A tiny bell chimed as Joyce stepped through the door of Galasso's Pizza (and Subs). Spotting a girl with a familiar shock of red hair seated at a nearby booth, she waved. “Hi, Becky! Got your text. Are you still on break?”
Becky, who had been picking pieces of lint off her employee uniform before the interruption, broke into a smile. “For five more minutes.” She motioned for Joyce to sit across from her. “Thanks for comin'. I need your advice. You're better at this romance thing than me.”
Joyce rolled her eyes. “Says the only one of us who's managed to pull off a successful relationship. You and Dina have been together for, what, a month now?” As the words sank in, she clapped her hands to her mouth. “Omigosh, your anniversary!”
“Exactly,” Becky nodded. “I mean, what do you get the girlfriend who went full-out raptor on your homicidally homophobic dad to buy you time to escape?”
Joyce shivered a little at the memory before pushing it aside. “Too bad you can't find her a real dinosaur.”
“I know, right?” Becky laid her forehead down onto a coaster and groaned. “I guess I'll just go online and see if I can pick out a funny T-shirt with some kinda Cretaceous pun.”
A shadow fell over the table. Joyce turned, adjusted her gaze upwards, and found herself staring straight at the imposing, hawklike features of Galasso himself. “Becky? Are you sure you're on break?”
Becky looked up and traced Joyce's line of sight, unphased. “Galasso,” she said gently, “what did Connie and I tell you about personal space?”
Galasso took half a step back, but continued to loom. “You shall have your mating ritual offering,” he declared, in a voice that carried from one end of the restaurant to the other.
“Beg pardon?” asked Becky, while Joyce continued to gape.
“You wish a dinosaur? For Galasso's Employee of the Month, it shall be done.” He turned on his heel and strode off, every step imbued with purpose.
“But--” Joyce protested weakly at his retreating back.
Becky gave her a reassuring pat on the shoulder. “Don't worry, he's harmless. Spends most of his time a couple've hundred miles west of reality, but he means well.” She pulled out her phone. “So, should I start with Redbubble or Threadless?”
“I don't even think you'd get its tail into our room,” Amber pointed out, eyes fixated on the appendage in question. Beside her stood Sal, open-mouthed, cigarette forgotten on the ground. Dorothy, who was clutching a whimpering Walky's hand, appeared to be actively reconsidering her stance on the existence of miracles, and even Mike's expression was more awestruck than cynical.
The leashed T-Rex let out a roar, its feathers bristling. Dina, whose smile was already threatening to split her face in two, squealed in joy and threw her arms around Becky. “You are the best girlfriend. This is scientifically verifiable fact.”
“Ain't I just?” asked Becky, beaming back, although her grin looked more than a little dazed.
A smaller but no less imposing shadow fell over the gathering. Joyce, tearing her attention away from the main attraction for the moment, was unsurprised to find Galasso on the other end of it. He folded his arms imperiously and narrowed his eyes as he spotted her watching, but the tiniest trace of a smirk pulled at the corners of his mouth. “Never presume a man does not have dinosaurs at his disposal.”