Thursday, August 30, 2012

Age of the Dinosaurs

Age of the Dinosaurs

by C.D. Tolliver
Joseph Patel sighed deeply and set aside the latest “We don’t publish fiction” letter. They all read pretty much the same:

“Thank you for your submission, but we don’t publish fiction. A story about a young boy learning to love his grandfather by spending summers making art cars just isn’t convincing and no one read this sort of feel-good Coming of Age drivel anymore.”

He sighed again and looked out the window at the radio-controlled Ford Model T with life-size velociraptors in the front seat, wearing clothes his grandfather had saved from the trip across America he and his brother had made in 1928. They were partying it up with old jugs and bottles that had actually held moonshine during Prohibition.

Joseph smiled, remembering his grandfather’s endless patience as they had made clay models for molds and poured the velociraptors’s heads, arms and paws – each piece separately – and carefully fit them over the articulated robots so they could turn their heads, “drink” from the bottles and wink at the ladies as they drove by. The hours of patience required for this task and the frustration when, almost done, the rats had gotten into the workshop and chewed the feathers off the driver. All the while, his grandfather told him the story of his life and the pranks he played and how he learned everything he knew about anatomy, electronics and dinosaurs from working at a special effects studio.

Joseph learned so much about the weird, quiet man who had raised his mother and his father argued with about everything on every visit. “Weird” he definitely was, but “quiet” was a deceptive description, because he knew so much about so many things and he turned everything into “teaching moments,” without all the moralizing and self-righteousness of his parents.

His writing was too old fashioned, obsolete. Suddenly Joseph laughed out loud as he realized that, at age 15, he had been called a dinosaur. Sitting down, he began a rewrite, this time fiction, with zombies.


  1. that was a cute ending, and the piece in general was very well written. dinosaur or not, you've got a good hand for it. (; haha, one of my favorite responses this week!

  2. My husband and I often joke that certain things in our lives would make terrible short stories, because they sound so unbelievable, even though they're true.

    I love the idea that a 15 year old is begrudgingly writing a zombie novel, because his original idea is too smart for the masses. Great job with the prompt.