My nose finally caught a break last car, but one whiff of Grandma's grody-ass perfume made me want to cut it off."

"That seashell still had meat on it and I hate Grandma," Shiny growled.

"She's not even my mother," Mom said. "And besides, Mrs. Conductor and I touched nipples back when I was in her college seminar. Grandma never had what she had: non-familial nipples." The children all nodded in mutual anger at Grandma.

"So we save the Conductor's mom, no contest," Mom concluded.

The family turned around. "Mrs. Conductor," Don began, "We've decided-"

Mrs. Conductor made the long ear-piercing "o" sound she always made whenever she felt any sort of emotion. "Pick me!" she resounded.

The Pteranodons winced in pain and huddled back together. "Oh yeah, I forgot about her hellish voice," Tiny murmured.

"At least Grandma's voice was tolerable," Shiny snarled.

The five unwilling participants were at a loss. They couldn't decide. But they had to decide.

"We should just flip a coin," Buddy shrugged. "This is getting kind of old."

"Very well," Mom sighed. She pulled out the only piece of currency in her wallet and flipped it in the air.

Just as the coin was about to hit the ground after what felt like an eternity, a deafening crash and a blinding insurgence of sunlight made everyone in the room jump. A figure stood where the wall once was. It was not a dinosaur.

"AAAAAAAAA." The shirtless human being hollered and screeched like a monkey with rabies. He grabbed the life support system and hurled it from the train, and with it went the beds along with the paneling they were connected to. In the midst of this, the Conductor lost his footing and tumbled out of the hole in the wall. The bed struck him mid-fall and sent him careening straight into a tree at 130 miles an hour. The sweaty, reddened man from a time not yet seen stood in the middle of the room, breathing heavily with all muscles tensed. Mrs. Pterandon did her best to hold her kids back from the half of the traincar with no wall. The brawny figure, unfazed by the wind took one step forward.

"I AM DR. SCOTT THE PALEONTOLOGIST, AND I FUCKING QUIT."