One of Nerd in the Brain’s summer challenges is “Write a short story about a dinosaur meeting an alien.” I happen to have a character who’s an alien dinosaur, so my first thought was “Gamma meeting himself!” and I wrote up a little story about it. Enjoy!
Gamma had always loved dinosaurs. When he was little, he’d had all the cute dinosaur t-shirts, pajamas, and toys. He’d carried plastic dinosaurs everywhere in his pockets and slept on dinosaur sheets. His father had bought a dinosaur-shaped sandwich crust cutter just for his lunches, and he watched all the dinosaur cartoons. He was fifteen now, and he still liked all those things — he’d always liked seeing people like himself on TV and in his toys. Not everyone got that opportunity. Looking in the mirror now, he smiled.
“I’m a dinosaur!” he’d said to his daddy during a science lesson. “Rawr!”
His daddy had laughed and nodded and praised how smart he was. He was a dinosaur, close enough anyway, a chubby little four-year-old boy, but chock full of alien reptile DNA.
Not long after that science lesson, Gamma had decided to look at himself in the mirror. He knew mirrors were for looking — he’d seen his daddies get ready in front of them every day before they went to work, one in the morning and one in the evening. He’d certainly been held up to the mirror before that, but with the immediacy of childhood, he hadn’t remembered what he looked like and he wanted to see. After some careful planning and consideration, he’d determined the mirror was in the bathroom and toddled in there, but he was too short to see it.
This clearly presented a problem.
He was also too short to get a grip on the sink, but he looked around the bathroom and found a big package of toilet paper waiting to be put away. He pulled the top open and discovered he could use the rolls to construct a big set of smooshy steps. He’d have to show his daddy so he could hear how smart he was again, but that would be a project for another time! He clambered up the toilet paper and onto the sink, standing up so he could see.
He was cute and chubby and much taller now that he was standing on the sink! He waved excitedly at the boy in the mirror. He stuck a green tongue in the air and giggled. He admired his big green eyes and long, pointy pupils. Putting one hand on the mirror to lean closer, he lifted brownish hair out of the way and peered at the green scales running down his spine. He hoped he’d get more scales. He made a Big Dinosaur snarly face, clawing the air and baring sharp little teeth to the mirror.
He stalked back and forth on the bathroom counter, giggling, but when he went to thrash his tail back and forth, he found himself just wiggling his butt in the air. Hm. He craned his neck around to peer at his pants, then back at the mirror again. He realized the only thing missing, the only thing that didn’t look just right, was that he didn’t have a tail.
He scrunched up his face and wished so hard, but when he opened his eyes, it still wasn’t there. He flopped backward onto his toilet paper mountain and groaned.
He was still a growing boy, though. He’d been created in a lab before his fathers found him and adopted him, and he had growth spurts coded into his DNA. He hadn’t been entirely clear on any of that when he was little, but eventually they’d figured it out.
The mirror they’d used then was the same mirror Gamma was looking into now as he finished getting dressed. He had a big date tonight and, like he had when he was little, he wanted to look just right. He straightened his tie and buttoned his blazer carefully. He turned to the side and admired his long green tail, swishing it back and forth to watch his scales catch the light. He looked up into his own eyes and gave himself a cute grin.
“I’m a dinosaur. Rawr!”