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The Ride of Our Lives

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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."